Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Scientific output of Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan countries

by Salman Hameed

This week's Nature focuses on science in Africa - in particular on sub-Saharan Africa. It is quite clear from the stats that South Africa is competing at in a different league. However, it is interesting to see Nigeria's publications stand out. In fact, I did not know that Nigerian president has a PhD in zoology, and appears to be a strong supporter of science.

At the same time its problems are so familiar to much of the developing world: lack of good equipment, poor science education and hence qualified scientists, lack of appreciation of how science can help the country. I have been thinking about this a bit as I was just in Doha, where they are building sophisticated lab facilities and are importing universities from the US. Will that solve some of these problems? May be. But I still don't know about the presence of a scientific culture there. I will have a separate post on that later.

But back to science in Africa. Here is the plot that shows the number of publications per country (click on the map to enlarge it). Also, note that Nigeria goes down when you look at the number of researchers per million inhabitants. In any case, here is a fascinating glimpse of scientific output of sub-Saharan countries. If you have access to Nature, you can read the full article here.



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