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- Author or Editor: Nelius Boshoff x
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This study investigates South–South collaboration in research, and specifically collaboration among the 15 countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well as between the SADC and the rest of Africa. It was found that only 3% of SADC papers during 2005–2008 were jointly authored by researchers from two or more SADC countries (intra-regional collaboration), and only 5% of SADC papers were jointly authored with researchers from African countries outside the SADC (continental collaboration). In contrast, 47% of SADC papers were co-authored with scientists from high-income countries. The few instances of intra-regional and continental collaboration in the SADC are largely the product of North–South collaboration. Authors from high-income countries are included in 60% of intra-regional co-authored papers and in 59% of continental co-authored papers. Moreover, between 2005 and 2008, South Africa produced 81% of all SADC papers and 78% of all intra-regional co-authored papers. This implies that there is a highly unbalanced and unequal partnership that can best be described as a variant of North–South collaboration with the scientific giant in the South taking on the role of the ‘political North’. As a consequence, guidelines for successful North–South collaborations should be extended to include South–South collaborations that comprise highly unequal partners, as is the case between South Africa and the other SADC countries.
The study examines aspects of both neo-colonial ties and neo-colonial science in research papers produced by Central African countries. The primary focus is on the extent and pattern of neo-colonial ties and other foreign participation in the co-authorship of Central African research papers. The analysis revealed that 80% of Central Africa’s research papers are produced in collaboration with a partner from outside the region. Moreover, 46% of papers are produced in collaboration with European countries as the only partner, and 35% in collaboration with past colonial rulers. The top collaborating countries are France (32%), the USA (14%), and the UK and Germany (both 12%). Foreign powers also facilitate the production of regionally and continentally co-authored papers in Central Africa, where European countries participate in 77% of regionally co-authored papers. The practice of neo-colonial science, on the other hand, features in a survey of reprint authors of Cameroonian papers. The survey investigated specific contributions made by Cameroon coauthors to the research processes underlying a paper. Cameroonian researchers contribute intellectually and conceptually to the production of research papers, irrespective of whether the collaboration involves partners from past colonial or non-colonial countries. Their most frequent role in collaborative research with foreign researchers remains the conduct of fieldwork.
Citations to published work are gaining increasing prominence in evaluations of the research performance of scientists. Considering the importance accorded to gender issues in South African science, it is surprising that (to our knowledge) no research has as yet ascertained the extent of sex differences in citations to the published work of scientists in this country. Our literature study shows that studies that have been conducted elsewhere tend to neglect in their analyses important gender-related and other factors, such as the sex composition of multi-authored papers and the extent of foreign co-authorship. Against this background, we illustrate the difficulties inherent in measuring the quality aspect of sex-specific research performance by means of an analysis of a dataset of articles (n = 229) that were published between 1990 and 2002 in the field of invasion ecology and in journals included in the Thomson Reuters Web of Science. Each article has at least one South African author address. The results indicate that foreign co-authorship is a better correlate of high citations than the sex of South African authors, and this is true irrespective of whether the annual citation rate or window period is used, whether or not self-citations are excluded, and whether or not the number of authors is controlled for by calculating fractional counts. The paper highlights these and other considerations that are relevant for future gender-focused bibliometric research, both in South Africa and beyond.