• Publication outperformance among global South researchers: An analysis of individual-level and publication-level predictors of positive deviance

      Albanna, Basma; orcid: 0000-0002-6884-1610; email: basma.albanna@manchester.ac.uk; Handl, Julia; Heeks, Richard (Springer International Publishing, 2021-09-13)
      Abstract: Research and development are central to economic growth, and a key challenge for countries of the global South is that their research performance lags behind that of the global North. Yet, among Southern researchers, a few significantly outperform their peers and can be styled research “positive deviants” (PDs). In this paper we ask: who are those PDs, what are their characteristics and how are they able to overcome some of the challenges facing researchers in the global South? We examined a sample of 203 information systems researchers in Egypt who were classified into PDs and non-PDs (NPDs) through an analysis of their publication and citation data. Based on six citation metrics, we were able to identify and group 26 PDs. We then analysed their attributes, attitudes, practices, and publications using a mixed-methods approach involving interviews, a survey and analysis of publication-related datasets. Two predictive models were developed using partial least squares regression; the first predicted if a researcher is a PD or not using individual-level predictors and the second predicted if a paper is a paper of a PD or not using publication-level predictors. PDs represented 13% of the researchers but produced about half of all publications, and had almost double the citations of the overall NPD group. At the individual level, there were significant differences between both groups with regard to research collaborations, capacity development, and research directions. At the publication level, there were differences relating to the topics pursued, publication outlets targeted, and paper features such as length of abstract and number of authors.