Cultural biases in African bibliometrics

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Gender biases in science have been extensively documented : in 2013, Vincent Larivière, Chaoqun Ni, Yves Gingras, Blaise Cronin& Cassidy R. Sugimoto used bibliometrics so measure the global gender disparities in science.

Cultural biases in science are more complex to evaluate, but are the object of ongoing research. Databases such as PubMed, Elsevier SCOPUS or Thomson Web of Science can deliver interesting insights. For example, the enormous growth in China’s scientific production, combined with biases in how Chinese researchers collaborate internationally, creates major distortions in academic rankings worldwide.

Are cultural biases dragging down science in Africa?

Currently, African science exists mainly through the diasporas. Yet, with Africa representing 50% of the World’s growth in population by 2050, the potential in human resources is enormous, if Africa can get equal access to health, education as well as to the global information space.

Washington think-tank ITIF, with its study ‘The Demographics of Innovation in the United States‘, used tangible evidence from US patents to show how valuable migrants are to the innovation economy of the United-States.

Can Africa move from brain drain to brain gain ? Initiatives have been launched to help Africa reach its potential in science and technology, among which:

  • AIMS | Building Science in Africa (Next Einstein)
  • PEI | Planet Earth Institute
  • Med in Africa

Yvonne Mburu is a scientist from Kenya and founder of Med in Africa. She wants to create a global network of African scientists and health professionals to tackle the cultural biases that affect the visibility of African science. Watch Yvonne’s interview on TV5 World Africa.

Credits : Africa Food Security Research [CC], TV5 Monde Afrique

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NamSor™ Applied Onomastics is a European vendor of sociolinguistics software (NamSor sorts names). NamSor mission is to help understand international flows of money, ideas and people.
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