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The production of science in Africa: an analysis of publications in the science disciplines, 2000–2015


  • Radhamany Sooryamoorthy

    () (University of KwaZulu-Natal)


The importance of science in Africa has been gaining the interest of scholars and policymakers alike who find that the relationship between science and development is getting stronger than ever. Science in Africa continues to find its own place in the global world of science. However, there have not been any attempts in recent years to study the production of science in all African countries taken as a whole. In this bibliometric study, science in Africa is analyzed using the publications African countries have produced in the last 15 years i.e. from 2000 to 2015. It is not only the number of publications but also the research areas which are of great importance. Not many recent studies have examined the publication productivity of all African countries. The analysis undertaken here shows that a few countries, namely, South Africa, Egypt, Tunisia, Nigeria and Algeria are the leading countries. These produced the highest number of publications during 2000–2015. At the same time, some of the weakest countries in Africa have strengths in specific research areas and are thus able to contribute to knowledge production in those areas. The findings presented in the paper suggest the implications for development in Africa and the measures which could be taken.

Suggested Citation

  • Radhamany Sooryamoorthy, 2018. "The production of science in Africa: an analysis of publications in the science disciplines, 2000–2015," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 115(1), pages 317-349, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:115:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-018-2675-0
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-018-2675-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andreas Blom & George Lan & Mariam Adil, 2016. "Sub-Saharan African Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Research," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 23142, June.
    2. Rigas Arvanitis & Roland Waast & Jacques Gaillard, 2000. "Science in Africa: A Bibliometric Panorama Using PASCAL Database," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 47(3), pages 457-473, March.
    3. Anastassios Pouris & Anthipi Pouris, 2009. "The state of science and technology in Africa (2000–2004): A scientometric assessment," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 79(2), pages 297-309, May.
    4. Hugo Confraria & Manuel Mira Godinho, 2015. "The impact of African science: a bibliometric analysis," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 102(2), pages 1241-1268, February.
    5. Frederick Owusu-Nimo & Nelius Boshoff, 2017. "Research collaboration in Ghana: patterns, motives and roles," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 110(3), pages 1099-1121, March.
    6. Radhamany Sooryamoorthy, 2009. "Do types of collaboration change citation? Collaboration and citation patterns of South African science publications," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 81(1), pages 177-193, October.
    7. Anastassios Pouris & Yuh-Shan Ho, 2014. "Research emphasis and collaboration in Africa," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 98(3), pages 2169-2184, March.
    8. Anastassios Pouris, 2010. "A scientometric assessment of the Southern Africa Development Community: science in the tip of Africa," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 85(1), pages 145-154, October.
    9. Nora Narváez-Berthelemot & Jane M. Russell & Rigas Arvanitis & Roland Waast & Jacques Gaillard, 2002. "Science in Africa: An overview of mainstream scientific output," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 54(2), pages 229-241, June.
    10. Hannes Toivanen & Branco Ponomariov, 2011. "African regional innovation systems: bibliometric analysis of research collaboration patterns 2005–2009," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 88(2), pages 471-493, August.
    11. Fabio Landini & Franco Malerba & Roberto Mavilia, 2015. "The structure and dynamics of networks of scientific collaborations in Northern Africa," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 105(3), pages 1787-1807, December.
    12. Williams Nwagwu, 2006. "A bibliometric analysis of productivity patterns of biomedical authors of Nigeria during 1967-2002," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 69(2), pages 259-269, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Omwoyo Bosire Onyancha, 2020. "A meta-analysis study of the relationship between research and economic development in selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 123(2), pages 655-675, May.
    2. Radhamany Sooryamoorthy, 2019. "Scientific knowledge in South Africa: information trends, patterns and collaboration," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 119(3), pages 1365-1386, June.
    3. Houcemeddine Turki & Mohamed Ali Hadj Taieb & Mohamed Ben Aouicha & Ajith Abraham, 2020. "Nature or Science: what Google Trends says," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 124(2), pages 1367-1385, August.
    4. Houcemeddine Turki & Mohamed Ali Hadj Taieb & Mohamed Ben Aouicha & Ajith Abraham, 0. "Nature or Science: what Google Trends says," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 0, pages 1-19.
    5. Omwoyo Bosire Onyancha, 2020. "Towards a Knowledge Specialisation Index for Sub-Saharan Africa: an Informetrics Study," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 11(1), pages 373-389, March.

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    Science; Bibliometrics; Research areas; Africa;


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