chapter  1
Decisive impact of the national research and innovation systems
Pages 63

In many ways, the reference model for the study of research systems is the existence of a national system that includes research institutions, universities, agencies funding research, technical centers, private R&D units, “intermediate” actors such as brokers in technology and providers. Over the years, notably so because of the multiplication of studies in a large variety of countries, the complexity of the systems appeared much greater than could have been predicted on the basis of a simplistic, although systemic, view. Arab countries are also complex in their organization of research institutions and policies. Nonetheless, some constants can be drawn and this chapter presents an empirical descriptive analysis of research systems in Arab countries, with the aim to reveal these constants. We have long wanted to test the significance of indicators commonly used in most publications about science and technology in the Arab region. These indicators are employed here to develop a typology of research systems that, hopefully, can help understand the riddle of underinvestment in scientific research in Arab countries. The purpose of the exercise is to relate patterns of publication, aspects relating to the governance and organization of the research system, the role of universities, and other factors. This empirical approach is not so much interested in each country’s ranking in a unique scale of values than on the characterization of their profiles, highlighting what makes similarities and differences between one profile and another.