A total of 276 articles, about the Iranian veterans, were published in the journals indexed in the Scopus. The same for Clarivate analytics and PubMed was 156 and 193 articles. 31 articles of Iranian had received at least 31 to maximum 217 citation (H-index = 31). The total number of publications (citations) rose from 51 articles (431 citations) in 1996–2009 years to 224 articles (2946 citations) in 2010–2020 years. Figure 1 shows the growth trend of published articles by Iranian researchers about veterans and related received citations. About 20% of articles about veterans were published by only 3 journals, i.e. Journal of Military Medicine (28 articles, 42 citations, H-index = 3), Iranian Journal of War And Public Health (15 articles, 1 citations, H-index = 1), and International Immunopharmacology (10 articles, 97 citations, H-index = 4).
Table 2 shows the top 10 most productive authors, and universities. Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences and Mashhad University of Medical Sciences were the most productive (86 articles, 1165 citations, H-index = 19) and the most cited (64 articles, 1404 citations, H-index = 21) university in Iran, respectively. Among the Iranian researchers, Balali-Mood, M. (27 articles), Soroush, M.R. (24 articles), and Ghanei, M. (21 articles) were the authors with the highest number of publications. Iranian authors had the most collaboration with the USA (15 articles) followed by England (9 articles), and Australia (7 articles).
Table 3 shows the top 10 most cited articles about veterans’ health by Iranian authors. The most cited article was an assessment of the sulfur mustard and its effects on Iranian veterans, which was published in the Basic and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology (Impact Factor = 2.65) in 2006 (11). It had two authors, Balali-Mood, M. and Hafezi M., and received 219 citations. The most recently article in the list of top 10 most cited was entitled “Improvement of sulphur mustard-induced chronic pruritus, quality of life and antioxidant status by curcumin: Results of a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial” by Panahi Y et.al. published in the British Journal of Nutrition (Impact Factor = 3.33) in 2012 that received 111 citations (12).
Co-authorship map of authors in the Fig. 2 (Right) revealed clusters of authors that they collaborate with each other in veterans’ health researches. Each bubble indicates an author, and links connected the bubbles indicate collaboration in at least one publication.
Out of the 2672 unique keywords, the top 5 most frequent keywords in the articles were male (160 times), adult (159 times), mustard gas (109 times), middle aged (107 times), and chemical warfare agents (89 times). The four clusters of major topics, denoted by the green, yellow, blue, and red colors, based on the most commonly used terms in the researches related to veterans’ health were mapped in the Fig. 2 (Left). Red colored cluster represented terms related to the psychological related topic, such as “quality of life”, “psychology”, “anxiety”, or “depression”; green and yellow colored cluster represented terms related to chemical warfare and mustard gas, such as “mustard gas”, “gas poisoning”, “skin disease”, or “lung disease”; blue colored cluster represented terms related to PTSD, such as “post-traumatic stress disorder” or “chronic disease”.
Iranian authors published totally 21 of all types of clinical trials (CTs), 12 of all types of review articles (RAs) and just one systematic review about veterans’ health. CTs mostly studied the effects of treatment and education on mustard gas and PTSD related clinical or psychological outcomes. The topics of most of reviews are about chemical warfare and sulfur mustard gas. Two out of 12 reviews studied the psychological aspect of veterans’ life, e.g. quality of life, mental health, and sleep disturbance (13, 14). Figure 3 shows the co-occurrence map of the most frequent keywords used in clinical trials and reviews published about veterans’ health.