Are these Africa’s best researchers?

University of Pretoria leads the pack in South Africa-heavy list
By Deborah-Fay Ndlovu
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04-02-2013

Thirty-one researchers who call Africa home are listed among the world’s most highly cited in a preliminary study compiled by Thomson Reuters last month.

All but six of the 31 are at least partly based in South Africa. The University of Pretoria dominates with nine researchers on the list, followed by the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

Kenya follows South Africa with three highly cited researchers affiliated to the Kenya Medical Research Institute: Kevin Marsh, Robert Snow and John Vulule.

Matty Demont in Senegal, Gerry Killeen in Tanzania and Moses Kamya in Uganda also make the list.

One researcher—Victor Kuete—is linked to two universities: the University of Yaounde I in Cameroon and the University of Pretoria.

All the researchers are listed under this article.

The study assesses the number of times that scientific papers published between 2002 and 2011 have been cited by other researchers. It lists nearly 5,000 scientists across the world in a variety of disciplines.

Africa-based researchers stand out in five disciplines: pharmacology, plant and animal science, environment and ecology, chemistry and clinical medicine.

Jason Young, the product manager at Thomson Reuters, says South Africa dominates because it produces more research papers than any other country in Africa.

“South Africa has well-established international links, enabling many of its researchers to engage in programmes that bring their work to international attention,” Young says.

Five of the University of Pretoria researchers work in pharmacology. The remaining four are plant and animal scientists.

Stephanie Burton, the university’s vice-principal for research and postgraduate education, says Pretoria’s lead position is due to its strong international collaborations.

“These researchers have chosen to publish their work in high impact journals, they have established collaborations with other internationally recognised researchers, and their work has received high international exposure,” she says.

Nelson Ijumba, the deputy vice-chancellor for research at UKZN, says having highly cited researchers helps institutions perform well in academic rankings. It also helps institutions attract world-class academics and students.

The University of Cape Town (UCT), often ranked as Africa’s top research university in international lists, has only two researchers in the list.

Marilet Sienaert, the director of research at UCT, says highly cited researchers are but one of many indicators used to assess its performance.

The list doesn’t identify how many times each scientist was cited. Thomson Reuters says it will publish a more comprehensive analysis in April.

 

Africa’s most highly cited

William Bond, University of Cape Town, SA, environment/ecology

Mark Brown, University of KwaZulu-Natal, SA, plant/animal science

Richard Cowling, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, SA, environment/ecology

Pedro Crous, CBS Fungal Biodiversity Centre/ University of Pretoria, The Netherlands/SA, plant/animal science

Matty Demont, Africa Rice Centre, Senegal, economics/business

Colleen Downs, University of KwaZulu-Natal, SA, plant/animal science

Jacobus Eloff, University of Pretoria, SA, pharmacology

Moses Kamya, Makerere University, Uganda, clinical medicine

Gerry Killeen, Ifakara Health Institute, Tanzania, clinical medicine

Andrew Knight, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, SA, environment/ecology

Victor Kuete, University of Yaounde I/University of Pretoria, Cameroon/SA, pharmacology

Namrita Lall, University of Pretoria, SA, pharmacology

Trevor Letcher, University of KwaZulu-Natal, SA, chemistry

Amanda Lombard, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, SA, environment/ecology

Kevin Marsh, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenya, clinical medicine

Lyndy Mcgaw, University of Pretoria, SA, pharmacology

Marion Meyer, University of Pretoria, SA, pharmacology

Tebello Nyokong, Rhodes University, SA, chemistry

Deresh Ramjugernath, University of KwaZulu-Natal, SA, chemistry

David Richardson, Stellenbosch University, SA, environment/ecology

Matthie Rouget, University of KwaZulu-Natal (formerly South African National Biodiversity Institute), SA, environment/ecology

Bernard Slippers, University of Pretoria, SA, plant/animal science

Robert Snow, Kenya Medical Research Institute/University of Oxford, Kenya, clinical medicine

Magnus Sverke, North-West University, SA, economics/business

Johannes van Staden, University of KwaZulu-Natal, SA, pharmacology

Lyn Wadley, University of Witwatersrand, SA, social sciences

Carolyn Williamson, University of Cape Town, SA, microbiology

Alvaro Viljoen, Tshwane University of Technology, SA, pharmacology

John Vulule, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenya clinical medicine

Michael Wingfield, University of Pretoria, SA, plant/animal science

Brenda Wingfield, University of Pretoria, SA, plant/animal science

 




This article was published in Research Professional, the UK’s leading independent source of news, analysis, funding opportunities and jobs for the academic research community.