Veterinary science in South Africa: a bibliometric analysis in context

Veterinary research in South Africa effectively commenced 125 years ago in 1896, when the government of the Zuid-Afrikaanse Republiek sanctioned the building of a small laboratory at Daspoort to the north of Pretoria. The main reason for the establishment of the laboratory was the apocalyptic virus-borne disease, Rinderspest, that decimated half the livestock and even more wildlife in Southern Africa. The Daspoort laboratory was the predecessor of the world-famous Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute which was built in 1907. It was the extravagant headquarters from where the state bacteriologist, the Swiss-born veterinarian, Sir Arnold Theiler and his colleagues, conducted research on virtually every livestock disease in South Africa and its neighbouring countries. In 1920 the first daughter institution of the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute was founded – a veterinary faculty for the training of veterinarians. This was done in association with the then Transvaal University College (later the University of Pretoria). The South African Veterinary Association was instituted in the same year and in 1933 the South African Veterinary Council was inaugurated through an act of parliament.

The aim of the study is to conduct a bibliometric analysis of veterinary research in South Africa. The bibliometric analysis will be done with reference to the pertinent historic events and key role players over the past century and more. An important contribution of this study is the codification of the extended meta data of the two local scientific journals: the Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research and the Journal of the South African Veterinary Association, established in 1903 and 1927 respectively.

Supervisor: Prof. Johann Mouton