RESEARCH FOCUS AND TRENDS IN NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN GHANA: A BIBLIOMETRIC STUDY BASED ON THE INIS DATABASE.

Author:Ama Agyeman, Elizabeth
Position:Report
 
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  1. Introduction

    Fifty years ago, in November 1964, the foundation stone for the Ghana Nuclear Reactor Project was laid by Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of the Republic of Ghana. Prior to this historic event, the law establishing the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) was promulgated in 1963 (Act 204) with the mandate to promote, develop and utilise the peaceful application of nuclear techniques for the social, economic, scientific and technological progress of Ghana. It is significant to note the increase in the Country's nuclear research and development activities with the passage of time. Five nuclear related research institutes currently operating under the GAEC are the National Nuclear Research Institute; the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute; the Radiation Protection Institute; the Radiological and Medical Sciences Research Institute and the Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute. Moreover in 2006, the GAEC in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the University of Ghana established the Graduate School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences. The Country's public universities have also incorporated nuclear science and technology into their academic programmes. In operation are several nuclear facilities, the major ones being the GHARR1 Research Reactor, the Gamma Irradiation Facility, and two Radiotherapy Centres.

    It has been fifty long years since the introduction of nuclear science and technology in Ghana Many resources; both material and human have been channeled into this area by the government. Moreover, Ghana has received substantial support from the International Atomic Energy Agency through its technical cooperation programme for less-developed countries, especially in the areas of agriculture; human health; safety; water and environment; education and industry. Therefore, it is appropriate at this stage, to take stock of the Country's nuclear science and technology research output in terms of scientific publications. This is the first time that such a study is being conducted in the nuclear sector in Ghana. The results will contribute to the management of research in nuclear science and technology and also serve as a basis for further bibliometric studies in nuclear science and technology in Ghana and other parts of Africa.

  2. Literature Review

    There are several quantifiable scientific research activities, the most common being the number of publications, which may be used as a measure of research output (Thomson Reuters, 2008). Okubo (1997), Schubert and Telcs (1986) and others, also share the view that the study of the publication output in any field is a good indicator of the state of research in that field. This is particularly true for African countries that do not have proper systems for monitoring science and technology (Pouris and Pouris (2004).

    Bibliometrics, also known as scientometrics is a research technique in library and information science that applies quantitative analysis and statistics to describe publication patterns in any field of knowledge. It is usually used to assess national research profiles, regional patterns of research and collaboration within research groups (Thanuskodi 2010). Thomson Reuters (2008) recommend that results of such studies can be used by librarians to confirm the research performance of their organizations and also identify key journals and gaps in the library collection. Public relations practitioners may find tangible figures about research results handy in their reportage. Research administrators may also find results of such studies useful in evaluating research performance, annual reporting, and allocation of funds as well as in making staffing decisions. Moreover, subject specialists and researchers can also use bibliometrics to analyse their own subject fields and also decide on where to publish.

    A lot of bibliometric studies have been conducted in science and technology and of relevance to this study are previous bibliometric studies that used the INIS Database as a data source. Some of the studies have been on specific subject fields at the global level, others have also analysed the literature of specific countries. Examples of bibliographic studies on specific subjects in nuclear science and technology at the global level are condensed matter physics and fusion research and technology (Hillebrand, 1999a-b); neutron activation analysis (Sagar, Kademani and Kumar, 2009); fast breeder power reactors (Marinkovic, 2001) research reactors (Marinkovic, 2002); cobalt 60 (Sagar, Kademani, Garg & Kumar, 2010); radioisotopes (Sagar et al, 2012); radioactive waste management (Kademani et al., 2013); Chernobyl accident (Negeri 2005); Radiology and Nuclear medicine (Zeraatkar, 2013); fuel cell research (Girap et al., 2011) and nuclear power generation (Venkatesan and Thanuskodi, 2014).

    Directly related to the present study are bibliometric studies of the nuclear literature of specific countries, which unfortunately are limited. In a major work, Kademani et al. (2006) investigated the growth and development of nuclear science and technology research in India based on their publication output from 1970 to 2002 with the INIS Database as a data source. They observed a high level of local and international collaboration in India and also noted that the main channel of communicating research results was peer reviewed journals and that over 60% of the Indian records in the INIS Database were journal articles

    In Mexico, Garrido (2007) reviewed the nuclear research output in terms of publications using 920 nuclear science papers published between 1986 and 1994. Unlike the aforementioned study in India that used data from the INIS Database only, this study combined bibliographic references from the INIS Database as well as proceedings and annual reports listed elsewhere. The papers were analysed by subject, institutions, authors, co-authorship, publication year, publishing journals, geographic origin and language of publication.

    Using the survey and citation analysis method, Akbari and Bozorgi (2009) analysed Iranian records in the INIS Database from 2002 to 2006. They compared the citation behavior of the authors, and also determined the core journals used for publishing research findings. The results revealed that, there were 4,351 citations in 300 articles with an average of 14.5 citations per article. The main subject area was nuclear medicine and radiology. Three key journals, namely, "Physics Review", "Physics Review Letters" and "Physica" were identified.

    More recently, Davarpanah (2012) undertook a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the status of nuclear science and technology in Iran. Whereas the studies mentioned above used the INIS Database as a data source, this study was based on data obtained from the Science Citation Index Expanded from 1990 to 2010. He observed the exponential growth of Iranian nuclear literature and the strong emphasis on physics and chemistry. The study also revealed that academic institutions are the main source of the country's nuclear literature and that they preferred to publish in three journals, namely, Annals of Nuclear Energy, Physical Review C and Nuclear Physics A. Three types of authorship namely single author, national co-authorship, and international co-authorship identified. A significant finding of the study was that, 93% of the papers were by multiple authors and there was a high level of local and international collaboration in Iran.

    In Denmark, Van Leeuwen and Tussen (1993) did a quantitative...

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