A bibliometric study on HIV/AIDS literature in South Africa from 1982-2002.
Mitha, Sara Bibi.
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The pandemic of HIV/AIDS has been felt by nations throughout the world. It is a well-known fact that the AIDS epidemic is catastrophic in sub Saharan Africa, which heads the list of the most affected regions. As the epidemic imposes a strain on the already limited resources, a better understanding of the disease is continuously being sought out. This understanding is enhanced with better information dissemination. The present research aims to assist the information requirements of HIV/AIDS researchers in the country through a bibliometric study. The present study comprised an investigation of the patterns of authorship and publications of academic institutions in the sciences, medical institutions and affiliated organizations in South Africa, focusing on HIV/AIDS literature for the two decade period, 1982-2002. Published literature in the sciences and medicine from three internationally recognised databases were used for the assessment. They were: AIDSearch, lSI Science Citation Index Expanded and MEDLINE (OVID). A total of 2 281 documents formed the basis for the assessment. The results of the study are presented, as are their consequences for researchers and policy makers. Some recommendations are provided for the developers and designers of databases. The results of the study demonstrate exponential growth in the literature as might be expected. Because of the multidisciplinary nature of the disease, research is scattered in a variety of discipline-based journals. Researchers publish mainly in journals and the South African Medical Journal is the most productive in the field of HIV/AIDS. Collaboration in research on the subject is evident. The results also demonstrate that South African researchers are fast becoming internationally recognized in the field of HIV/AIDS research. The Medical Research Council emerged as the leader in South Africa's research efforts on HIV/AIDS. Of the academic institutions, the University of the Witwatersrand is the most productive institution, followed by the University of Natal.
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