Term Paper: Academic Research in Saudi Arabia

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[. . .] The obstacle that arises in order to carry on some research is that the funding process to carry out some research is so complicated that discourages much of the young researchers. Moreover proper infrastructure is not available, since scientific research (as opposed to other academic researches) need s proper and well-developed infrastructure. Secondly, the heavy burden on teachers (which includes additional teaching hours and administrative duties) does not motivate the faculty members to carry on some research activities.

Another similar study has been done to analyze the research activities among faculty members of medical and health colleges in 2011. Over 38.6% faculty members have published their work in last two years. Lack of time, no research assistance, non-availability of funds for research and heavy load of work on teachers were the obstacles that hinders the research activities among faculty members (Alghanim & Alhamali, 2011).

(Alzahrani, 2011) has conducted a study to analyze the barriers that come in way of efficient research of Saudi universities' students and faculty members. Lack of encouragement to do research, lack of financial support and lack of research publishing infrastructure are the major causes of low productivity of research in Saudi Arabia. Further, the study reported two universities of Saudi Arabia, i.e. King Abdul Aziz University and Kind Saud University that have relatively more publications than other Saudi universities. Thus, author concluded that it is not necessary that all researchers have to face hurdles in way of their research projects. However, author gave some justifications for better research publications in King Abdul Aziz University and Kind Saud University, i.e. they are the oldest universities of the country, having better budgets, better information resources and better infrastructure facilities. That is the reason for more productivity of research in the professors of these two universities.

Some illegal practices are being observed by Saudi universities in order to rank them in the world's top universities. More than 60 top researchers have signed an agreement with King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, in which researches agreed to add King Abdul Aziz University as a second affiliation to their names in Institute for Scientific Information's highly cited list of researchers (Bhattacharjee, 2011). However, the Saudi universities are being warned both, domestically and internationally to refrain from such practices of artificially assigning their names in top universities of world.

New and modern advanced technologies have paved its way in almost every sector of the economy. The services are being traded internationally only because of use of scientific technologies. Computer technologies have made it easier to trade services too, along with goods. Like other services, education is also being computerized and modernized. New methods of teaching are developed which ease the way of teaching and understanding. The adoptions of computers have made the research process very simple and quick. Without going to libraries and information centers, researchers can easily carry on research only by sitting in front their computers in their offices. The researches in developing countries can also contact any world class university in order to get assistance in their field of study. Getting any source for research from any other university's library is not an issue now-a-days. All these easiness in the process of research is due to modernization of information technology.

Scholars and policy makers have expressed their concerns about the inequalities arising between developed and developing countries due to information communication technologies. The term is used to refer such inequality as "digital divide," which means growing gap in the adoption of advanced technologies between developed and developing countries (Wallsten, 2004). The relationship between academic research and country's economic and social performance has been studied by previous researchers. Academic research is given much importance in developed countries by the government, policy makers, economists and scientists. But unlike to research activities in developed countries, the academic research in developing countries is not given much importance and priority.

The Saudi government and its scholars are well aware of these modern technologies and about their importance too. But though, majority of Saudi scholars resist using these modern technologies for accessing electronic journals as they are not convinced by such advanced methods of research and development. They believe that such technologies cannot replace traditional methods of research as they are more research-oriented and thought provoking.

However studies have found that researchers in Saudi Arabia show their interest to use computer technologies for their research as they are time-consuming and efficient. The Saudi universities keep pace with the developments in the field of Learning Management System (LMS). LMS helps the teachers to save their time. It is useful in development of student's assignments. Registration, scheduling, checking availability of content, tracking the performance of learner, all are facilitated through use of LMS (Hussien, 2011).

The relationship between academic research and country's economic and social performance has been studied by previous researchers (Borg & Alshumaimeri, 2012). Academic research is given much importance in developed countries by the government, policy makers, economists and scientists. But unlike to research activities in developed countries, the academic research in developing countries is not given much importance and priority.

ANALYSIS:

Previous studies have shown that though Saudi government is trying to facilitate research opportunities in the country but it is not satisfying the needs of the universities. The government is developing a sense of higher education and research activities among its people but not financing much on their needs.

The main problems [as found by (Al-Gindan, Al-Sulaiman, Muhanna, & Abumadini, 2002), (Alghanim & Alhamali, 2011) and (Alzahrani, 2011)] that every university is facing include; lack of financial support and lack of infrastructure facilities. Among other obstacles, the heavy load on university teachers is also a major reason of discouragement of research activities among faculty members of universities.

Another obstacle is the lack of indulgence with advanced technologies. Some professors are not in a habit of using computerized technologies, since they believe that traditional means of research are more effective than modern technologies. Whereas, young researchers complains that proper access to academic journals are not being provided by university administration. However, this is the responsibility of the government to finance research projects accordingly. Universities should be provided with financial grants so that they can provide databases to their researchers. By giving access to electronic journal through internet, Saudi universities, with the help of Saudi government can enhance the level of research productivity in the country.

The infrastructure of research publishing in Saudi Arabia also needs to be improved. Such as; to computerize all research publishing activities, a database should be updated properly; the information should be provided to researches without charging them and to encourage faculty members of universities to publish their work in internationally reputed journals (Alzahrani, 2011).

Whereas it is the responsibility of university administration, no to overload their faculty with administration duties and extra work and should encourage them and should provide them proper guidance to start their research projects and then motivates them to accomplish researchers. The use of advanced technologies should be encouraged among students and faculty members, so that they can save their time and energy and can increase efficiency of research productivity.

Gender discrimination is also another factor that serves as an obstacle in the way of research in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government did not give much independence to women. Women that want to enter in the field of research are discouraged by their counterparts.

CONCLUSION:

The objective of the study is to see the situation of research activities in the public universities of Saudi Arabia. The study, after thorough review of the literature on university education and research activities in Saudi Arabia have analyzed that how research methods can become efficient in term of productivity and what steps should be taken by the government in order to make research activities productive and efficient? The obstacles in way of efficient research productivity are also analyzed. The study found that, although Saudi government is keen to enhance higher education in the country and to enhance research projects, but the university faculty members are not satisfied with the steps taken by the government. According to university faculty members, the lack of financial support, lack of infrastructure and lack of motivation are the obstacles that did not encourage academic research in the country. Only those universities are capable of doing some research that have old history and are struggling from longer to attain well developed infrastructure. Secondly the slow adherence to information communication technologies is responsible for very little research and development in Saudi Arabia.

BIBLIOGRAPGY

Alghanim, S.A., & Alhamali, R.M. (2011). Research Productivity Among Faculty Members at Medical and Health Schools in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Med J, 32(12).

Al-Gindan, Y.M., Al-Sulaiman, A.A., Muhanna, F.A., & Abumadini, M.S. (2002). Research and Research Activities in a University in Eastern Saudi Arabia. Saudi Med J, 23(11).

Alzahrani, J.A. (2011). Overcoming Barriers to Improve Research Productivity in Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 2(19).

Bhattacharjee, Y. (2011). Saudi Universities Offer Cash in Exchange for Academic Prestige.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Academic Research in Saudi Arabia.  (2012, November 29).  Retrieved April 22, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/academic-research-saudi-arabia/3348110

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"Academic Research in Saudi Arabia."  Essaytown.com.  November 29, 2012.  Accessed April 22, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/academic-research-saudi-arabia/3348110.