Browsing by Author "Mouton, Johann"
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- ItemThe Doctorate in South Africa: Trends, challenges and constraints(SUN MeDIA, 2016) Mouton, JohannINTRODUCTION: We have witnessed over the past decade a renewed interest in doctoral education in South Africa. This interest has been fuelled by national as well as institutional policies that have identified the production of doctoral graduates as a matter of strategic priority. The country needs more doctoral graduates both to replenish the academic capacity in the higher education sector and to serve the knowledge economy and its new challenges. The aim of this chapter is to argue that four policy discourses have shaped and continue to shape current debates on the production of PhDs in South frica. These discourses address the need for increased volumes of PhD output (growth), efficiency, transformation and quality. But these discourses are not simply separate and parallel ‘forces’ that have differential impacts on doctoral production in South Africa. These discourses are often at odds with one another; they co-exist – often in tension – and sometimes even seem contradictory when taken together. The pursuit of increased numbers (growth) may, for example, have a negative impact on the achievement of quality and even compromise efficiency. These discourses – and the imperatives embedded in them – operate in a complex (higher education) system of recursive causality (feedback loops) and emergent properties (different levels of impact).
- ItemThe early history of research funding in South Africa : from the Research Grant Board to the FRD(Academy of Science of South Africa, 201612) Luruli, Ndivhuwo M.; Mouton, JohannThe South African government has a long tradition of supporting research at public higher education institutions. Such support commenced in the early 20th century, although the exact nature of the support at that time is poorly documented. The oldest research funding model in the country was agency funding, which started as early as 1911 through the Royal Society of South Africa. A few years later, in 1918, a more coordinated funding body called the Research Grant Board (RGB) was established in the Union of South Africa. The RGB offered competitive funding to individual academics in the natural and physical sciences. The human sciences were only supported much later with the establishment of the Council for Educational and Social Research in 1929. Here we review the history of research funding in South Africa, with a special focus on the work of the RGB between 1918 and 1938.
- ItemThe extent of South African authored articles in predatory journals(Academy of Science of South Africa, 2017-04) Mouton, Johann; Valentine, AstridWe present a first estimate of the extent of predatory publishing amongst South African academics. This estimate is based on an analysis of all South African authored papers that qualified for subsidy over the period 2005 to 2014. The analysis shows that 4246 South African papers were published in 48 journals which we re-classified (refining Beall’s classification) as either being probably or possibly predatory. A breakdown of these papers by year shows that the greatest increase in predatory publishing has occurred since 2011. Results are also presented of the distribution of these papers by individual university and scientific field. We conclude with some suggestions about predatory publishing and its pervasive consequence for our trust in science and how this should be addressed by the major stakeholders in the South African higher education system.
- ItemA gender perspective on career challenges experienced by African scientists(Academy of Science of South Africa, 2019) Prozesky, Heidi; Mouton, JohannEmpirical knowledge of the career challenges that confront African scientists, and women scientists in particular, holds an important key to achieving future success in the science systems of the continent. In this article, we address a lack of evidence generally on the careers of scientists in Africa, by providing the first continent-wide description of the challenges they face, and how these challenges differ between women and men. Our analysis of questionnaire-survey data on approximately 5000 African scientists from 30 countries shows that women are not more challenged than men by a variety of career-related issues, with the exception of balancing work and family, which the majority of women, regardless of age and region, experience. Contrary to expectations, women are not only less likely than men to report a lack of funding as having impacted negatively on their careers, but have been more successful at raising research funding in the health sciences, social sciences and humanities. These results, as well as those from a comparison of women according to age and region, are linked to existing scholarship, which leads us to recommend priorities for future interventions aimed at effectively ensuring the equal and productive participation of women in the science systems of Africa. These priorities are addressing women’s work–family role conflict; job security among younger women scientists; and women in North African and Western African countries.
- ItemThe Humanities and Social Sciences in SA : crisis or cause for concern?(Academy of Science of South Africa, 2011-12) Mouton, JohannThe publication of two high-level reports on the state of the Humanities in South Africa in recent months1,2 is in itself a historic event. If scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) had been concerned about the lack of appreciation and recognition by the government and senior decision-makers in the science system for their fields and disciplines, just the fact that these reports have been commissioned and published should go some way to allaying any fears of their imminent ‘demise’. But of course the rationale behind these two studies is to be found in more serious concerns by scholars in these fields: that there are systematic biases in the national science and higher education system which explicitly (and sometimes not so explicitly) constrain, weaken and disadvantage the HSS. These concerns relate to matters of funding, publication support, expenditure on R&D, reward systems and many other key components of these systems.
- ItemA survey of doctoral supervisors in South Africa(UNISA Press, 2015) Mouton, Johann; Boshoff, Nelius; James, MeganSouth African universities receive a direct monetary reward for the number of doctoral graduates produced. As a result there has been a steady increase in numbers in recent years (from 977 in 2004 to 1 878 in 2012), with obvious implications for doctoral supervision. Against this background a web-based survey of 331 doctoral supervisors at South African universities was conducted in 2011. The findings are discussed with reference to four themes: the burden of numbers, the nature of the doctorate (PhD), screening and selection of doctoral candidates, and supervisory styles. The main conclusion is that many doctoral supervisors in South Africa conduct their supervision under less-than-optimal conditions. Increasing student numbers, demands for constant monitoring and accountability, the pressure of throughput rates and efficient completion together with moderate-to-poor quality students, have resulted in a situation where doctoral supervision has become a challenging and highly stressful undertaking.
- ItemThe utility of university-industry partnerships : a case study of the University of Cape Town (UCT) and SASOL(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2003-12) Cele, Mlungisi B. Gabriel; Mouton, Johann; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Sociology and Social Anthropology.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In South Africa few systematic studies have been done on university-industry partnerships. This research investigated the evolution of the University of Cape Town (UCT) and SASOL partnership involving heterogeneous catalysis. As part of this investigation, I analysed the driving force and sought to determine the motivations and benefits that UCT and SASOL have since accrued as a result of their partnership. I also analysed knowledge transmission or technology transfer processes such as the hiring of graduates, intellectual property etc. In light of all of these I sought to draw lessons that could be learnt from UCT-SASOL partnership for future purpose. I followed four themes or sections in order to situate the study. These were, (a) the socio-economic context (global and knowledge economy, innovation, knowledge society etc.), the changing modes of knowledge production ("Mode 2") and the changing ways of interactions among stakeholders industry, university and government (Triple Helix). The key argument here is that the university industry partnership cannot be seen as an independent development, but is interrelated or partly the consequence of changes in the socio-economic, science, technology and higher education fields, (b) The driving force behind the partnership, (c) motivations, benefits, and (d) knowledge or technology transfer/transmission processes. I used the case study research design. I conducted interviews with the UCT Chemical Engineering Department, UCT Centre for Research and Innovation and SASOL officials. I collected several documents related to the study and also visited the laboratories in which UCT-SASOL partnership research activities were happening. Some of the findings of the study include the following. The partnership demonstrates the significant role of an individual academic, who steered transformation in terms of research activities and culture in the Chemical Engineering Department. The legacy of the individual academic's strong personality and commitment to research is evident and continues to stimulate high levels of research interest and teamwork among staff members which is characteristic of this department. A strong link is maintained between the basic disciplinary "Mode 1" teaching and research on the one hand and the multidisciplinary "Mode 2" applied and strategic research and training on the other: This is evident in the strong emphasis on the solid undergraduate disciplinary education as a basis for a high quality multidisciplinary postgraduate education. All staff members are involved in both teaching and research. A strong link is maintained between academic, research and postgraduate activities: The department utilizes surpluses generated through industrial-oriented research to cross-subsidize the academic and postgraduate activities.