Warning! This post is very old and may contain information that is no longer valid.
I found this editorial on SciDev about the state of science and research in Egypt. The first half of the article is a little bit optimistic but if you read on, this is probably one of the few articles that clearly outlines the obstacles facing science here. I took some notes and listed them:
- Lack of funds (poor equipment and diminished journal subscriptions)
- Low political priority
- Academic quarrels
- Research as a ladder for higher academic positions
- Lack of science journalism
I would add Plagiarism and recycling papers to the list.
However the article dismisses any lack of brain power. I agree with that, but I would add that there would have been more brains. If education was any good.
Also, the editorial has a link to a very good article in Science magazine. The article is written by a Syrian researcher and doctor Wasim Maziak. It discusses the social and cultural aspects of science in the Arab world with historical explanation. It stresses on the diminishing roles of the university in being a forum for questioning and quest for knowledge to only a place for rote instruction. He says that this is due to political inattention, agitated ideological currents that prohibit logic and reasoning and censorship. The article simply shows the reason for the scientific and technological divide between the Arab world and developed countries.