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Measuring multidisciplinary health research at South African universities: a comparative analysis based on co-authorships and journal subject categories

Tracy Klarenbeek () and Nelius Boshoff ()
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Tracy Klarenbeek: Stellenbosch University
Nelius Boshoff: Stellenbosch University

Scientometrics, 2018, vol. 116, issue 3, 1461-1485

Abstract: Abstract This study developed a comparative bibliometric profile of multidisciplinary health research at South African universities over a 30-year period (1984–2013), based on two measures of multidisciplinarity. The first measure used article co-authorship as a proxy for collaboration between authors with health and non-health addresses, and the second measure focussed on articles published in journals with both health and non-health subject categories. The article overlap between the two measures was 25%, meaning that one measure would exclude 75% of articles identified by the other. Both showed an increase in the percentage contribution of multidisciplinary health research to health research over time, and both generated similar profiles of the national institutions that contribute to multidisciplinary health research. Both measures also provided evidence of a sustained increase in the percentage international co-authorship in health research although the second measure gave a markedly lower estimate of the percentage international co-authorship. These preliminary results would need to be followed up with more advanced bibliometric approaches, and possibly qualitative analyses to investigate the degree of integration between disciplines, pointing to interdisciplinary or even transdisciplinary health research.

Keywords: Bibliometrics; Co-authorship; Collaboration; Health Research; Interdisciplinary; Multidisciplinary; Transdisciplinary (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:116:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-018-2813-8