Brunei is a small tropical country located in southeast Asia for which there are no previous bibliometric studies. Here we analyze papers published by Brunei scientists from 1973 to 2016 in the Science Citation Index Expanded and compare results with other tropical countries. We identified 1 547 publications and 11 document types. The most productive categories were ecology, multidisciplinary geosciences, inorganic and nuclear chemistry, and environmental sciences. Singapore Medical Journal published most of these papers, and the three most productive institutions were Universiti Brunei Darussalam, RIPAS Hospital, and Universiti Teknologi Brunei. UK and Malaysia were the most frequent collaborating countries. M.A. Ali from the Universiti Brunei Darussalam was the most prolific author and a Brunei independent article written by C.K. Morley from the Universiti Brunei Darussalam in 2002 had the highest number of citations of the whole period and the highest number in 2016. The tropical countries of Central America and Asia have a few similarities but also important differences, and both are highly heterogeneous in scientific organization and productivity.