Friday, 12 August 2011

Some indicators on Sudanese research output (and V)

  The final analysis on research output from Sudan is the one that compares research output from different African countries. In a similar way to previous results, these figures are calculated on the basis of the research papers published in ISI journal titles, which means quite a large bias is included there if we consider the rate of papers produced nation-wide that get published by those journals. However, since that rate may be approximately the same for all countries in Africa, the results may be significant anyway.

There is cumulative data for the most recent 5 and 10 years. Checking first on the 5-yr table we find a set of global indicators used for contry comparison. First one of those is the total number of documents published in ISI Web of Science. In this ranking Sudan is featured in a medium-range 15th position, with 774 documents (the fact that it's not the same number of documents as in previous results is due to the slightly different reference period).

Egypt, Tunisia, Nigeria, Algeria and Kenya are the most productive countries in Africa from a global research viewpoint (all of them are large countries). In order to account for differences in research quality and country size, there are also other indicators in the table, such as the number of times those published documents get cited by other ISI journal papers. When that indicator is examined, the top 5 countries switch positions (Egypt still on top) and Sudan descends into position 21.

However, if the ratio number of cites per published paper is analysed, then there's a sudden twist of the ranking, and small countries such as Gambia, Guinea and Mali get the best positions, while Sudan is ranked 31st.

Finally, Sudan is placed 30th when ranking is done by the rate of published papers that get cited at all, with a 54,39%, while Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Mali top the list with 80, 79 and 70% of cited papers. The complete table is available here.

If the analysis is performed on the most recent 10 years cumulative data (see comlpete table here), results do not vary too much and relative positions tend to remain stable save for minor differences in some categories (see below for instance Sudan in 28th position when sorting data by the rate of cited documents - which is incidentally ten points better for the Sudanese 10-yr aggregate than for the 5-yr one, probably not so much because older science was better but due to the fact that there are still many citations to arrive for the most recently published papers).

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