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Capacitating national research: a review of South African natural sciences research projects, theses and dissertations, 1986-2006

DOI: 10.7553/75-2-92

Keywords: Informetrics , natural sciences , research , South Africa

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Abstract:

The paper examines selected natural sciences research output in South Africa, with special reference to research projects, theses and dissertations in order to determine the trends and nature of capacitation of national research in the selected disciplines in the country. Relevant data was extracted from the South African Bibliographic and Information Network (SABINET)-hosted Current and Completed Research (C&CR) database using subject codes as well as subject keywords. The study reveals that the trends of capacitating national research in natural sciences in South Africa follows a mixed pattern of growth, biology is the most researched subject/discipline, co-supervision of research projects in South Africa is minimal, universities are the main centres for capacitating national research, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research is visible, research capacity building is largely at the level of Masters degree and English language is the most commonly used language of capacitation of national research. In conclusion, we argue, among other recommendations, that there is a need to convert the completed research projects (that is, technical reports, dissertations, theses and so on) into publishable research articles for wider dissemination of research findings.

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