Research Collaborations between South Africa and Other Countries, 1986-2005: An Informetric Analysis
The paper reports the findings of an informetric study of the countries with which South Africa collaborates in research. The study period spans 20 years (10 years each during and after the apartheid era). Data were extracted from the Thomson Reuters citation indexes, namely: Science Citation Index (SCI), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) and Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI). Among the findings, it was observed that multiple-country-author papers, as well as the number of collaborating countries are on the rise since 1986. The USA topped the list of the countries outside Africa collaborating with South Africa while Zimbabwe topped the list of African countries. However, the strength of research collaboration was low for both categories of countries. Regarding impact, international collaboration yielded higher average citations per paper than continental collaboration. The study concludes that there are many unique research areas in which African countries can collaborate, and recommends that these areas should form themes along which scholars in Africa could conduct collaborative research.