Academic journal article Journal of Research Administration

Combating Inhibitors of Quality Research Outputs at the University of Cape Town

Academic journal article Journal of Research Administration

Combating Inhibitors of Quality Research Outputs at the University of Cape Town

Article excerpt

Introduction

This paper examines the debates about academic scholars and their ability to produce quality research outputs. One can argue that quality research outputs are the 'number of articles per [academic scholar] that have appeared in a specific period of time in a set of prestigious journals' (Hadjinicola & Soteriou, 2006, p. 3), or research published in 'professional journals and in conference proceedings, writing a book or chapter, gathering and analyzing original evidence, working with post-graduate students on dissertations and ... projects' (Lertputtarak, 2008, p. 19), activities otherwise known as the pursuit of the academic mission. In South Africa, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has identified quality research outputs to be those that appear in a set of prestigious journals, or, certain recognized research publications that qualify for subsidy. According to the DHET list, 'for purposes of subsidy, only DHET-accredited journals are recognised for subsidy' (University of Cape Town Publication count overview, 2012). These encompass the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) that includes Arts and Humanities Citation Index; Science Citation Index Expanded; and Social Sciences Citation Index. Other accredited lists are the approved South African journals and the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) (University of Cape Town Publication count overview, 2012). It is expected that 'every academic publish at least 1.25 articles annually in journals' that the South African Department of Education has accredited (Schulze, 2008, p. 644).

The paper explores whether it is possible for academic scholars to produce quality research outputs in their respective domains, consistently and frequently, despite obstacles that impede scholars to do so. The rationale for the examination stems from the fact that in the academic community, much of a scholar's reputation depends on the publication of research in journal articles and books. Quality published research outputs enhance a scholar's status and serve as an important factor in situating where a scholars employment will be within the hierarchy of his or her discipline (Eliason, 2008, p. 51), hence an examination of the climate of research output is timely and useful.

In order to explore whether it is possible for academic scholars to produce quality research outputs, the paper first examines the reasons for engaging in the academic enterprise in the first place. Secondly, the paper exposes the obstacles that inhibit the production of quality research outputs. Finally, the paper exposes measures used in the Emerging Researchers' Programme (ERP) of the University of Cape Town to overcome obstacles to the production of quality research outputs.

Why Write A Paper?

Among the reasons scholars engage in academic pursuits is to claim the moral right of an academic. This is to safeguard the authors 'personality' that encompasses the right of attribution of authorship, the right of integrity of authorship and the right against false attribution of authorship. The right of attribution of authorship is to avoid misattribution of one's work. The right of integrity of authorship and the right against false attribution of authorship of a work are rights of an academic to object to the 'intentional distortion, mutilation, or other modification of a work if [the] distortion is likely to harm the author's reputation, and prevents the destruction of any work of recognized stature' (Rosenblatt, 1998), Indeed, within the scope of moral right, an academic is allowed to take certain measures to preserve the integrity of his or her work (Zemer, 2007, p. 37).

Another reason for producing quality academic research outputs is to confer personal benefit. It increases the chances of a salary increase or a promotion. Hadjinicola & Soteriou (2006, p. 1) report that research productivity has a momentous impact on promotions and salary raises. …

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