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Forging global links to support South African research

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There is still a tendency among some academics in Europe and the United States to have a colonial, “extractive approach to Africa”, says Stella Nkomo, deputy dean for research and postgraduate studies in the faculty of economic and management sciences at the University of Pretoria. She is often approached by foreign academics seeking researchers merely to collect data for research projects initiated outside South Africa.

In this audio interview, Nkomo talks about the importance of equitable global research collaborations to increase the number of desperately needed doctoral researchers in South Africa, explaining how her university attracts researchers from across the world to work in partnership with it.

Nkomo also warns of the danger of universities just seeking to improve rankings based on a flawed citation system, where the success of research is measured by the number of citations in journals published in the global North. She urges universities to instead focus on research related to local issues, arguing that they will gain international recognition for this expertise.

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