R&D productivity and collaborations in selected Nigerian universities.

xiv Siyanbola, Isola O, Hassan O, Ogundari I, Awoleye M, Adesina F, Ilori M.  2010.  R&D productivity and collaborations in selected Nigerian universities., 2010/10/20.


Research and development (R&D) is a significant component of quality higher education. This is quite understandable and appreciable because R&D, most especially in Science and Technology (S&T), has become the most enduring and effective means of improving sustainable economic growth, development and re-enforcing competitiveness in industries in a rapidly changing world. Universities are widely regarded not only as teaching establishments but also as organisations that create new knowledge and innovation through research. Many academics are of the opinion that doing research improves their teaching (Colbeck, 1998, 2002; Gamson, 1995; Stevans and Reingold, 2000; Robertson and Bond, 2001; Wenzel, 2001; Winkler, 1992a, b; Woolcock, 1997; Zamorski, 2002; in Begum, 2006). In recent times, universities often use evidence of research excellenceto employ or promote staff. The main claim of the teachers and administrators are that research activity can and does serve as an important mode of teaching and a valuable means of learning and thus research is a strong condition for teaching.R&D is one of the main thrusts of activities of western universities. The developed nations have clearly demonstrated that one of the most potent means of achieving developmental goals is effective building of capability in Research and Development. They have also demonstrated the relevance of effective collaboration to sustainable scientific and technological advancement (Boozeman and Lee, 2003). To corroborate this, Ehikhamenor (2003) opined that scientific productivity, in the form of intellectual contributions to the advancement of S&T, is a fundamental consideration in the scientific enterprise. A crucial requirement for
productivity and development in S&T is a system of communication among scientists and the dissemination of scientific information. Productive R&D is expected to lead to new product(s) development or improvement of existing product(s), new process development or improvement of existing process, patents, copyrights and publications. Scientific publication is a sign of good quality of invention and research outputs. Patents, copyrights, and funds from companies are signs that those inventions have market potentials (Carneiro, 2000; Werner and Souder, 1997; in Numprasertchai and Igel, 2005). Tangible R&D outcomes should promote the link between academia and the industry. However, many private and public organizations in Nigeria are skeptical about R&D outcomes from the universities and in many cases the needs of these organisations are not met. These invariably have further widened the gap between universities and industries (Oyebisi et al., 1996).
Many studies on research productivity and collaborations include an underlining assumption that collaborative activities increase research productivity (Duque et al., 2005). However, there is a dearth of information on the validity of this proposition in Nigeria. Are Nigerian researchers collaborating for R&D among themselves and with others outside their institutions? What factors inhibit collaboration activities of researchers? What influence do researchers’ collaborations have on their R&D productivity? These are some of the pertinent questions addressed in this study. For the survey, 457 copies of questionnaire were randomly distributed among lecturers. 274 of these were returned and found useful (60% response rate). The field respondents were from Faculties of Agriculture (30.8%), Science (38.8%) and Engineering/Technology (30.4%). In assessing R&D productivity of researchers we adopt the partial productivity approach. Researchers’ publications were used as output and the number of years spent to produce the publications as input (in this study 5 years, (2004 – 2008)). The normal count (of output), which is the most frequently used approach, is adopted. The outcome of the study indicated a positive relationship between R&D productivity and collaboration. This is in agreement with some previous studies on the subject of research productivity and collaboration (Lee and Bozeman, 2005; Landry et al., 1996; Harman, 1999; in Rijnsoever et al., 2008, Walsh and Maloney, 2003; in Duque et. al., (2005)