Every year, the list of "highlights" gets shorter. In 2017, at the launch of the National Advisory Council on Innovation’s 2016 science, technology and innovation indicators, Azar Jammine, project leader for monitoring, evaluation and indicators, and director of Econometrix, grasped at straws. "It’s not all doom and gloom," he said last Thursday. SA has, for example, a very high penetration of mobile technology: 159 mobile cellular subscriptions per 100 people, and one in two people have access to the internet. This is higher than most upper-middle income countries and more than the Southern African Development Community average. Research publications are also rising: each year academics increase SA’s research output. In 1996, they published 4,969 academic papers or research units. In 2015, that output had more than tripled to 17,246 publications. However, a recent study by Stellenbosch University researchers found that many articles had been published in so-called predatory journal...

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