Scientific research in the natural sciences in South Africa: A scientometric study


  • Radhamany Sooryamoorthy Sociology Programme, School of Social Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa



natural sciences, growth, collaboration, bibliometry, South Africa


As a leading producer of scientific publications on the African continent, South Africa has made remarkable progress. However, attempts are yet to be made to comprehend the empirical reality of scientific production in South Africa. One way to do this is to analyse specific science disciplines (such as the natural sciences), publication outputs and their features. A bibliometric study was undertaken of the publication trends and patterns of South African researchers in the natural sciences from 1975 to 2005 (choosing selected sample years), using the Thomson Reuters’ Web of Knowledge database of selected indexed natural science journals. Characteristics of natural science publications, such as the trends over the years, were revealed as well as the collaborative dimensions involved in the production of scientific papers in these disciplines in South Africa. The connection between collaboration and publication, as well as between collaboration and sectors of authors was evident. The key findings of this study were that authors were based mostly in universities and were collaborative in their research endeavours. In addition, the participation of international collaborators has increased.


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How to Cite

Sooryamoorthy, R. (2013). Scientific research in the natural sciences in South Africa: A scientometric study. South African Journal of Science, 109(7/8), 11.



Research Article