oa South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science - An informetric analysis of publication and research collaboration patterns in natural and applied sciences in South Africa

Volume 74, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-8861



This study is the part of an ongoing research which presents the mainstream scientific output and collaboration of five research universities of South Africa over a 9 year period between 1995 and 2003. Since a part of this research has already been published in 2006 where the main emphasis was on publication output, this paper concentrates more on collaboration. The paper discusses the distribution of publications by institutions, index of specialization, collaboration and patterns of co-authorship. The results show that South African authors collaborated more frequently with international authors (73.99%) than with national authors (26.01%). This was confirmed statistically at a confidence level of p-value < 0.025. A further non-parametric chi-square statistical analysis illustrated that there are significant differences in the proportion of co-authorship amongst the five institutions (p-value < 0.005). The results obtained shows that there is a sharp decline in publication output from 1995 until the end of 1998 and then again from 2003. The decrease in publication output is also an indication of the lack of collaborative research by South African scientists.

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