, Volume 71, Issue 2, pp 303–327

Africa’s contribution to the worldwide research literature: New analytical perspectives, trends, and performance indicators

Open AccessArticle

DOI: 10.1007/s11192-007-1658-3

Cite this article as:
Tijssen, R.J.W. Scientometrics (2007) 71: 303. doi:10.1007/s11192-007-1658-3


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.

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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS)Leiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Centre for Research on Science and Technology (CREST)Stellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa