Academic Publishing in Small Island Developing States: Does University Research Support Development?

Robin Nunkoo, Michael Thelwall, Robertico Croes, Jorge Ridderstaat, Adel Fahad Alrasheedi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the academic research conducted by universities in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and aims to identify and comprehend its distinctive features, as well as its significance to the respective host countries. An analysis of the 327 narrow Scopus fields of the 167,080 journal articles published by 38 SIDS between 2010 and 2019 found that they focus more on sustainability related research about ecology, public health, infectious diseases, and species diversity, but less on industrially relevant research. Only four states had a main publication field reflecting a core economic activity. Thus, while academic research on sustainability is welcome, the lack of evidence of research support for national economic activities is concerning. The patterns found may be due to historical education policies and the path-dependent model of development adopted by many SIDS. The study suggests that research policies in these nations may need to reassess their support for industrially relevant research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHigher Education Policy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Development
  • Economic development
  • Higher education
  • Research evaluation
  • Small Island Developing States
  • Universities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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