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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 127

COVID-19, sanctions, and importance of scientometric and systematic review studies in Iran

1 Department of Pediatrics, Child Growth and Development Research Center, Research Institute for Primordial Prevention of Non-Communicable Disease, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
2 Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, USA
3 Department of Public Health, Sirjan School of Medical Sciences, Sirjan, Iran

Date of Submission28-Oct-2021
Date of Decision12-Dec-2021
Date of Acceptance14-Jan-2022
Date of Web Publication11-Oct-2022

Correspondence Address:
Mojtaba Keikha
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Faculty of Public Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijpvm.ijpvm_462_21

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How to cite this article:
Hemati Z, Jahanfar S, Keikha M. COVID-19, sanctions, and importance of scientometric and systematic review studies in Iran. Int J Prev Med 2022;13:127

How to cite this URL:
Hemati Z, Jahanfar S, Keikha M. COVID-19, sanctions, and importance of scientometric and systematic review studies in Iran. Int J Prev Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Sep 21];13:127. Available from: https://www.ijpvmjournal.net/text.asp?2022/13/1/127/358324

The coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) epidemic serves as a stark reminder that pandemics, similar to other unexpected diseases, have occurred in the past and will continue to do so in the future.[1] In the fight against the virus, healthcare professionals and scientists are on the front lines. Furthermore, because of the complexities of COVID-19, this epidemic has caused havoc in the scientific community. The COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant detrimental impact on the scientific community, forcing the closure of universities, research institutes, and laboratories. Most scientific activities, including national and international conferences, symposiums, seminars, and training programs, have been canceled or postponed.[2],[3]

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a significant burden on the clinical research sector and is expected to impact key study findings. During the early phases of the pandemic, most investigations came to a halt. Both researchers and participant populations appreciate remote intervention through phone, email, and the electronic health record portal, which might impact key study outcomes.[4] The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on Iran. The virus spread over all 31 provinces of the country, resulting in the highest number of cases and deaths among the 22 Eastern Mediterranean nations.[5]

Several actions were taken to prevent the spread of the disease immediately after the first outbreak in Iran (March 23, 2020), including curfew and city lockdown, closure of religious places (e.g., mosques and holy shrines), schools, universities, offices, and the judiciary system, which resulted in the outbreak temporarily declining.[6] Iran is subject to further restrictions as a result of the sanctions, which has exacerbated the situation.[7]

Several variables influenced the status of scientific research initiatives after Iran's revolution in 1979. The Iran–Iraq war in 1980–88 changed Iran's strategy toward allocating financial resources for educating physicians and paramedics rather than research initiatives; brain drain (i.e., emigration of educated individuals) and sanctions were among these causes.[8] Iran's inability to export oil and the country's financial and economic woes have resulted in a reduction in the country's research budget, which is anticipated to continue in the future years. Iranian health research institutes are substantially reliant on government funding. Because of the current economic problems, funds and research grants are delayed in being paid to researchers and research institutes.[9]

Previous studies have found that Iranian academics struggle to get high-quality resources and equipment for their research projects and to conduct unique research. Previous studies also revealed the challenges of accessing laboratory materials during sanctions.[10],[11] Sanctions have mostly limited the ability to purchase laboratory equipment and supplies.[12]

Researchers conducting secondary studies such as systematic reviews and meta-analyses and scientometric studies do not need to acquire materials or equipment or operate in research centers or laboratories. Despite COVID-19 sanctions and barriers, guiding researchers to secondary studies, including systematic review and meta-analysis (SR/MA), seems to lead to credible evidence and turns this challenge into an opportunity. On the other hand, Iranian educational policymakers should support scientometric and SR/MA research projects and publications less influenced by economic sanctions and the COVID-19 epidemic. Supporting researchers who are active in SR/MA studies, being involved in international collaboration, and adopting research grants for conducting SR/MA studies can be a way to support secondary studies.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Donthu N, Gustafsson A. Effects of COVID-19 on business and research. J Bus Res 2020;117:284-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
Coronavirus lockdown: What I learnt when I shut my cancer lab in 48 hours. Available from: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00826-7. [Last accessed on 2020 May 25].  Back to cited text no. 2
Events postponed or canceled as MIT responds to COVID-19. Available from: http://news.mit.edu/2020/events-postponed-canceled-covid-19-0309. [Last accessed on 2020 May 23].  Back to cited text no. 3
Tuttle KR. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on clinical research. Nat Rev Nephrol 2020;16:562-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
Venkatesan P. COVID-19 in Iran: Round 2. Lancet Infect Dis 2020;20:784.  Back to cited text no. 5
Raoofi A, Takian A. COVID-19 pandemic and comparative health policy learning in Iran. Arch Iran Med 2020;23:220-34.  Back to cited text no. 6
Abdoli A. Iran, sanctions, and the COVID-19 crisis. J Med Econ 2020;23:1461-5.  Back to cited text no. 7
Rezaee-Zavareh MS, Karimi-Sari H, Alavian SM. Iran, sanctions, and research collaborations. Lancet 2016;387:28-9.  Back to cited text no. 8
Dehghani M, Mesgarpour B, Akhondzadeh S, Azami-Aghdash S, Ferdousi R. How the US sanctions are affecting the health research system in Iran? Arch Iran Med 2021;24:101-6.  Back to cited text no. 9
Mozafari M. Iran and science publishing in the post-sanctions era. Lancet 2016;387:1721-2.  Back to cited text no. 10
Takian A, Raoofi A, Kazempour-Ardebili S. COVID-19 battle during the toughest sanctions against Iran. Lancet 2020;395:1035-6.  Back to cited text no. 11
Bezuidenhout L, Karrar O, Lezaun J, Nobes A. Economic sanctions and academia: Overlooked impact and long-term consequences. PLoS One 2019;14:e0222669.  Back to cited text no. 12


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