NWU among the best universities in research publication outputs

The North-West University (NWU) is among the best universities in the country in terms of the overall research publication output units per institution.

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) recently released their report on the evaluation of universities’ 2017 research outputs and listed the NWU in the top seven.

The DHET’s report is published annually and provides an overview of institutional research performance, helping universities to focus their efforts in developing their niche areas of potential.

The NWU produced a total of 1 300 publication units: 1 107,64 for journal publications, 110,03 for book publications and 82,37 for conference proceedings. It is also one of the 12 universities which succeeds in publishing 70% to 79% of its journal publications in internationally accredited journals. The NWU’s actual score for this was 852,75 units (76.99%).

Another feather in the university’s cap is that about 52% of the NWU’s permanent academic staff have doctorates, which is above the national average of 46%.  

The 2018 publication outputs will be submitted this year.

How the NWU stands out

“This is a job well done, especially if we take into account that five of the six institutions that are ahead of us on the list have medical schools which contribute to their publication outputs,” says Prof Dan Kgwadi, NWU vice-chancellor and principal.

“In addition, the NWU is the only university in the top seven that operates predominantly in a rural area. This makes our achievement even more significant based on our strategy to transform and position the NWU as a unitary institution of superior academic excellence with a commitment to social justice.

“We are proud of our researchers who continue to profile our university,” he says. “Besides being one of the top seven institutions in research publication outputs in South Africa amidst competing demands, NWU is also ranked sixth for the number of NRF-rated researchers (236) and is the only institution in this category without a medical school.”

Furthermore, the NWU has 11 research chairs, three of which were awarded in 2017, and six national co-hosted entities that are linked to national and international imperatives.

“Our researchers also receive national and international research awards,” says Prof Refilwe Phaswana-Mafuya, deputy-vice chancellor for research and innovation. “For example, Prof Alta Schutte, the DST/NRF SARChI Chair in the Early Detection and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in South Africa, was recently honoured by the African Union with the Kwame Nkrumah award for Scientific Excellence.”

Aiming for a higher place on the list

Prof Nnenesi Kgabi, director for research support, paid tribute to all NWU researchers who had contributed to the university’s positioning among the best universities in South Africa. “I believe it is in our grasp to move up in position on the list if we all come together to get more individual researchers on board. We especially want to support all emerging academics and contribute more to research development.”

Commenting on the way forward for research at the university, Prof Phaswana-Mafuya says: “The NWU is committed to continued investment in research across its three campuses. This year we are focusing on creation of conducive, sustainable and supportive environment to advance research excellence. We are strengthening processes, systems and procedures for optimised research productivity, which includes increasing our current average outputs units per capita (1,73).

“We are also building the individual research capacities of our master’s and doctoral students, our 23 DST/NRF-funded interns, our 200-plus postdoctoral fellows and our junior academic staff, among others.”

Submitted by BELINDA BANTHAM on Tue, 04/16/2019 - 15:04