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UJ retains its position as the highest producer of research outputs in SA

For the second year running, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has been ranked as the leading producer of accredited research outputs in South Africa. This is according to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)’s sector Report on the Evaluation of the 2022 Universities’ Research Outputs, released on Wednesday, 6 March 2024.

The report shows that with a total of 3143.7 units, UJ remains the highest producer of accredited research outputs in the country. This is the second consecutive year that the University has scored the highest research outputs, following its achievement last year. Furthermore, UJ received nearly 13% of the overall share of the sector units – the highest share for a single institution to date. The Units awarded are in terms of publications produced in 2022 and evaluated by the DHET in 2023, and include journal articles, scholarly books and book chapters, as well as published conference proceedings.

“What is also very important to highlight is that UJ is not only ahead in the number of outputs produced, but that at 2.37, our per capita research publications output is double the sector average of 1.19 and currently the highest in the country”, says Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi, UJ Vice-Chancellor and Principal. Per capita output reflects “the total number of publications by a university divided by the headcount of permanently employed instructional and research staff”.

Click to view Benchmarking UJ’s Research Publications Output relative to the rest of the South African Higher Education Institution (HEI) sector.

Factors Driving Growth

This significant growth in research outputs can be attributed to several important factors, including the increase in publications by postgraduate students at Master’s and Doctoral levels, as well as staff at various academic ranks. In the 2023 reporting year, for example, 15% of the units submitted were from outputs co-authored with postgraduate students. “This aligns with our University’s strategies on the development of the next generation of academics, and ensures that UJ continues to excel well into the future”, says Prof Sarah Gravett, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Internationalisation, UJ.

International Recognition

Academic staff below the full professor level, particularly associate professors, contributed the highest number of units compared to other academic ranks and saw a 20% increase in units submitted compared to the 2022 reporting year. In May 2023, UJ submitted 3241 units for publications authored in 2022 to the DHET for accreditation and subsidy. The submission represents an overall increase of 15% compared to the previous year with units submitted for journal articles increasing from 2,052 to 2,436 (19% increase), conference proceedings from 240 to 283 (18% increase), while books & chapters decreased slightly from 525 to 522 (less than 1% decrease). Ninety-seven (97%) percent of the journal articles submitted are indexed on international journal indexes with over 80% of the publications featuring on the prestigious Scopus and/or Web of Science publication and citation indexes.

“I want to congratulate all UJ students and staff who made this achievement possible. This includes our postdoctoral fellows, research associates, and staff within support divisions. We are also grateful to our partners and collaborators – including sponsors and funders without whom we would not be able to achieve such great work”, says Prof Mpedi.

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