The ‘Report on the evaluation of the 2018 Universities’ Research Output’ released by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) towards the end of April 2020 reveals that the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria (UP) had produced the highest number of accredited research outputs, including articles, books and chapters in books, among the law schools/ faculties at South African public universities in 2018. The 2018 DHET report is the most recent evaluation of the research outputs of South African public higher education institutions.
2018 Research Publications by Institution per Classification of Educational Subject Matter: Law
From the table above, it appears that UP Law’s research output for 2018 stood at 148.15 units. This is by some margin the biggest number among South African law schools and faculties. UNISA, a law school with considerably more permanent staff member than UP Law, is the only other university that had more than 100 units (107.6 units). After that, the highest numbers come from UJ (97.62 units) and from UCT (94.95 units).
Based on 69 permanent staff members in employment in the UP Law Faculty during 2018, these statistics translates to 2.15 publication units per capita. This is higher than the UP average, which stood at 1.7 units per capita. The Law Faculty per capita research output is all the more remarkable if it is taken into account that the overall UP figure of 1.7 was the highest in the country.
As a whole, UP published a total of 2 054.55 units, 267 books and book chapter units, 85 conference proceedings units and 1 703 journal units, which placed it in the joint top spot with the University of KwaZulu-Natal, with each of these universities contributing 10.8% of published research papers produced by South African public higher education institutions in 2018.
Doctoral degrees per doctorate staff
The Report also analyses the ratio of doctoral graduates to permanent staff members with doctorates by university (but not by discipline). In this category, UP as a whole managed a ratio of 0.51, which places it in third position after UFS (0.78) and UKZN (0.67). In 2018 the Faculty of Law conferred 29 doctorates degrees in law.
With 50 permanent staff members holding doctorates and 29 doctoral graduates in the Faculty of Law during 2018, the proportion of doctoral graduates per permanent doctorated staff member in the Faculty was 0.58. This is higher than the UP average, which at 0.51 was the third overall highest ratio of all universities.
Top 100 in Africa
The Faculty of Law at UP has ranked in the Top 100 of the World University Rankings 2020 by subject: Law (THE ranking) for the third time, a feat unequalled in South Africa and Africa. THE ranked UP Law 92nd in 2018, 76th in 2019 and 90th in 2020.
In his reaction to this news, Professor Boraine, former dean of the Faculty of Law, said that he was ‘immensely proud of the research output of the Faculty, which could only have been achieved by passionate, loyal and committed academics. It further underscores the Faculty’s endeavour to realise one of the core strategies of the UP Strategic Plan 2025, i.e. the foregrounding of research, and to be the top research intensive law faculty in Africa. It adds indispensable value to undergraduate and postgraduate education, and to society.’
Current Dean Elsabe Schoeman congratulated the Faculty’s members on this remarkable achievement, and said ‘that this benchmark is something to work towards and improve on in the coming years. We need to sustain this thirst for discovery whilst we simultaneously develop and evolve to the benefit of our country and the world.’