Increasing the visibility of African research and researchers

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Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) launches Evidence website. CARTA was established in 2008 to support the development of a vibrant African academy able to lead world-class multidisciplinary research that impacts positively on public and population health. A collaboration jointly led by the Wits University in South Africa and the African Population and Health Research Center in Kenya, CARTA aims to rebuild and to strengthen the capacity of African universities to produce world-class researchers, research leaders, and scholars.

To this end, CARTA Evidence is a new prototype website to collate, analyse, synthesise, and increase the visibility of empirical and theoretical evidence that these African networks produce, and to facilitate its uptake. The CARTA Evidence project aims to increase the visibility of PhD students and early career researchers by publishing the work they do. The interactive platform creates a collaborative environment of African scientists working across boundaries and disciplines and enables users to search for research conducted by CARTA fellows and other public and population health researchers across sub-Saharan Africa.  Notably, CARTA Evidence technology can review over a million research papers in a few hours or days, depending on the type of the request. The application of such artificial intelligence (AI) mitigates human error in reviewing papers manually, and reduces the time involved.

“I am excited by the prospects of using Artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the efficiency of research capacity building, conducting research, generating new knowledge and innovation to address public health challenges in Africa,” says Jude Igumbor, Associate Professor in the School of Public Health who, along with his team in the Wits School of Public Health and the CARTA Secretariat collaborated to bring CARTA Evidence to fruition.

CARTA Evidence hosts five main features:

  • Bibliometric Dashboard – designed to demonstrate the impact and content of research done by CARTA fellows. The page has filters and search boxes to show trends and patterns between and within groups over time.
  • Publications feature, which presents a list of publications by CARTA fellows, making it easy to review research. The tab uses keywords and filters, which enable effective searches for documents, access articles on various subjects and a description of data and design used in the studies.
  • Abstract Summaries page facilitates rapid research evidence review by generating auto-summaries of research articles
  • Impact Search-Africa curates public and population health research articles to improve access to evidence and data in Africa. The page allows for searches for high impact articles, data, and scientists in sub-Saharan Africa, by number of citations.
  • Policy briefs  page has a growing list of short articles and policy briefs on priority public health issues in Africa, including an article on making the most of doctoral students in COVID-19 response.

By The University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, Johannesburg