Comparative Analysis of Research Output of Federal Universities in Southern Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Research is human activity based on intellectual application in the investigation of matter. The aim of research is discovering and development of methods and systems for advancement of human knowledge. This will bring about industrial innovation and entrepreneurship within Nigerian industries. The outcome and the extent of the functions of the academics in creating new knowledge and innovation are forms of research output. Research output is a means by which academics contribute their own knowledge to the existing body of knowledge. This can be in form of journal articles, technical reports, books, chapters in a book, supervision and training of students etc. The more research outcome are published in all format the probability of availability and access to information is assured.

Research output in this study is the quantity of research in terms of publication output and supervision of students that an academic is able to carry out within a defined period. Academics place emphasis on research and publication, not only because it is presumed that research enriches teaching and the learning process, contributing to the body of knowledge, but also because it is a major determinant of institutional prestige (Ochai and Nwafor, as cited in Alemna, 1998). The issue of research output is of benefit to every nation. This is due to the fact that the wealth and economic progress of the nation depends on the extent of research carried out in that country.

Due to this trend, there are various ways of bibliometric studies involving research output. Hertzel (2003) opined that bibliometric analysis is a productivity count which is descriptive and involves countries, institutions, time periods and disciplines or subjects while literature usage count which is evaluative involves reference and citation. In the context of this study, bibliometric analysis is a method, which the researcher used to find out the extent of research output of federal universities in southern Nigeria using academics in science and engineering faculties. The analysis is in terms of journal articles and supervision of postgraduate students. The quantity of research could be observed according to Naim and Oliviastro (1994) and Jacobs (1998) by counting the number of books published and papers produced over a period. Another method of evaluating scientist productivity is by counting the number of postgraduate students that he or she attracts to research under him or her. Arenas and Valles (2000) said that in Mexico the criteria for awarding distinction of National Research takes into account scientific research impact and training of young researchers. Another way is citation analysis, which involves counting the number of citation, related to scientists work. This involves using ISI database, Cruz (2008) emphasized that international surveys of universities, such as the Times Higher Education Supplement, World University Ranking 2006, have taken ISI data as crucial determinants of quality of faculties, universities and countries. But scientists from developing countries publish in the national and local journals. That is why Russel and Galina (1998) stated that in developing countries the problem of impart analysis using citation is further complicated by the fact that applied research of a local nature is rarely cited even when published in the mainstream journals. There is also the problem of language, ISI index contains only articles written in international journals in English. Due to the fact that there is no data base in Nigeria to carry out such studies, researchers who have done studies in research output used questionnaire. Popoola (2002) used a self-developed questionnaire to find out the research output of social scientists in Nigerian Universities. The number of publications produced in a given period measured the research output of the respondents. To determine the research output of the respondents, they were asked to state the number of their publications that appeared in referred works in the last three years by types of publication. …