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A bibliometric study of the publication patterns of South African scientists.

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One of the legacies of the apartheid system was the discrepancy in funding and support for various activities, including research work in science and technology based on racial grounds. Some institutions of higher learning and research institutes were favoured more than others in terms of resources. Presently, despite the fact that there is national democracy, previously disadvantaged institutions with their culture of minimal research and poor publication output continue to produce inadequate quantities of research and publications while the historically developed universities are at the forefront of research and publication.This research is a bibliometric study of the publication patterns of South African scientists. The subjects were academic scientists from ten selected universities of the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal, which vary considerably, with regard to standards of education, quantity of publications, development and overall progress. The general purpose of this study was to investigate the patterns used by scientists in publishing the results of their research, provide valuable information and play a significant role in evaluating the research and publication patterns of scientists from these different institutions The study collected two sets of data through lists of publications and a questionnaire. The questionnaire was pretested and the comments of the respondents enabled the investigator to make the necessary revisions in the subsequent questionnaire. The questionnaire was sent to 350 full-time academic scientists in the departments of physics, chemistry, botany, zoology and biochemistry / microbiology in the selected universities. Out of the 350 scientists, 174 responded. Twenty one returns were discarded, hence only 153 were used in the data analysis. Further data was obtained from the Science Citation Index and the Foundation for Research Development. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, one way ANOVA and Pearson Chi-Square test. The results obtained in this study showed that the five null hypotheses were rejected. It was found that there was a : - • direct relation between academic rank and productivity; academic status and productivity. • direct relation correlation between prestige and productivity. • higher impact of "A" grade scientists over non-"A" grade scientists. • significant difference in productivity between areas of science that are funded and areas which receive little or no funding.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 1998.


Bibliometrics., Scientists--South Africa., Science--Periodicals., Theses--Library and information science., Scholarly periodicals., Communication in science--South Africa.