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Science - Education | Economy - Development

Africa's research output dominated by three nations

afrol News, 12 April - A new study in the field of research work amongst the African states says three nations are dominating the field, with South Africa way ahead of its peers. Egypt and Nigeria follow second and third.

The study from Thomson Reuters released today shows South Africa is the outstanding research leader on the African continent, saying it has by far the greatest research output of any country, well ahead of Egypt in second place and Nigeria in third.

The study, Global Research Report: Africa, found a relatively high representation of African research - as a share of world publications - in fields that are relevant to natural resources.

South Africa's 1.55 percent share of research in Plant and Animal Science is the continent's biggest share in any field. This output surpasses Russia's 1.17 percent but is well behind China's 5.42 percent share in the same field, noted the study.

"Africa's overall volume of activity remains small, much smaller than is desirable if the potential contribution of its researchers is to be realized for the benefit of its populations," said Jonathan Adams, director, research evaluation at Thomson Reuters. "The resources available in some African countries are substantial, but they are not being invested in the research base," he added.

The study also found that despite Nigeria's high-volume output, it is not producing as much research as would be expected given the size of its economy, further adding that Nigeria's global reach is marked by its research collaboration with China, while it is also well-positioned to extend its links westward and partner with the emerging Brazilian research base.

It further pointed out that there is a marked interaction between researchers in the countries in North Africa, which share both language and culture. In this region, Egypt takes the dominant position when it comes to research output.

Another key finding by the study is that, the African continent's historical ties to France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, ensure a high level of external input and links to European research programmes, while at the same time, new links to Saudi Arabia and Japan provide the opportunity for participation in emerging networks in those countries.

The study is part of the Global Research Report series from Thomson Reuters that are aimed at illustrating "the changing landscape and dynamics of scientific research around the world."

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