HERANA Phase 3 gets off the ground
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HERANA Phase 3 gets off the ground
HERANA Phase 3 entitled “Institutionalising data collection and analysis to strengthen knowledge production in a group of emerging research-intensive flagship universities in sub-Saharan Africa” got underway at a three-day workshop from 18-21 November 2014 in Stellenbosch. [Click here to view the programme] The project is funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and will run from November 2014 to December 2016.
The project has two main goals:
- To institutionalise data collection and analysis that can contribute to research-informed information, that can
- Contribute to a process to strengthen knowledge production in the eight participating emerging research-intensive flagship universities.
The strategies to achieve this are twofold: the institutionalisation of six years of capacity building in performance data collection within the eight HERANA network universities, combined with the promotion of developing institution-specific policies to contribute to the institutions’ knowledge-producing capabilities (which, amongst others, include enrolling and graduating more PhDs, and increasing the proportion of staff with PhDs and research output). This will form part of a larger set of activities to develop a group of research-intensive flagship universities in Africa.
At the workshop, participants generally agreed that significant progress has been made in institutionalization of data collection at African universities.
A number of trends emerged including the following:
- Bibliometrics data provided by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Scientometrics and Science and Technology Policy (SciSTIP), on the internationalisation of research, shows that in terms of growth of internationally co-authored journal articles, the performance profiles of the eight institutions differ significantly – both across universities, as well as within the same university across fields of science. But, overall, the numbers are steadily increasing.
- There is a considerable percentage increase in publication output, particularly beyond 2010, with Makerere and Ghana leading the group, and Nairobi and Botswana slowing down.
- Not only is publication output going up, but published articles compared to citations for 2009-2013 shows that, for example, at Makerere, citations are rising even faster, meaning a greater presence/visibility for African science.
- The knowledge production in these flagship universities is internationalising, some very rapidly, and in many fields with larger citation impacts as a result. It also shows that each of the institutions have ‘centres of excellence’. However, a great concern for Africa must be that almost all are in the medical field. Universities cannot only respond to disease in Africa, they also need to contribute to economic development.
- Widespread agreement that performance indicators shared amongst a group of African institutions has not only created a much greater awareness of their possible use in planning, but has also created a ‘regional standard’ for benchmarking – in that sense it is much more informative and useful than the global rankings.
- A core group of institutional planners has resulted from HERANA, with participants recruited as directors or advisors of higher education institutional or national planning.