An evaluation of the science system in Kenya

Lutomiah, Agnes Omulyebi (2020-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Evaluation of science systems has been on the increase in the recent past following government calls for accountability of the public investment in research development. The government and other funders also call for the evaluation of science for decision making on the amounts to invest in research development. This study set out to conduct an evaluation of the Kenyan science system. Using a case study research design, the study combined standard research and development indicators, bibliometric data, survey data and interview data to evaluate Kenya’s research investment, research capacity and research performance – research output, research collaboration, and citation impact. The standard research and development indicators revealed minimal investment in research development in Kenya, an investment that is still below the government’s target of investing about 1-2% of GDP to research and development. The R&D indicators also show that the human resources available for research are low in relation to the government’s target and a comparison of other selected sub-Saharan countries. The government intends to increase the number of researchers by training more PhD students. It was also the objective of this study to assess and describe the trends in Kenya’s research performance. Bibliometric data on publications revealed a steady increase in scientific output over the past decade across all scientific fields. The study also found high scientific output in the agricultural and health sciences. Analyzing the co-authorship data revealed an increase in international collaboration with minimal inter-continental and national collaboration. Minimal national collaboration might imply a weak national science. The study also found that Kenya specializes in agricultural and the health sciences which is important for Kenya’s overall scientific output. Citation analysis showed that the citation impact of Kenya’s scientific output had increased steadily for the past two decades, registering a citation impact that is above the world average (i.e. above 1), which implies that it generates at least similar citation rates than other countries. Examining the factors that enable or constraint research performance, the study found no huge age differences that emerge in relation to respondent’s collaboration with different researchers. On the other end, male scientists were more likely to collaborate internationally as compared to female researchers. In relation to research output, in general, my findings show age, gender and scientific field are key predictors of reported scientific output. Statistically significant differences between age categories, although small, and research production were found as older scientists reported higher publication output in some fields and publication forms as compared to the younger scientists. Several scientific career challenges were identified in this study, which includes minimal funding support, lack of research networks, lack of mentoring, training and support in career decision and fundraising. The contribution of this study was both empirical and methodological. Using the research performance evaluation framework, this study provides a comprehensive evaluation of Kenya’s science system on the following aspects: research investment, research capacity and research performance (research output, research collaboration and citation impact). Apart from the evaluation, the study also provides information on the perceptions of scientists on research funding, research collaboration and career challenges. Methodologically, the study uses a case study research design, which allows triangulation of the standard R&D data, bibliometric data, survey data and interview data, to provide an in-depth understanding and evaluation of Kenya’s science system. Given that different methods have different limitations, the different data sources supplement each other.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Regerings dring toenemend aan op die toerekeningsvatbaarheid van openbare besteding in navorsingsontwikkeling en dit het gelei tot ‘n opwaartse groei in die evaluering van wetenskapsisteme. Regerings en ander befondsers doen ook ‘n beroep op wetenskapsevaluasie vir insae tot besluitneming vir finansiële beleggings in navorsingsontwikkeling. Die studie onderneem om ‘n evaluasie uit te voer van die Keniaanse wetenskapsisteem. Na aanleiding van ‘n gevallestudie navorsingsontwerp kombineer die studie standard navorsings- en ontwikkelingsindikatore, bibliometriese data, opname- en onderhoud-data om Kenia se investering, kapasiteit en prestasie in navorsing (navorsingsuitsette, navorsingsamewerking en sitasie-impak) te evalueer. Die standard navorsings- en ontwikkelingsindikatore dui op ‘n minimale investering in navorsingsontwikkeling in Kenia. Die huidige investering in navorsingsontwikkeling is steeds minder as die regering se teiken van 1-2% van die BBP. Die N&O indikatore dui ook op lae beskikbare menslike hulpbronne kapasiteit vir navorsing in verhouding tot die regering se teiken en in vergeleke met ander geselekteerde lande in sub-Sahara. Die regering beplan om die getal navorsers te bevorder deur meer doktorale studente op te lei. Dit is ook die doelwit van die studie om tendense in Kenia se navorsingsprestasie te evalueer en beskryf. Bibliometriese publikasie data toon die afgelope dekade ʼn bestendige toename in navorsingsuitsette in alle wetenskaplike dissiplines. Die studie het ook hoë navorsingsuitsette in landbou- en gesondheidswetenskappe gevind. Analises van die mede-outeurskap data het ʼn toename getoon in buitelandse samewerking met min inter-kontinentale en nasionale samewerking. Die minimale nasionale samewerking kan dui op ʼn swak wetenskapsisteem. Die studie het gevind dat Kenia spesialiseer in landbou- en gesondheidswetenskappe wat geblangrik is vir die totale navorsingsuitsette van Kenia. Sitasie-analise toon dat die sitasieimpak van Kenia se navorsingsuitsette bestendig toegeneem het die afgelope twee dekades. Die sitasie-impak is hoër as die wêreld-gemiddeld (m.a.w. meer as 1) wat impliseer dat Kenia ten minste soortgelyke sitasie-impak as ander lande genereer. Die studie ondersoek faktore wat navorsingsprestasie bevorder of belemmer en het geen groot ouderdomsverskille gevind in respondente se samewerking met ander navorsers nie. Daar is gevind dat meer manlike navorsers internasionaal saamwerk met ander navorsers in vergeleke met vroulike navorsers. Wat die navorsingsuitsette betref, wys die bevindinge van die studie dat ouderdom, geslag en wetenskaplike dissipline die belangrikste aanduiding gee van navorsingsuitsette. Alhoewel daar klein statisties beduidende verskille is tussen die verskillende ouderdomskategorieë, toon die bevindinge wel dat ouer navorsers hoër navorsingsuitsette het in sekere wetenskaplike dissiplines in vergeleke met jonger navorsers. Die studie het verskeie wetenskaplike beroepsuitdagings gevind wat minimale befondsingsondersteuning, ʼn gebrek aan navorsingsnetwerke, ʼn gebrek aan mentorskappe en opleiding asook ʼn gebrek aan ondersteuning in die beroepskeuses en fondswerwing insluit. Die bydrae van die studie is beide empiries en metodologies. Die studie bied ʼn omvattende evaluering van die Keniaanse wetenskapsisteem op die investering, kapasiteit en prestasie in navorsing (navorsingsuitsette, navorsingsamewerking en sitasie-impak) deur gebruik te maak van ʼn navorsingsprestasie-evaluasie raamwerk. Buiten die evaluasie, voorsien die studie inligting oor die persepsies van navorsers oor die befondsing van navorsing, samewerking met ander navorsers en beroepsuitdagings. In terme van metodologie word ʼn gevallestudie navorsingsontwerp implementeer wat voorsiening maak vir die validering van standaard N&O, bibliometriese, opname- en onderhoudsdata. Gegee dat die verskillende tegnieke verskillende beperkinge het vul die verskillende databronne mekaar aan om ʼn in-diepte begrip en evaluering van die Keniaanse wetenskapstelsel te verskaf.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/108018
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