Today’s indicator figure is 35,819
35,819 of what?
35,819 is the number of publications from East African academics in reputable scientific journals in the past years from January 2007 through January 2017. This is according to the Web of Science database which tracks scientific journal publications around the globe.
What do you mean publications in reputable scientific journals?
These are a periodic collection of scientific discoveries, insights, and notable studies that are often reviewed by editors who are considered experts in their fields. An author’s contribution is counted towards a country’s contribution if at least one of the paper’s authors lists an institutional affiliation in that country.
Which EAC country has the highest and which the lowest amount of scientific publications per capita?
Kenya has the highest publications with 16,494 and Rwanda has the lowest with 1,551 publications in absolute terms. Tanzania has 8,661 and Uganda has 9,113 publications.
What types of publications are these?
Overwhelmingly the publications involving EAC Universities relate to health, either infectious diseases or public, environmental, and occupational health. This is likely due to the flow of international funding to combat diseases that affect East Africans at a greater rate than in other parts of the world.
How do EAC scientific publications compare to other regions of the world?
The amount of scientific publications from the EAC has much room for catching up with the other regions of the world. Publications from the United States during a similar period were 10,193,964 or 284 times more than publications from the entire EAC. The next closest country is China with 4,595,249 or 128 times more than the EAC. A bit closer to home, South Africa has 213,998 publications or close to 6 times the EAC’s contributions to science.
Are scientific publications in the EAC increasing or decreasing?
They are increasing. For example, in Kenya in 2006 there were a mere 633 publications whereas ten years later that figure increased to 2527 nearly quadrupling the country’s scientific contributions. A similar dynamic is consistent across other EAC countries.
What’s behind this growth or decline?
According to organizations that track scientific trends this growth is due to increased funding, policy changes, increases in the number of students in STEM fields, and access to free and low-cost access to scientific journals.
What are some examples of organizations that are helping researchers?
Some database access providers and advocates include:
• Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: http://www.fao.org/agora/en/
• Research4Life: http://www.research4life.org/
• International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications: http://www.inasp.info/en/
How can I learn more?
To learn more about the topics in this article you can visit:
Web of Science Databases: https://clarivate.com/products/web-of-science/databases/
Ranking of countries by scientific publication: http://www.scimagojr.com/countryrank.php
About the authors:
David L. Ross is Managing Director of Statera Capital and US Ambassador to the Open University of Tanzania active in growing companies in Eastern and Southern Africa through primary investment, investment advisory, strategic partnerships, and executive education. Connect on LinkedIn at http://tz.linkedin.com/in/davidlross1 or at [email protected]
Catherine Mandler is a Senior Analyst at Statera Capital. Connect on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/CatherineMandler or at [email protected]