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African Research Strengths

Aurora Brief Reviews No. 03 February 5 2019

February 2019

African Minds, open access, a not-for-profit publisher in South Africa, has published a report on “The Next Generation of Scientists in Africa”. The report, by academics from Oxford, Johannesburg and a South African governmental research centre, focuses on the current and future position of early career scientists against the backdrop of the positive development of Sub Saharan research it sees since about 2005.
Bibliometric research by the CWTS in Leiden shows that the research output of the region rose from about 15.000 research publications in 2005 to more than 54.000 in 2016. The report also looks at citation impact as a proxy of research quality.
The principal focus of the report is more on the impact of the general trends on the young researchers. It argues that the positive developments in research output and quality may not be attributed to government policies, that the continent is – if anything – as dependent as before on external research funders and that the legacy of weak institutions, brain drain and the lack of support structures continues.
All in all a thoroughly fact-based analysis of research in Africa is presented.

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