The study is done against the background of an astonishing increase in total publication output by the higher education sector in South Africa since 2005. (The total publications more than doubled from 7 230 units in 2005 to 16 321 in 2015).
But, whilst the quantity or volume of research output has increased significantly, concerns over the quality of these publications have increased. Concerns are aggravated by the advent of predatory journals, predatory publishers and so-called ‘high-jacked’ journals who have no concern for standard peer review and quality assurance practices: they are simply in the game of making profits out of the academic community.
This study will explore the increasing tensions between maintaining high standards of quality and ethics and the demand for quantity and growth in output, and will look at the different locations in the science system where the imperative to assure quality and ethical compliance is located: the author, the university (research office), the journal editor, reviewers, the publishers and the Department of Higher Education and Training.
Ultimately, this project will make recommendations about how the current system can be changed and strengthened to ensure that only the best and highest quality publications from South Africa are subsidised.