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The Research Performance and Citation Impact of Tanzanian Scholars: A Scientometric Study

Abstract

A scientometric analysis was conducted to map the research performance and citation impact of Tanzania scholars from 1991 to 2015. The study analyzed the growth of the Tanzanians’ scholarly literature; ascertained the year-wise distribution of publications, subject-wise distribution of publications; determined the authorship pattern and degree of collaboration; and analyzed the citation impact. Scientometric analysis is a type of quantitative methods used in evaluating research productivity of individual scientists. Data for research productivity of all Tanzania scholars were obtained using the SCOPUS database. For the Tanzanians’ scholars, a total of 12,379 articles were published from 34 academic and research institutions from 1991 to 2015. Most Tanzanians scholars had published journal articles (n= 10392, 83.9%), which was followed by review articles and conference papers. The top three universities with high cumulative number of publications were Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) (n=2009, 16.2 %), University of Dar es salaam (n=1880, 15.2%) and Sokoine University of Agriculture (n=1571, 12.7%). The three universities alternated the first three ranks over the period of 25 years. The top five subjects where Tanzanians scholars published were related to medicine (n=6868, 25.0%), agricultural and biological sciences (n=5260, 19.2 %), immunology and microbiology (n=2781, 10.1%), environmental sciences (n=2309, 8.4%), and biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology (n=1853, 6.8%). Forty two percent of all publications were co-authored with researchers from the United States of America and the United Kingdom each contributing almost equally. Kenya is the third collaborating country contributing to 870 publications (7.0%). The maximum number of citations received in a single publication was 1914. The study findings call for scholars to recognize the importance of publishing in visible journals in order to receive large citation counts. Institutions are urged to employ scientometrics in evaluating the research performance of their scholars since such techniques take into account a combination of several measures. These findings suggest that many factors should be considered in combination when evaluating researchers’ productivity and impact. For Tanzania to achieve its sustainable goals it and progress from a low- to a middle-income country, it needs to involve its researchers, policy-makers and providers such as the health care providers to collaborate in efforts to bridge the gaps between research, policy and practice.

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Keywords

Tanzania, Research Performance, A Scientometric Study

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