Education for Health

: 2018  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 187--188

Analysis of biomedical publications in Libya from 2003 to 2013

Mohamed O Ahmed1, Jennifer C van Velkinburgh2, Mohamed A Daw3,  
1 Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tripoli, Tripoli, Libya
2 van Velkinburgh Initiative for Collaboratory Biomedical Research, Santa Fe, NM, USA
3 Department of Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tripoli, Tripoli, Libya

Correspondence Address:
Mohamed O Ahmed
Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tripoli, Tripoli

How to cite this article:
Ahmed MO, van Velkinburgh JC, Daw MA. Analysis of biomedical publications in Libya from 2003 to 2013.Educ Health 2018;31:187-188

How to cite this URL:
Ahmed MO, van Velkinburgh JC, Daw MA. Analysis of biomedical publications in Libya from 2003 to 2013. Educ Health [serial online] 2018 [cited 2021 Sep 27 ];31:187-188
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Full Text

Dear Editor,

A relatively low scientific research output is not unique to Libya and unfortunately persists as compared to more economically developed countries.[1],[2] Recent data have revealed the very low-productivity rate of research from Libya, compared to other Arab and North African nations.[1],[3],[4] In 2003, Libya's hierarchal ranking among 20 Arabic countries was 12th for annual publication rate, 10th for publication rate according to population, and 15th for publication rate according to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).[5]

As Libya undergoes geopolitical and socioeconomic upheavals, there is certainly a unique opportunity for improving all aspects of its educational and economic infrastructures. The post-2011 era and the current civil upheaval have, however, resulted in disrupted infrastructure, social incoherence, and a fragmented society, affecting every aspect of daily life of its citizens. Libya's research output was investigated by analyzing the collective peer-reviewed publications of biomedical research from Libya, with a focus on institutions of higher education and the medical sector revealing important knowledge and novel scientometric data.[1]

In this study, a total of 358 articles were retrieved, and the citation/abstract for each was downloaded. The following data were extracted (either from PubMed or the journal publication source) and recorded in an Excel spreadsheet using the criteria: names of all authors; affiliated institutions of all authors, including department (when available), city, and country; name and affiliation of corresponding authors; date of publication; journal name; open-access option for the publishing journal; open-access article; type of article; and keywords (when available).[1]

A total of 345 peer-reviewed articles were authored by researchers at Libya's institutes of higher education and affiliated hospitals in seven cities. The authors of the publications included coauthors and/or corresponding authors from over 40 other countries published in 179 different journals; 194 (56.2%) were published in journals that had an impact factor (IF) at the year of publication (IF range was 0.102–38.278).[1]

The analysis revealed that 85% of publications were affiliated with Libyan academic institutions; researchers from Benghazi and Tripoli universities were the most frequent contributors to these publications. The dominance of publications was affiliated with universities along the costal line of Libya with only one university from the southern region of Libya.[1] The institutional infrastructure of education and health-care system of Libya's largest cities is better developed than in the rural areas, which are home to approximately 20% of the country's population.

Libya's infrastructure has not historically included government (national) funding system for research and development, similar to other underdeveloped regions. As a result, research in Libya, even when conducted in affiliation with a university, is performed largely under self-financing. In Libya, there are 17 universities (12 public and 5 private)[6],[7] and 14 of those (13 public and 1 private) had published at least one biomedical research article in the study period.[1] In 2013, the total budget of Libyan universities was reported as 1529 billion Libyan dinars (equivalent to 1.2 billion dollars) representing only 1.6% of that year's total GDP which is extremely low as compared to other countries.[1],[7] The distribution of this funding has at least one-half allocated to the universities, with 50% of those monies used by only two academic institutes: University of Tripoli and University of Benghazi which based on our personal experience is diverted toward salaries and managerial expenses; it is not clear the allocated proportion toward research and development (i.e., R and D). Detailed information for the higher education and research sector in Libya are not available. Moreover, due to the lack of official and reliable information, it was not possible to estimate an accurate productivity rate of staff members for the current study. However, the annual publication rate of academic staff members at Libyan medical schools and related hospitals had previously been reported at a rate of 0.7 papers/100 staff members from 1988 to 2007.[1]

Developed and developing nations carry out scientific research to improve the overall well-being of their nation's citizens as well as developing their educational and health sector. Improving biomedical research output in Libya will require not only international collaborations with researchers abroad but also a careful reconstruction of the scientific and health infrastructures, including new laws and guidelines, carefully designed to enhance their society's strengths.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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