Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Does Iran Scientific Development Support Its Sustainable Development?

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Does Iran Scientific Development Support Its Sustainable Development?

Article excerpt

Abstract

Over the last few decades, Iran's scientific development has been on the increase, and it is now the fastest growing country in scientific development, and is currently ranked at 17. Yet there are few papers which address Iran's sustainable development, and the implications that arise from the development of science. In this paper we therefore aim to answer whether or not Iran's scientific development supports its sustainable development. To address both parts we have taken data from 1998-2012, and have looked at scientific development, as well as the development of social, economic, and environmental sustainability. What we found was that all areas of sustainability along with scientific development have significantly increased over the years, with subject areas such as Medicine, Chemistry and Engineering producing the highest number of publications in 2012. As well as this, the data clearly shows that all areas have followed a similar trajectory, and show similar percentage changes year on year. Looking at the data alone we can say that Iran's scientific development does support sustainable development, however this is not the case when we include performance data. Both sets of data show that all areas of sustainability and science in general have increased over the last 15 years, however they differ with regards to the areas in specific. These differences however can be attributed to many points. Further research could look into finding a more robust way of defining the output of research, using a different approach to categorise subject areas, and collecting qualitative data to support the data collected.

Keywords: sustainable development, development strategy, scientific development, social development, environmental development, Iran

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduce the Problem

Iran has become the fastest growing country in scientific development, going from a ranking of 49 in 1998 to a ranking of 17 in 2013, according to the SCImago Journal and Country Rank (SCImago Journal and Country Rank, 2013). What is more important is that not only has the output of publications increased, but the actual quality of the papers has also increased, as now many of the journals are handled by expert editors, and are issued in high-ranking journals such as PubMed and Scopus (Kharabaf & Abdollahi, 2012). In 2012 Iran had also invested 0.5% of its GDP to research and development, and even though more developed countries spend up to 1.4% (Kharabaf & Abdollahi, 2012), it shows Iran's increasing commitment to scientific research and development, and the amount they are willing to invest to continue the growth. This is especially evident in the fields of medicine and biotechnology, with Iran ranking 14 among 46 world countries that are active in the latter field in 2013 (FARS new agency, 2013). It is not surprising that the scientific development has in fact contributed to the increase in social development and export markets (FARS new agency, 2013), and now that Iran is at a point where it is close to becoming a developed country, supporting itself and the countries sustainability, with the leaps its making within science is becoming more and more important.

Sustainable development itself refers to "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987). Since the topic of sustainable development has been raised, there have been many interpretations for the definition of sustainability, what it should encompass and how it can be achieved, however they all agree that sustainable development concerns three areas: economic, social, and environmental (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987; Carley & Christie, 2000; Colantonio, 2007).

Even though people have long been aware of sustainability, it is only in recent years that it is becoming of more importance as resources are limited, consumption is increasing, and our ecosystem is being negatively affected (Drake & Spinler, 2013). …

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