SDR Deposit of the Month: The Stanford Iran 2040 Project

March 17, 2019
Hannah Frost
Outline of Iran

The Stanford Digital Repository has a few sneaker collections: a collection that "sneaks" into existence via the online deposit application under the radar, without fanfare or extra support needed from the SDR team. One of these is the collection of working papers produced by the Stanford Iran 2040 Project in conjunction with the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies and the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford. 

The latest paper added to the collection is titled, The Scientific Output of Iran: Quantity, Quality, and Corruption. The intriguing title grabbed my attention, and I realized that I didn’t know enough about The Stanford Iran 2040 Project, so I decided to check out the paper and learn more.

It’s a fascinating read on the skyrocketing numbers of scientific publications by Iranian academic authors in recent years and an analysis of the various forces at work.  According to the authors, over the past two decades, the number of papers published annually by Iranian researchers increased by an astonishing 50x. They show that this increase is due in part to the population boom of the 1980s, a massive increase of youth enrolled and seeking degrees in Iranian universities, the dramatically narrowing student-to-faculty ratio, the prevailing culture of “publish or perish”, and predatory services that profit from that culture by manufacturing papers and dissertations for academics under pressure. To understand the implications of this situation in Iran -- and how the key issues facing Iranian society remain unaddressed due to insufficient research attention -- I suggest that you read the paper.

I reached out to Pooya Azadi, Project Manager, who has been gradually building out the collection he started about two and a half years ago, so I could ask some questions. 

What is the goal of your project?

"The Iran 2040 Project at Stanford aims to serve as a hub for researchers around the world to conduct forward-looking studies on issues related to the economy of Iran in the long-run." 

Why the year 2040? What is the significance of this point in time?

"We wanted the name to emphasize the forward-looking nature of the research and also imply that we are going to look into issues that are related to the long-term outlook of the country for development as opposed to the short-term fluctuations that are primarily affected by politics rather than the fundamental forces in the economy and society."

How does using the Stanford Digital Repository for managing publications help you advance the project goals?

"It provides an easy and reliable platform to upload our working papers and obtain a permanent URL for the papers that can be used everywhere on the web." 

Dr. Azadi has assembled a page of featured publications on the project's web site for promoting access to each of the working papers deposited in the SDR. Check out the site's highly compelling dashboard that visualizes a number of trends in the Iranian economy. The Stanford Libraries and the SDR are glad to participate in supporting the Stanford Iran 2040 Project's publication efforts.