Bibliometric Coloniality in South Africa: Critical Review of the Indexes of Accredited Journals




coloniality, epistemic decolonisation, higher education, research, South Africa, bibliometric coloniality, neoliberalism, decoloniality


Bibliometric coloniality refers to the system of domination of global academic publishing by bibliometric indexes based in the Global North, which serve as gatekeepers of academic relevance, credibility, and quality. These indexes are dominated by journals from Europe and North America. Due to bibliometric coloniality, scholarly platforms and academic research from the African continent and much of the Global South are largely invisible on the global stage. In this article, we analyse the geographic coverage of five international indexes that are part of the Department of Higher Education and Training’s (DHET) lists of accredited journals in South Africa, and unpack systemic and structural factors behind the DHET’s choices. Our analysis shows that the DHET’s lists of accredited journals propagate and value academic journals based in the Global North as credible platforms for dissemination of knowledge, while erasing the African continent and Global South. This way, the DHET is directly reinforcing global bibliometric coloniality and contributing to the maintenance of Euro-American epistemic hegemony. We argue that South Africa, as Africa’s top producer of scholarly output, should lead the process of dismantling bibliometric coloniality and promoting African knowledge platforms. Working closely with other African countries and the African Union on the creation of an African scholarly index would be the first step in this process. However, neoliberalisation of higher education and the lack of political will to tackle coloniality of knowledge are preventing this from happening.


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How to Cite

Heleta, Savo, and Pedro Mzileni. 2024. “Bibliometric Coloniality in South Africa: Critical Review of the Indexes of Accredited Journals”. Education As Change 28 (July):26 pages.



Received 2024-02-13
Accepted 2024-05-24
Published 2024-07-06