View this email in your browser.


Looking back at 2021


This has been another busy and productive year for our journal.  I personally was lucky enough to join a very welcoming and productive team in January 2021, and it has been an honour and a pleasure to work with excellent associate editors and mentees, and especially with Dr Linda Fick, Nadia Grobler, and with Henriette Wagener, who joined us later in the year, handling our publicity and social media portfolio.

It has been a pleasure for me to read and learn so much from all our contributors and reviewers, and across a wide variety of topics, and I am very pleased that debate about science and higher education is alive and well.  This was the second year of the COVID pandemic and this has affected us all – we send our condolences to those who have lost friends and family, and wish speedy and full recovery to those who are currently ill.  The challenges of the pandemic continue, and science around the pandemic will continue to feature prominently in our pages, as it has done thus far.  In this regard, we should like to remind readers of the January 31 deadline for submissions for our special issue on COVID in our context.

This was the year of POPIA, and as a journal we have been fortunate to host important documentation on POPIA, as well as a page dedicated to debates around it.  We anticipate closing the dedicated POPIA comments page early in 2022, but as with all other topics we continue to encourage you to submit articles and commentaries to us.  We believe in keeping debates alive, and see it as part of our work to provide a platform for robust contestation and discussion.

It is a challenge to maintain a journal so interdisciplinary in nature, and to do justice to the wide range of methods, approaches and ideas, that constitute the range of research engagement in South Africa and Africa.  It is not possible for any editor-in-chief to be on top of all developments in all fields; I should like to thank our stalwart associate editors and their mentees for the crucial input they give to the journal.  All journals, ultimately, depend on the quality of work submitted to them and on the quality of peer review, so apart from thanks to our in-house team, great kudos to all who submit and review for us.  Thank you all.

I wish you and yours all a peaceful and healthy year-end and time of festivities for those who celebrate.  And please continue to support and engage with us as you have done.  This journal is nothing without its readers, contributors and reviewers – we are grateful to you all.

Leslie Swartz


Popular research reads in 2021


Rates and patterns of habitat loss across South Africa’s vegetation biomes


Dental caries in South African fossil hominins


Foliar fungi of the enigmatic desert plant Welwitschia mirabilis show little adaptation to their unique host plant


COVID-19 amplifies urban inequalities


Impacts of soil carbon on hydrological responses – a sensitivity study of scenarios across diverse climatic zones in South Africa


One hominin taxon or two at Malapa Cave? Implications for the origins of Homo


Development and analysis of a long-term soil moisture data set in three different agroclimatic zones of South Africa


Implications of new AMS dates for the Khami Period in the Mapungubwe Landscape


Gold mining’s toxic legacy: Pollutant transport and accumulation in the Klip River catchment, Johannesburg


Estimating lightning NOx production over South Africa


Temperature and relative humidity trends in the northernmost region of South Africa, 1950–2016


The polyphagous shot hole borer beetle: Current status of a perfect invader in South Africa



2021 article with the highest attention score



Coelacanth discoveries in Madagascar, with recommendations on research and conservation


Discussion series in 2021


The Discussion Series was launched in May 2021 with the publication of a Discussion Document on a Code of Conduct for Research to promote understanding and compliance with South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act No. 4 of 2013 (POPIA) within the research community in South Africa. Contributions to this first Discussion Series, Discussions on POPIA, can be read here.


Workshops and webinars in 2021


Workshop: Writing for a scholarly journal
An interactive workshop hosted by the South African Journal of Science aimed at postgraduate students and early career researchers with little or no experience in writing and publishing journal articles. Available here.


Webinar: How do we know if and when science makes a difference?
Authors of research published in the South African Journal of Science, ASSAf’s flagship journal, discuss how research in their respective fields makes a difference to society. Available here.


Webinar: Behind the scenes of peer review
Insight into the peer review process from the perspective of various role players involved in the South African Journal of Science. Available here.


Reviewers in 2021


We would like to take a moment to thank all our 2021 reviewers. We appreciate the time of those who completed peer reviews for us.


Reviewer list


Feedback from our authors in 2021 




Editorial team | Mentorship programme | SAJS in the news | Submit



About the SAJS
To publish and promote the widest diversity of excellent South African research for the local and global academic community and inform policymakers and the public.Mission
The South African Journal of Science is an open access, multidisciplinary journal published bimonthly by the Academy of Science of South Africa. Its objective is to promote the visibility and impact of South African and African research by publishing high-quality original research from Africa or on African-relevant issues that will be of interest to readers in any discipline and for the benefit of scholars, educators, the general public and policymakers. It also provides a forum for discussion of news and developments in research and higher education.


Subscribe to our mailing list




Nadia Grobler
Online Publishing Systems Administrator