UP Law ranked first in DHET report for highest number of accredited research outputs

Posted on May 15, 2020

The Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria (UP) produced the highest number of accredited research outputs, including articles, books and chapters in books in 2018 compared to law schools and faculties at other South African public universities, according to the Department of Higher Education and Training’s (DHET) most recent evaluation.

The Report on the evaluation of the 2018 Universities’ Research Output released by the DHET in April 2020 is the Department’s 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


Dean of UP’s Faculty of Law Professor Elsabe Schoeman congratulated the Faculty’s members on this remarkable achievement, praising it as a benchmark to work towards and improve on in the coming years.In the category Research Publications by Institution per Classification of Educational Subject Matter: Law, UP Law’s research output for 2018 stood at 148.15 units. The University of South Africa, whose law school has considerably more permanent staff members than UP Law, is the only other university whose law school had more than 100 units (107.6 units). After that, the highest numbers come from the University of Johannesburg (97.6 units) and from the University of Cape Town (94.95 units). Based on the number of permanent staff members in employment in the UP Law Faculty during 2018, which is 69, these statistics translate to 2.15 publication units per capita. UP’s overall average of 1.7 was the highest in the country.

“We need to sustain this thirst for discovery while we simultaneously develop and evolve to the benefit of our country and the world,” said Prof Schoeman.

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 (UKZN). UP and UKZN each contributed 10.8% of published research papers produced by South African public higher education institutions in 2018.

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 the University of the Free State (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.  

The Faculty of Law at UP also ranked in the top 100 of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings by subject for the third time in 2020, a feat unequalled in South Africa and Africa. THE ranked UP Law 92nd in 2018, 76th in 2019 and 90th in 2020. 

Professor André Boraine, whose two terms as Dean of UP’s Faculty of Law ended in October 2019, said that he was immensely proud of the Faculty’s research output “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,” said Prof Boraine.

- Author UP Law

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