Introduction: In contrast with other tropical countries, Cuba has been frequently studied from the point of views of scientometrics. It has been reported that Cuban researchers often failed to cite other Cuban researchers or to collaborate with them, and that 78 % of the Cuban scientifc output is published in Cuban journals and mostly missed by Scopus and the Web of Science. Objective: In this article, we analyze article characteristics (subject, language, authorship), institutions and journals that appear in the Science Citation Index Expanded, as well as citations from the Web of Science Core Collection. Methods: We analyzed publications from Cuba, dated 1900 to 2019, that reached the index. Results: We retrieved a total of 23576 publications, mostly articles. In this database, English is the dominant language, and, over time, articles have become longer and increased the number of authors and references. Numerically, the leading institution is Universidad de La Habana. Research is strongly concentrated around medical subjects. Collaboration teams lead by foreign authors have more citations recorded by the database, where the number of Cuban articles has decreased after 2008. Conclusion: For Cuban publications that reach the Science Citation Index Expanded (under 22%), most research is applied to health subjects and productivity has decreased in the last decade.

Keywords: Tropical countries, impact factor, bibliometrics, science and development, scientific production.