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