An Analysis of the Throughput Rate of Doctoral Students in LIS Schools in South Africa, 2005–2015

Keywords: doctoral students, library and information science, National Development Plan, South Africa


South African universities produce fewer graduates than the number specified in the National Development Plan (NDP). According to the NDP, South Africa needs more than 5 000 doctoral graduates annually, against the 1 420 produced in 2010 and 2 258 in 2014. The 2030 target is to produce more than 100 doctorates per million people per year, as the current figures are below international standards. This study employed informetric research techniques as the main method, triangulated through questionnaires administered to doctoral supervisors to examine the throughput rates of doctoral students in the field of library and information science (LIS) at public universities in South Africa between 2005 and 2015. Data were extracted from institutional repositories of universities offering LIS in South Africa, and after the relevant information (i.e. gender, race, institution, and nationality of both students and supervisors) had been obtained, the data were saved and analysed in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Key results suggest a low throughput rate of doctoral students in LIS schools. The findings further suggest that social factors such as the gender, race and nationality of doctoral students in relation to those of their supervisors have a direct impact on the completion of doctoral projects in LIS schools.