African universities, with the exception of a few in South Africa and Egypt, have not performed well in the better-known global rankings and in some cases have not been ranked at all. In consequence, African academics and journalists have often resorted to constructing rankings by extracting data from Webometrics and UniRank. Meanwhile researchers and lecturers are under pressure to publish in international journals to improve their universities’ ranking scores.
Olumuwiya Asaolu of the University of Lagos in an article in the Conversation has noted that academic careers and institutional funding are increasingly dependent on various kinds of ranking. He reports on a survey of African researchers that reveals concerns about the emphasis on meeting Western requirements for academic research and the migration of African experts to the West. Moreover, journals, patents, internet domains, and servers are all located outside Africa.
The survey suggests that African states should promote regional and national rather than global research programmes and African nations should set their own research priorities. In addition, they should develop new methods of research evaluation. Two methods of research assessment proposed are total citation impact over a period of time and weighted author index.
The article concludes by calling for an African indexing house that would record the publications and citations of African researchers which would lead to greater productivity and development.