Computing research in South Africa : a scientometric investigation

Parry, Douglas A. (2019)

CITATION: Parry, D. A. 2019. Computing research in South Africa : a scientometric investigation. South African Computer Journal, 31(1):51-79, doi:10.18489/sacj.v31i1.674.

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Limited attention has been afforded to mapping the ‘landscape’ of South African computing research. Prior studies have considered singular sub-disciplines, publications, or publication types. Given the growing prominence of computing disciplines, it is necessary to identify the patterns of research production, publication, collaboration, and impact of South African computing research. This study presents a scientometric investigation in this regard. Through the analysis of data accessed from the Scopus citation enhanced bibliographic database, the investigation presents findings in relation to annual research production, institutional differences in outputs, topics, collaboration, and citation impact. While characterised by institutional differences, over the period considered, South African computing research output has increased at a greater rate than that of South African research at large. Additionally, despite accounting for a greater proportion of all outputs, conference papers account for a smaller proportion of citations relative to journal articles or book chapters. Corresponding to previous investigations, there exists a tendency towards applied computing topics in contrast to more theoretical topics. Finally, the collaboration network was shown to be particularly de-centralised with many researchers clustered around institutions. The findings are of interest to all researchers conducting computing or related research in South Africa.

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