Indigenous Knowledge in Africa: A Bibliometric Analysis of Publishing Patterns

  • Jan Resenga MalulekaEmail author
  • Patrick Ngulube


This study presents a bibliometric analysis of the publication patterns of indigenous knowledge in Africa. IK has always been subjected to prejudice, and the contributions made by Africa to the body of knowledge are conspicuously missing from text books for formal education and continue to remain unknown. Data for this study were collected from WoS and Scopus databases and saved into excel sheets for further analysis. The results suggest that the bulk pf IK research was done in medicinal and pharmaceutical sciences. When it comes to Library and Information Science, the researchers focus was more on the management of IK, which was motivated by the preservation role that Information science professionals must play as the custodians of knowledge generated in societies.


Indigenous knowledge Publishing patterns Bibliometrics Research Africa 



  1. 1.
    Ebermann P. Patents as protection traditional medical knowledge. Cambridge: Intersentia Publishing; 2016.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Mokgobi MG. Understanding traditional African healing. AJPHERD. 2014;2(1):24–34.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ngulube P. Managing and preserving indigenous knowledge in the knowledge management era: challenges and opportunities for information professionals. Inf Dev. 2002;18(2):95–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sodi T, Mudhovozi P, Mashamba T, Radzilani-Makatu M, Takalani J, Mabunda J. Indigenous healing practices in Limpopo Province of South Africa: a qualitative study. Int J Health Promot Educ. 2011;49(3):101–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Tjiek LT. Desa Informasi: the role of digital libraries in the preservation and dissemination of indigenous knowledge. Int Inf Library Rev. 2006;38(3):123–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ngulube P, Dube L, Mhlongo M. Towards a cartography of indigenous knowledge systems in library and information science training and education in Anglophone Eastern and Southern Africa. Indilinga Afr J Indig Knowl Syst. 2014;14(2):145–68.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Owusu-Ansah FE, Mji G. African indigenous knowledge and research. Afr J Disabil. 2013. Scholar
  8. 8.
    Alabi AO, Oyelude AA, Sokoya AA. It takes two to tango’: libraries achieving sustainable development goals through preservation of Indigenous knowledge on textile craft making (adire) among women. In: XXIII SCECSAL conference, 2018. Accessed 24 Oct 2018.
  9. 9.
    Blom A, Lan G, Adil M. Sub-Saharan African science, technology, engineering, and mathematics research: A decade of development. Washington, DC: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, The World Bank; 2016.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Onyancha OB. Mapping research areas and collaboration in the College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa. Inkanyiso J Humanit Soc Sci. 2010;2(2):86–97.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mawere M. Indigenous knowledge and public education in sub-Saharan Africa. Afr Spectr. 2015;50(2):57–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Openjuru GL, Jaitli N, Tandon R, Hall B. Despite knowledge democracy and community-based participatory action research: Voices from the global south and excluded north still missing. Action Res. 2015;13(3):219–29. Scholar
  13. 13.
    Njiraine D, Onyancha OB, Ocholla DN. Indigenous knowledge research in Kenya and South Africa: an informetric study. Indilinga Afr J Indig Knowl Syst. 2010;9(2):194–21010.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kwanya T, Kiplang'at J. Indigenous knowledge research in Kenya: a bibliometric analysis. In: Proceedings of the 11th international knowledge management in organizations conference on the changing face of knowledge management impacting society. ACM, 2016.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ocholla DN, Onyancha OB. The marginalized knowledge: An informetric analysis of indigenous knowledge publications (1990–2004). S Afr J Libr Inf Sci. 2005;71(3):247–58.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Shah SRU, Mahmood K. Review of Google scholar, Web of science, and Scopus search results: the case of inclusive education research. Library Philosophy and Practice. 2017; Accessed 06 Dec 2018.
  17. 17.
    Ngulube P, Onyancha OB. What’s in a name? Using informetric techniques to conceptualize the knowledge of traditional and indigenous communities. Indilinga Afr J Indig Knowl Syst. 2011;10(2):129–52.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information ScienceUniversity of South Africa, Unisa‎PretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.School of Interdisciplinary Research and Postgraduate StudiesUniversity of South Africa, Unisa‎PretoriaSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations