This paper examines general characteristics of African science from a quantitative ‘scientometric’ perspective. More specifically,
that of research outputs of Africa-based authors published in the scientific literature during the years 1980–2004, either
within the international journals representing ‘mainstream’ science, or within national and regional journals reflecting ‘indigenous
science’. As for the international journals, the findings derived from Thomson Scientific’s Citation Indexes show that while
Africa’s share in worldwide science has steadily declined, the share of international co-publications has increased very significantly,
whereas low levels of international citation impact persist. A case study of South African journals reveals the existence
of several journals that are not processed for these international databases but nonetheless show a distinctive citation impact
on international research communities.