n African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development - Scientometric assessment of selected R&D priority areas in South Africa : a comparison with other BRICS countries

Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2042-1338
  • E-ISSN: 2042-1346
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A scientometric analysis of selected research priority areas in South Africa was done using the Web of Science database for the period 2002-2012. The performance of the country in the areas of biotechnology, energy, astronomy and palaeontology in terms of the publication output in these areas is compared using two classic scientometric indicators, the activity and attractivity indices. These are important priority areas as highlighted in various government policy documents and the aim was to identify whether outputs in these field correspond with government policy. The study also identifies leading institutions in the country in terms of publication output while the performance is also bench-marked against that of the other BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) group of countries as well as Egypt. It was found that the country is doing relatively well in research areas in which it enjoys geographical advantage such as astronomy and palaeontology and compares favourably with comparator countries in all areas reviewed. In terms of the institutional profile and based on publication outputs over the period considered, the University of Cape Town is a leader in biotechnology and energy, University of the Witwatersrand in palaeontology and the National Research Foundation in the area of astronomy.

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