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UJ achieves historic No 1 in SA’s accredited research outputs

In a historic first, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) is now the top producer of research outputs in South Africa. Twenty-six (26) universities in the country produce research that advances knowledge with the potential to benefit humanity.

This is according to a report released on 19 May 2023 by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). In this latest report, in terms of refereed publications, UJ has achieved the #1 position in South Africa with 2753.4 research output units. The Report on the Evaluation of the 2021 Universities’ Research Output shows the number of units obtained from research publication outputs with a 2021 publication date, submitted and evaluated in 2022. This is a historic development for a comprehensive university formed out of a merger in 2005.

“Outstanding work by colleagues all around! We are proud of the immense dedication and performance of our staff, postdoctoral fellows, students, research associates, research divisions, centres and institutes. A special thanks and gratitude to all the institutions (sponsors and funders – national, regional and international) who invest in our research endeavours; we could not have done this without them”, said Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of Johannesburg.

View a visualisation of UJ’s growth in research publications output units relative to the rest of the South African Higher Education Institution (HEI) sector.

In May 2022, UJ submitted a total of 4,555 publications authored in 2021 worth 2,817 units to the DHET for accreditation and subsidy. This represents a remarkable increase of 18.8% compared to the previous year (the average annual increase over the last 3 years being 8.4). Journal articles, books and chapters continue to comprise an increasing component of UJ research output, while conference proceedings comprise a declining percentage of the overall submission. Over 96% of the journal articles submitted were listed on international journal indexes, with 78% being indexed in the prestigious Scopus international publication and citation database. What is even more pleasing is that the per capita research publications output for UJ is also increasing and is among the top three in the country for 2021 publications.

“These numbers reflect the excellence, quality and impact of the work by our staff and students, as is also evidenced by the outcomes of various global rankings. I am particularly grateful that the UJ research community aligned their work with the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and that this growth could occur during this difficult period”, says Professor Saurabh Sinha, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Internationalisation.

In addition to increasing the quantity of its research, UJ’s significant achievements in the various global rankings provide international acknowledgement and affirmation of the quality of its research in a number of disciplines over the last two years. Ranking methodologies include a significant component of research and how such research attains citation and other impact. “We are very proud of this achievement and look forward to seeing even more outputs of high-quality from our scholars in future, particularly outputs emanating from research that addresses the various United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and contributes to policy development”, says Professor Sinha.

Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UJ added that: “UJ was recognised highly by Times Higher Education (THE) in their 2022 Impact Rankings, for its significant contribution to societal impact, sustainability and innovation, through the SDGs. In its third showing in the overall impact ranking, UJ ranked among the top 70 universities in the world, number one in South Africa, and number two on the African continent.

“We are very proud of this achievement and excited to see even more outputs from our scholars in the near future. The University will continue to support and strengthen research around Global Excellence and Stature (GES), the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), but this time, with an even greater emphasis on research for societal impact, thus, GES 4.0 – for Societal Impact, added Professor Mpedi.

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