How to consummate the Research-circle of Completeness in South Africa (7): Part 1

Title: How to consummate the Research-circle of Completeness in South Africa (7): Part1
Gabriel P Louw
Extraordinary Professor, Focus Area Social Transformation, Faculty of Humanities, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa (Author and Researcher: Healthcare, Higher Education, History and Politics).
Corresponding Author:
Prof. Dr GP Louw; MA (UNISA), PhD (PUCHE), DPhil (PUCHE), PhD (NWU)
Keywords: Circle, completeness, consummate, finish, full-circle, incompleteness, research.
Ensovoort, volume 42 (2021), number 5: 1


When an article’s title reads: “How to consummate the Research-circle of Completeness in South Africa”, reader needs to be introduced to the meanings of words like consummate, circle, full-circle, research, completeness and incompleteness as used in the context of this article. For the explanation of the meanings and intentions of these five terms that form the core of the research discussions of this article, various definitions and descriptions by dictionaries are offered.1-14
The word research for instance, is defined as: “A careful study that is done to find and report new knowledge about something”; “…the activity of getting information about a subject”; “…research encompasses pure and strategic basic research, applied research and experimental development”, and: “The creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings.”1-3 
The various descriptions of circle read: “A circle is a shape consisting of a curved line completely surrounding an area”, and: “…it represents the notions of totality, wholeness, original perfection, the Self, the infinite, eternity, timelessness, all cyclic movement”.4-6 Hereto the full circle is reflected as: “… series of developments that lead back to the original source, position, or situation or to complete reversal of the original position”.7-8
The  definitions and the descriptions of the word completeness read as follows: “… means the state or condition of having all the necessary or appropriate parts”; “…state of being complete and entire”; “…having everything that is needed” and: “…the quality of being whole or perfect and having nothing missing”.9-10 (To a certain extent there are many similarities to be read in the two definitions completeness and circle, but for this research the emphasis for circle is that of a group activity reflecting the existence of something concrete, while for completeness the emphasis is focused on the execution of a whole research project).
Opposite to completeness stands the word “incompleteness”, reflecting the following meaning: “…not complete, lacking some parts”, and: “…the fact or state of not having some parts, or of not being finished”.11
Here consummate means to: “… finish or complete an action or deal”; “…to complete or perfect, and: “… to bring something to completion”. The verb consummate can be seen as the key-word in the title, describing the successful action to link together the various shackles of the chain to make it a complete or unbroken circle. This confirms that every shackle of the chain is an absolute and essential part of the locked (unbroken) circle, as well as that in the locked chain (circle) each one of the shackles is utilised to the maximum.12-14
In the research of the six previous articles of this series much emphasis was placed on the role and importance of the accredited-journal article, the article-thesis and the traditional thesis in our present-day research culture and environment, leaving the uninformed novice and bystander with the idea that these three entities are the only components/ research agents that represent the notions of totality and wholeness in the research culture and environment. This cognition creates the idea that the presence of the aforementioned three entities in our research culture are timeless and that the three elements/agents function as an absolute, closed circle that alone contribute to the perfection of the present research circle. Such an idea goes deeper, namely that the three entities or agents, in their putative driving and steering of research, are the sole creators of new knowledge and/or are solely responsible for the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This misapprehension, on the other hand, has persuaded a large section of academics and researchers of the absolute perfection of the present research circle, as already said: one that is solely managed and steered by the three-entity alliance. This group of academics sees the present-day research circle as being in a state or condition of having all the necessary or appropriate parts to be complete, entire, perfected and whole; a setup replete with everything needed to execute quality research in top gear.1-14 But is this true?
Opposing more and more the three-entity-research alliances assumed exclusiveness and absoluteness in their self-styled research-circle’s pristine completeness, is the present-day inclusive empowerment of the full circle’s incompleteness inside the country’s research setup. Here, the definition “incompleteness” forces to the foreground the hard reality that the research circle of the three-entity alliance (accredited article, article-thesis and traditional thesis) is indeed not complete; it is loosely structured but still lacking some parts and is thus unfinished: the circle needs to be consummated.12-14 Furthermore, the incoming and growing demands of the full circle consisting of those, until now, passive members higher in the hierarchy of the research setup, are starting to highlight the shortcomings of the self-styled circle of the three-entity alliance. A clear and definite process has been initiated to reveal the fallacy or the incompleteness of the current “complete circle of the three-entity alliance”: it constitutes an increasingly failing setup, being itself the result of past evolution, that needs to undergo a complete restructuring.1-14
This article, entitled: “How to consummate the Research-circle of Completeness in South Africa: Part 1”, the aim is to pinpoint the shortcomings of the self-styled circle of the three-entity alliance and to transform this incomplete circle into the full-research circle of completeness.1-14

1.1. Introduction

It seems as if a dynamic Research circle of Completeness (also referred to as the Full-research circle of Completeness) has arrived at last in our research culture and environment, forcing to the foreground the development of a totally new research playing field and foundation, and the advent of new research agents with manifold needs and demands. The first prominent element that stands out is the immense need for initiating dynamic growth in our research setup in which previously neglected research agents, notwithstanding their prominence in our research history, might claim their rights and play a larger role. Secondly, a positive change is taking place in the mindsets of serious academics and researchers in favour of generating funds for universities through the Research-circle of Completeness. Thirdly, although not very prominent, one encounters the presence of a small group of academics and researchers who openly declared their belief in justice and a non-racial, academic and research excellence in New South Africa (JNARENSA).
Although it is possible to obtain PhD study free or cheaply at universities of excellence in countries like Germany, France, Finland, Sweden, Norway and more recently in some way also South Africa, there must not be any misunderstanding that universities worldwide or here in South Africa do not make money or lack the intention to make money out of research: where the students do not pay, the governments still subsidise the universities. This profitable PhD market is confirmed by the fact that PhDs are awarded in masses at universities worldwide. For instance, the yearly delivery of PhDs in Brazil is more than 31 000 (yearly average for the period 1987 to 2016). The US awarded 71 000 doctorates in 2017 while Germany and the UK each awarded 28 000 in 2018. There was a rise of 8% between 2013 to 2017 across the OECD countries:  particularly in Mexico, Spain and the USA. If the current pace of growth continues, 2.3% of today’s young adults living in OECD countries will go on to study at doctoral level. Hereto there is an enormous opportunity to enlarge the study sector for PhDs worldwide: Only 1.1% of 25- to 64-year-olds worldwide held a doctoral degree in 2018, while less than 2% of the world population and 1.2% of the USA population hold a doctorate according to the US Census Bureau, making the possession of a PhD something rare.15-28
The fact is that, financially, the studying costs for more affluent students as well as for the state (and taxpayer) which subsidises all these studies, stay enormously high. Hereto in South Africa it is especially the traditional thesis (PhD) that brings good money for universities through state subsidy. (A single PhD thesis ensures three times more income per degree than a master’s dissertation or an accredited article: R360 000 versus R120 000). That South African universities can benefit (and are already benefitting) from an income generated by focussed research, such as the PhD, Master’s degree and accredited article, is confirmed by the well-paid subsidies they are receiving from the South African State if the advanced degrees are completed inside the prescribed registration period: PhD: R360 000; Master: R120,000; while an accredited article also brings in R120 000.15-28
When comparing South Africa’s present output of PhDs with that for instance of the UK (28 000 PhDs for 2018) with a population of 60 million nearly equal to that of South Africa, the South African output is one of great concern in various areas. Comparing these very different numbers between the UK and us, it confirms that the South African Research-circle of Completeness is uncompleted, underused and most of all, misused. Although our yearly output has risen from 1 420 PhD-graduates in 2010 to nearly 3 000 in 2016, it is a ninth of the UK’s output per annum. The above deficient PhD numbers in comparison to our population (57 million), is further confirmed by comparing our doctoral graduates per million people with that of the UK and Switzerland: of significance here is our pathetic 46 doctoral graduates per 1 million against the 409 of the UK and the 465 of Switzerland. A further negative element in our PhD culture, which undermines the normal or functioning PhD program, is our high drop-out rate that compares well with the estimated one of 30% for the UK and 50% for the USA.15-28
There is with good reason serious concern about the future upkeep of the quality of our PhDs, given that only 40% of our university staff are holders of PhDs, making the group totally insufficient to be truly equipped lecturers, supervisors and examiners. What further aggravates this lack of sufficient supervising (and thus the present quality of the PhDs that are awarded), is the fact that the political bewitching of Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) has also spread its poisonous roots dramatically since 1994, in the form of Black Academic Research Economic Empowerment (BAREE), ANC Black Cadre Lives Matter (ABCLM)) and White Academic Research Economic Disempowerment (WARED) at South African universities. Here the sole and organised intention is to driveout able and skilled Black and White academics and researchers outside the ANC’s inner-circle, eliminating the remaining sound and sufficient supervising, as well as examining of the present-day post-graduates. Besides the growing decrease of the 40% qualified supervisors of academics with PhDs, the setup is aggravated by the level of the BAREE candidates’ and cadres’ poor and substandard qualifications. The fact is that the qualifications of most of the incoming Black novice lecturers vary from honours- to master-degrees: indeed, unqualified and unskilled people who will themselves still need supervising and academic-leadership guidance for a long time to come. How negative the impact of ABCLM/BAREE/WARED already is on our research culture, is confirmed by the fact that the research output in articles from one South African university declined from ±1 800 in 2019 to ±1 000 in 2020 (during a time when the presence of Covid-19 should have stimulated and given more time for research, article writing and publishing while many researchers were allowed to work undisturbed from home). Talk by the South African government and higher-education authorities of lifting our PhD output to ±5 000 per annum while maintaining a high level of research quality and integrity, is wishful thinking par excellence.15-28
What is needed at this stage, is vision, strategic thinking and planning, together with project and business planning. The doing away with outdated academic and research traditions, customs and habits, the limiting of contaminated politics and an immediate upgrading of our research standards and the output of research of excellence, must be a first 2021-priority. The intention to do above will be addressed in the next article (Number 8): “How to consummate the Research-circle of Completeness in South Africa: Part 2”.

1.2. Aims of Article 7 (Continues in Article 8)

The purpose of this article is to provide a framework with the primary aim to rehabilitate or at least to restart our present incomplete Research-circle of Completeness by making it a fullResearch circle of Completeness.1-14,31

1.2.1. Scope of article (Continues in Article 8)

The information applies to dissertations by master’s students and to theses by doctoral candidates, presented as a collection of essays or articles.

2. Method (Continues in Article 8)

The research was been done by means of a literature review. This method aims to construct a viewpoint from the available evidence as the research develops. This approach is being used in modern research where there is often not an established body of research, as is the case with the writing and publishing of the article-format dissertation and thesis. Through this method the focus is on being informative as to the various local and global approaches to the delivery of article-format theses or dissertations. The sources include the guidelines of universities on the writing of the article-thesis for the period 1975 to 2020.
The research findings are being presented in narrative format.

3. Results and discussion (Continues in Article 8)

3.1. Research-circle of Completeness

3.1.1. Overview

When studying the literature on modern-day research approaches, and the belief systems driving and managing these, it is clear that many important facets of research are being neglected. Essentially, because of the dominance in some researchers’ minds of the bi-polar or absolute-research approach which is pitting the traditional thesis against the article-thesis and blocking new arrivals and development. In-between these two extreme poles it is hard to discern another shade of agreement or difference in research that may easily improve or dislodge the current incomplete Research-circle of Completeness.1-14

3.1.2. The intertwined five elements of the Perfect Research-circle of Completeness

The complex and inclusive whole or total-research setup – the Research Circle of Completeness (also described as the perfect-research combination model) in which research in reality should function — is either obviously ignored, many times degraded and belittled, or it seems, simply unknown to some researchers; essentially because of their belief in the exclusive support and subscribing to the writing of the traditional thesis, and more recently, the writing of journal articles and the not-so-always-popular article-thesis. The interrelationship between these three elements with the other elements in waiting of the Research Circle of Completeness, is ignored most of the time, instead of be used to promote and exploit it to the benefit of the greater research community and to the benefit of the author of journal articles and the student/writer of the thesis.1-14
What is clearly in evidence here, are the failure to acknowledge or to know the existence of the Research-circle of Completeness; there are further stages of research outcomes and other research identities than only the involvement of the assumed 1) writing of the traditional thesis, 2) the writing of journal articles and 3) the writing of an article-thesis.
The above reflection on the Research-circle of Completeness, ending in three consecutive start-up stages, is incorrect. We are still entangled in the Uncompleted Research-circle of Completeness. Two further stages must be completed to realize fully the Research-circle of Completeness; it brings to the foreground a much-refined functioning circle built into this Completeness. In this series of seven articles the research concentrates prominently in the first six articles only on the outcome of the article-format thesis as an end-product, and the creation of it through the collection of published journal articles to form its contents. The aim of the research thus needs to be extended.1-14 The Dual-research model embedded in the Tripartite-research model

The above research setup and its initial research aims reflect a dual-research model, consisting of two parts, namely: 1) the collection of journal articles; and 2) the compiling of an article-thesis from it.
In reality the above end-product of the article-thesis reflects a tripartite-research model, consisting of three parts too: 1) the collection of new data; 2) the writing and collecting of journal articles; and 3) the writing of the article-thesis.
Looking at the traditional thesis’s constitution, its end-product also reflects the three stages of the tripartite-research model: 1) the collecting of data to write a thesis; 2) the writing and publishing of a traditional thesis; and 3) the extraction data from the traditional thesis’s contents to write and publish accredited-journal articles.
The initial description of the article-format thesis as a unique research model with its own character and research domain — classed and dressed up as a totally new approach to drive a totally new research model, divorced from the traditional-thesis model, and a jump into the unknown to better research and qualification titles — is not entirely true. On the contrary, neither does it offer confirmation that the article-format is exclusively meant for certain students, nor is it true that it is difficult to manage or that it requires more time and input than the traditional thesis as has many times been argued by a section of the research leadership. It is in reality only a sub-part (under-stage) of a much-greater research setup in which other research elements are as difficult and challenging as those of the article-thesis to execute.16,32-34 The Quadripartite-research model

Looking at the comprehensive research of the Research Circle of Completeness, even the above tripartite-research model is insufficient to fulfil all its requirements. A fourth research step, with a specific further research outcome, is needed.16,32-34
This fourth and last stage of research, the quadripartite-research model, to complete the Research Circle of Completeness, goes further in the following way: it activates the last step of the circle of research. This stage is mostly missed and fails to be included by the proponents of either the article-format thesis or the traditional thesis. Prominent here is the completion of another important project after the obtention of the master’s degree or PhD degree by candidates: the exclusive publishing of a book that is specifically focussed on the research of the masters or the PhD.16,32-34
Looking retrospectively at the development of the (perfect/true) Research Circle of Completeness, the initial manuscripts of the traditional thesis and the article-thesis (together with its collection of journal articles) serve respectively as the manuscripts for the masters and/or the PhD’s draft books waiting to be published.
Although the success of the quadripartite-research model may be seen by many of the new class of article-format proponents as not reachable, the results obtained by this approach show that it is indeed the most applicable, effective and direct one to be used by the graduate to accomplise in a short time a strong personal, academic and research CV: leading to a CV  consisting of two to five (and more) published articles, a master’s and/or a PhD degree and a published book (and the start of more constructive research outputs).
My research with this series confirmed that this is reachable, although more seldom than often. If the pre-selection of the postgraduate students is strict, allowing only students of quality into the master’s or PhD program, the quadripartite-research model is undoubtedly the ideal and only format for all students and mostly suitable for all disciplines. The coherence, intentions, organisation and research rules of the quadripartite-research model makes it easy for the student to manage his/her time between writing the manuscript of the standard or traditional dissertation/thesis, the tailoring and writing of the articles from this manuscript, their presentation to journals, their revision and resubmission if needed before their final publication, the incorporation of the articles in the thesis document and the presentation of the thesis for examination and the publishing of the book at the same time. The same is true for the research cycle of the so-called “article-thesis”, starting with the writing of the various journal articles, the writing of the master’s or the PhD thesis and the publishing of a book.
The quadripartite-research model entails no more work nor a greater time investment than the dual-research model or the tripartite-research model: all that it requires is that the student, as well as his supervisor/promotor must be able, skilled and well-trained in especially advanced postgraduate research and have a well-established academic, cognitive mindset.16,32-34
Looking at the contents of the quadripartite-research model it is evident that the present-day research is mostly stuck in the tripartite-research model. The missing two links or parts – to reach the last stage of the five-parts research circle (the Research-circle of Completeness) for those involved in both the traditional thesis and the article-thesis — the following two steps need to be mastered:

  • Traditional thesis: The publishing of accredited journal articles and a book; both based on the contents of the traditional thesis; and
  • Article-thesis: The publishing of a book based on the contents of the article-thesis.

The “ability needed” for the above is the following: to conquer the Aha! insight and perfecting of advanced research, are still to be mastered by many researchers and academics, essentially because they lack the quadripartite models cognition and its impact on their research mindsets. Within the scope of the Aha! insight, the knowledge that is missing from the mindset of many academics and researchers, to successfully reach the final stage of the Research-circle of Completeness, is thus the following:

  • Inability and non-involvement in extracting data from published traditional theses, and to rewrite this information as authors for the publishing of accredited articles in journals and books; and
  • Inability and non-involvement in extracting data from published article-theses and to rewrite this information as authors for the publication of books.

It is of the utmost important to note that data collecting and the writing of a book by an author is an ongoing and intertwined process before the Research-circle of Completeness may be successfully reached. This totality cannot be partitioned as is done in the current research model by offering separate entities, such as the journal article, the article-thesis and the traditional thesis, as exclusive research end-products. It lacks the essential part: the entity of the book. Without the outcome of the book, the research profile is nothing else but a research circle of incompleteness, undermining and impeding quality research, as well as damaging the interests of authors and students, and those of universities.35 Extracting the traditional thesis’s contents into journal articles Overview

The research literature is filled with warnings and cautions on the troubles that await an aspirant writer who wants to turn his /her thesis into journal articles. Often mentioned here is “advice” as in the following example36:1:
One of the most important points to note is that writing an article from a thesis is not simply a task of cutting and pasting. The purpose and format of a thesis or dissertation is very different from that of a journal article or book chapter. The primary audience for the thesis is the examiner that they have mastered research techniques and understand the arguments they are making. This can make the thesis repetitive and full of detail. The wider audience for the article or book chapter will want to know about the arguments or findings and at same time be convinced that the findings are authentic and trustworthy.
These kinds of opinions are mostly still stuck into the mindset of those active in the thesis-delivery of two decades ago when the traditional thesis was an exclusive instrument for examination and when many in the reader audience were exclusive academics still following the rules of the Middle Ages Academia. Also seen and courted as the sole research end-product worthy of the name, was the traditional thesis.
However, looking at the research-quality output of many theses today, the above advice falls flat and it is evident for instance that there is very little difference in the construction and compiling of the journal article (mini-dissertation) and the article-thesis/traditional thesis. Both models are looking critically if the author/student has mastered research, can do in-depth analysis and make responsible conclusions; both require a good standard of research; both have moved into a sphere where exclusive as well as inclusive readers read and consult it. Yes, of course there is a scaling-down of the contents of journal articles from the contents of the thesis because of a difference in the quantity of material, but every researcher who has delivered a quality thesis, should know these prescriptions well if he/she was strictly selected as a student of excellence before enrolment for the thesis study and received excellent research training as an undergraduate in the honours-degree or the fourth year of his/her bachelor degree. Indeed, the senior undergraduate student should already have published successfully at least two journal articles in unaccredited/accredited journals in his/her last year of study. This performance evaluation would successfully sift the poor-quality, average and research-problematic student from the circle of possible candidates for the article-thesis or -dissertation or the traditional thesis and dissertation. The extent to which the university seems mostly to fail to do a strict pre-selection for the enrolment of the thesis and dissertation, and the lack of research training at undergraduate level, are well reflected by the constant foolish emphasis by so-called experts and self-styled thesis mentors on the necessity of “doing babysitting” for the aspirant article-thesis students, as is often reflected in the media. This reveals nothing else than their own naivety, inability and undertraining as academics and researchers in their over-eagerness to “guide” aspirant authors and students on “how to successfully write” a journal article, the article-format thesis and the traditional thesis. These so-called experts’ customs, habits and inclinations to enslave, to over-manage and over-subordinate the thesis student into a “baby researcher”, speak volumes about their own lack of knowledge on how enormously some of their senior students’ training and knowhow have jumped over the last ten years. This lack of knowhow and experience is well reflected by a seemingly self-styled expert’s remark that reads36:1: “…in selecting articles from a thesis or dissertation the supervisor’s role is to assist the student in formulating purposes for the paper”, propagate specifically the “much-needed assistance of the supervisor in deciding on the authorship, planning and writing of the journal article, selecting the article and reviewing the article before submission”.
The above is a prime example of the potentially misleading advice by so-called “thesis experts” that also try to ride on the “wagon of learning”, despite being untrained. The above type of exclusive knowhow referred to, consists of knowhow and skills authors and writers should have conquered long before their moving into the enrolment phase for a dissertation or thesis.36
Article writing from the text of a traditional thesis requires far less effort and input than that needed with a total new collection of data for the writing of the accredited-journal articles of the  article-format thesis: it requires  a far shorter path to travel and time spent, because most of the data needed have already been written down and is well-known to the graduate of the traditional thesis, while the graduate’s established experience in thesis-writing empowers him/her to address data reworking and the drawing of conclusions.
Regarding general obstacles in the transformation of the traditional thesis into accredited-journal articles, the crafting of the articles is of great importance; it should also be addressed as a training component in the student’s undergraduate education. As in all forms of writing outputs, certain precautions are needed — very much in line with the rules of writing a  traditional thesis that the author in this case has already abided by previously.  For the compiling of the journal articles it is important that only information compiled and written by the student initially as part of his traditional thesis, be included; while information obtained in his undergraduate studies as well as data published in unaccredited or not peer-reviewed journals from that time, should not be included in these extracted articles. With reference to the sole/dual authorship of the articles, it must be noted that the initial relationship between the adviser/supervisor of the thesis and the student changes after the student has graduated with his/her thesis, cancelling the so-called “student dependence”. Preferably the student’s name as author of the planned to-be-published articles should be placed alone on these if the supervisor has not directly been involved in the writing and publication of these articles. To avoid conflicts of interest it is important that the thesis graduate and his supervisor negotiate new post-graduate roles on the various outcomes of the thesis, such as the offering of it as journal articles before embarking on the publishing of articles extracted from a published thesis.37
There are many benefits to publishing extracted journal articles from a completed traditional thesis. Among the direct benefits standing out here, is the direct and valuable contribution of the writer to his field of interest: it can offer new theories, methods and findings worth sharing with other researchers in the student’s field. In addition, the publication of an accredited article or articles from an existing traditional thesis can be the much-needed start of a publishing career for the PhD student and graduate. It can make an immense impact on the emerging author’s career enhancement, and can bring financial, social and personal satisfaction, while its contribution to the author’s CV can be most valuable. One of the greatest faults a PhD graduate can make is not to adapt the traditional thesis into articles immediately after the awarding of his/her degree. This failure, it pains one to say, often stems from the supervisor’s failure to immediately steer the graduate into a further dimension of publishing and research. The Faculty of the university where the student obtained his/her PhD may be equally guilty in not offering support and guidance to the student.36 Guidelines

The rules of how to write accredited-journal articles extracted from the published traditional thesis, are exactly the same as those for how to write accredited-journal articles collected from totally new data to be used in the article-thesis (and even the traditional thesis occasionally). One of the best informative guidelines to be used by the aspirant author, to enable him to reformat and convert the contents of a dissertation or thesis into journal articles, is that of the American Psychological Association (APA), published in 2020. (The APA fully covers the adapting of a dissertation or thesis into a journal article in Section 12.1 of its Publication Manual, Seventh Edition).38 Publishing of books from the traditional thesis and article-thesis Overview

As repeated many times in this article, there are just too many pessimists in today’s academic and research setup as to the difficulty of the successful writing and publishing of books based on the traditional thesis and the article-thesis. This pessimism is also displayed as regards the writing and publishing of journal articles based on the published thesis or dissertation. It seems, from the reading of their comments in the academic and research media, that even distinguished professors, supposed to be seasoned researchers and writers, are by their own self-confession, sometimes nothing other than “freshmen” who are functioning academically on an undergraduate level. This may be deduced from their many pessimistic remarks, such as their being easily overwhelmed by a mass of collected data to orderly rework in a publication, their seeming lacking of knowhow on how to systematically approach and to organise a senior research project and their use of multifarious “therapeutics” to get started on their own research projects, instead of confronting the “problem” as wise men immediately and directly with enthusiasm and self-confidence. In some way, as already shown in this article, these “struggles” declared by seasoned academics explain the reason why their students are sometimes less successful researchers and have difficulty in receiving their thesis or dissertation qualifications inside the prescribed time, or fail to rewrite their theses and dissertations into journal articles; and/or  as an extension of their initial research consisting of journal articles, article-thesis and traditional thesis, do not write books immediately after completing their research. Such an “escape flight”, away from the immediate tackling of a research project and the seemingly unnecessary stress created by the inflow of mass data, is well-illustrated by the following mentor, writing in 2016 on guiding the aspirant (but presumably experienced and trained) PhD graduate regarding the adaption of his/her traditional thesis into a journal article. It reads39:1:
After conducting a study, making sense of messy data and so forth, you have to write it all up. In my experience, the most effective way to do that is to create space for long concentration periods. Some universities even provide writing retreats that are excellent opportunities for writing up your study. If your university does not provide such retreats, you can also make your own (or together with a peer). For instance, I wrote the first draft of my first paper during a trip to the United States. The absence of daily distractions determined a creative and effective writing process. The writing and publishing of books

Approaching the writing of a book, based on an article-format thesis or dissertation, or traditional thesis or dissertation, is exactly the same as the literary construction of the article and traditional thesis or dissertation, with few changes to the original contents and style. The focus is still on the subject of the original study as reflected by the title of the book, while the general construction of each separate article is now offered as a chapter of the book; consecutively with the other articles incorporated in the thesis, it is telling an ongoing story until the last chapter of the book. It still reflects its original elements of construction, such as introduction, literature review, background on and statement of the problem, definition of terms, assumptions, discussion, conclusion, references, etc. In addition, there can also be a closing or final chapter, the offering of a comprehensive conclusion, as well as a future perspective based on the writings of chapters and new outcomes after the writing of the initial articles.
It is almost a prerequisite that the two types of thesis or dissertation be adapted to a book. Looking retrospectively at the lack of many book publications based on the article or traditional thesis, the universities where masters and PhD students graduate, are in large degree to blame for the reason why many masters and PhD graduates, after the day of receiving their degrees, just disappear from the universities’ radar. It seems as if the universities, after the student’s graduation and his/her final payment for his/her studies, immediately lose interest in the student and his/her masters or PhD. Organised efforts to accommodate these studies in official university publications and to promote it to the broad public, does not seem to be a priority or a concern for the top management of universities. Especially, here the universities’ deputy vice-chancellors of Research, as well as the universities’ many directors and deans of research areas, stand directly accused of failed in their duties because they have been specifically appointed to promote and to oversee the absolute outputs of all types of publications at universities  The question left here for us is: are some, if not many of the PhDs awarded by universities, seen as of such poor quality that they do not justify further interest or publication? Specific regarding the quality and standard of PhDs, there should never be the shadow of any doubt cast on them, because each of the mass of PhDs that are annually awarded worldwide is supposed to be an excellent product and something universities should be proud of.
On the need for a thesis or a dissertation to be adapted into a book, Terry Clague of the publishing group Routledge, on the writing and publishing of a book based on an already published article-format or traditional thesis or dissertation, stated in this context in 201740:1: “Research conducted as part of a PhD is valuable. It is valuable for the researcher, who has spent countless hours carrying out the work and it is valuable to those deciding whether the research should result in the award of a PhD qualification. But can the research be valuable to broader audiences? The simple answer is yes – at the heart of many successfully academic books lies research conducted as part of a PhD.”
It is indeed true that the research contents of PhDs offer an array of good outcomes through book publishing for graduates — varying from the exposure and the introduction of it to other university staff, to university libraries (using it as part of their learning material), to the broad public — strengthening their CV, etc. Also, it is forgotten that books, published directly after the traditional theses’ awarding (where there was not an interference by means of the publication of accredited-journal articles as subsidised by the state), also qualify for subsidy if they go through the process of peer reviewing. These subsidies paid in South Africa to universities by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) can amount to the total amount of ten credits (one credit = one accredited article = R120 000). If there are more than ten chapters, a single book may receive a total of R1,2 million in subsidy. (Even books averaging between four to five chapters can generate between R480 000 and R600 000 per book for the universities.) The golden fact that is missed out, is that the publication of books should not be limited to one book per academic/researcher over a career duration of 20 years, but various books: three academic researchers I found had published in 20 years more than 20 books each!
Books are an essential part of the Research Circle of Completeness, but as this series of eight articles shows, it is mostly left unused or ignored by researchers to their own injury. The reality is that it is mainly the academic and research staff that fail in the current research system, not availing themselves of the opportunity to publish many books and generate incomes for the universities, and not the governmental authorities (like the DHET) that go out of their way in creating a favourable environment and compensation system for research by South Africans.1-14
Reflecting back on the failure by most of the university staff of the constant publishing of books, it must be emphasis that one of the main failures for this outcome is the fixation by graduates, academics and researchers to do the “one-by-one occasional article” and their general lack of motivation to do comprehensive research projects that hold the potential to result in either various articles or other research outcomes like books. What strikes one in this respect, is the so-called inclination of “…hier kiep-kiep en daar kiep-kiep (an Afrikaans quotation for fruitless action) of the writing and publishing of an article in one accredited journal, and the writing and publishing of the next article in another accredited journal. This inclination of doing single articles (and then also only mostly occasionally as a research output) seems to be a “research illness” well-internalised in many researchers’ mindsets (Sadly, I find it also to be well-internalised in the mindsets of some directors of research and deans at universities).
A far-more applicable way of doing research is to choose a comprehensive research project from day-one that focusses solely on the writing and publishing in one specific accredited journal all the articles or research contents. Or instead to write the total project contents in a draft manuscript which can be accredited as a published book. These approaches can bring a far better publishing outcome in money and personal satisfaction.
Above negative setting brings us back to the present-day milieu of substandard students and university staff many-times involved in postgraduate programs which needs to be reflected here. It seems as if a great part of the present contingent of academics are, besides their many-times sub-standard training and abilities to deliver acceptable research outputs like accredited journal articles, article-format-theses and accredited books, just not interested in getting involved in active research and the production of accredited journal articles, article-theses and accredited books or comprehensive research projects. This internalised mal-cognition and a habit-formed negative academic and research life-style are further strengthened by the constant arrival of substandard and under-trained cadres through ABCLM/BAREE/WARED into the contemporary university setting, which spells a further down-grading of the South African university that started in 1994. Ask yourself the question: Why would you, if you are paid a good salary every month, be bothered to work extra, like for instance writing articles and books? 62-136
Indeed, we see many times on the television research professors speaking on prominent subjects, but when you check on their CVs for accredited articles, books, etc., they are essentially lacking any significant accredited publications. We also see at the moment the appointment of academics as research professors who took six years to obtain their PhDs (three years outside the maximum period of study), with research records of only six or fewer accredited articles, mostly done with the cooperation (and sometimes exploitation) of their few masters and doctoral students. Then is there the occasional “eminent” lecturer who took 12 years to obtain his/her PhD, seemingly with the assistance of a ghost writer. These types of academics and researchers, that form a strong contingent in present-day universities, know very well how to do the necessary academic speaking, but lack the research practice needed for accredited publications.108
A due diligence done a few years ago by me at a Faculty of a South African university reflected that its ± 35 lecturers were only 6.8 weeks per annum at the office (Note: they were from a face-to-face-learning university and it was before Covid-19 forcing everyone to adopt an overall online system), making it understandable why their article output at that time was essentially zero and their supervised dissertations and theses delivered saturated in rewriting from previous published dissertations and theses. (Recently some of these staff members contacted me to lecture them on the writing of the article-format-thesis and –dissertation essentially because they said it is “too difficult to master” on their own).62-136
The hard fact is that the average university lecturer, after 20 years of work, published (besides his/her own master’s and a PhD) not more than five accredited articles. Reworking it to money value for the university, the end count will be at most R1 080 000. Hereto the average number of articles published by an academic should be normally two to four articles per annum consecutively for 20 years, giving a total end-count of between R4,8-million and R9,6-million.97
It is doubted that above academic and research deviance will easily be phased out in the near future. With the increasing influence of ABCLM/BAREE/WARED this chaotic setting is going to get worse. Furthermore, the present proposed reduction of the universities’ budgets for subsidising and funding of student studies as well as research from 2022, spells doom not only for the writing and publishing of the book but also that of accredited articles and article-format-theses and -dissertations for the period up to 2024.108 Options of book-publishing

On the selection of the style of book publishing, there are various options to choose from. In this context Clague40 guides us40:1:

  • Converting the entire PhD thesis into a book requires that your thesis covers a topic of interest to a large enough audience of scholars. Whereas a thesis starts with a question, a book begins with an answer and communicates its importance in the wider research landscape, tracing its evolution and impact.
  • Using parts of a PhD thesis in a book requires that ongoing and/or collaborative research is being conducted. A book (perhaps co-authored) should be greater than the sum of its constituent parts.
  • Using an aspect of a PhD thesis in an edited book on a broader topic ensures that the research fits with related research on a similar theme. A good edited book addresses the need to broaden the scope of PhD-based research via collaborating with a team of contributors.

The decision on which one of the three options should be chosen, is up to the aspirant author to make. The choice of using an aspect or part of the thesis can have excellent outcomes: especially the collaboration with five or more well-known co-authors as a team, can position the new authors in an excellent way inside academic and research circles, as well as the learned community. It can bring further invitations as members of teams for the writing and publishing of other books. But this positive outcome can also be true when parts of the thesis are being used in a book where other authors of high standing in the academic and research community are also collaborators on the book. Hereto the sole authorship of a book can be equally satisfying, bringing the same exposure as the above two options, while it offers the author much more exclusivity as an independent author and writer.40 Types of publishers Publishing houses

Over the years the publishing of books has been dominated by established publishers, making the opportunities for the individual author and writer to move into self-publishing his/her own book very difficult. Strict selection of the subject of a book, based on popularity with the public to ensure profits for the publishers in their selling of a book, discouraged and excluded many aspirant authors and writers from publishing their PhD theses. However, less popular subjects and information about them appearing in a book — for instance “South Africa’s bedeviled land-ownership (1652 – 2020)41 – have indicated clearly that a limited number of South African academic readers as well as the general public would be interested to read it, or willing to buy the book. The same limitation and lack of interest from publishers might be attributed to a book with the title: “The troubled Afrikaner tribe of South Africa”42, reflecting an in-depth study on the present-day Afrikaner minority’s growing crisis in South Africa under an all-powerful Black majority and an extremely hostile ANC regime, as well as a world audience who is little concerned about the Afrikaners’ situation and fate, who are still seen them as the creators of Apartheid. Either of the above two books — in terms of their limited interest to local academics and researchers, as well as the greater South African society and the bigger world — would from day one turns out to be a money-loser for the publisher if they were published. Their chances of being accepted by most publishers are therefore virtually zero.41,42
This exclusively capitalistic inclination of profit above all else (of course, a good and acceptable business intention/principle for the survival of publishing houses) must be weighed against the value of a book with merit that might be capable of saving lives or bettering politics. However, the tendency by publishers to reject a book as a failure when not “qualifying” in terms of their prerequisites of profitability, is well-illustrated by the following statement of a publisher on its rules and approaches to select or not to select a book for publishing. It reflects, when considered in terms of its exclusively materialistic-guidelines, barely concealed negative attitudes to any author outside the publisher’s circle of reference and interest. It reads40:1-2:
The role of the publisher is to connect authors with readers. When it comes to disseminating research originating from a PhD, this relationship is essential. It is therefore useful to consider the perspective of the publisher when considering what publication route to take. In assessing a proposal for a research-level book, a good publisher [versus a bad writer and author] will initially ask themselves three questions:

  • Is the scope of the research broad enough to be of interest to our readers (scholars globally)?
  • Is the quality sufficiently high?
  • Can the work be developed via feedback from experts as part of the book review process to address any weakness?

Beyond those core questions, potential authors should consider significant and ongoing changes to the market for academic books, notably in reader behaviour. Evolution in digital technology combined with a significant increase in the amounts of available research has led to changes in the way that books are produced, published and propagated. In this environment, the key word is “discoverability”. Connecting authors to readers requires that the publishers facilitate discoverability of research via various routes to ensure that potential readers are able to find books with ease. Authors can aid this process by following a few basic rules of thumb:

  • The main title of the book should position it clearly without reference to other bibliographic information, and should be as short as feasible,
  • Chapter titles should likewise, where possible, position themselves clearly,
  • Chapter synopses or abstracts can be used to enhance the metadata around the books.

In the same context as reflected above, the publisher further revealed the enormous empowerment of the publisher versus the disempowered and much-dependent aspirant authors — and of a stricter kind of “examination” the aspirant authors are facing in his/her trying to publish his/her book(s) through the established publishers than that which they faced during the examination for their PhDs. Here are the publisher’s much-structured selection criteria and strict guideline outlined further, as it states40:2:
Notwithstanding the above, it is useful to start a conversation with an acquisitions/commissioning editor at an early stage towards the end or shortly after the completion of a PhD. Discussions with supervisors and other colleagues are also very useful at this stage. The next natural step is to submit a book proposal which will be considered by the publisher, often involving a peer review process. Research-level books are often published as part of an established series – an awareness of existing books in such series can be useful when it comes to framing and developing a book proposal.
Following a review process, the publisher’s editorial board would give final approval to proceed, following which a book contract would be issued. Armed with publisher and review feedback, the author can proceed to a full manuscript based on their PhD research. Each book is different, but there are numerous key aspects to consider when preparing a final manuscript for book publication:

  • A thesis is written for examiners, a book for scholars in general.
  • Examiners will work through text regardless of writing style, book readers will not.
  • Take a step back — prepare to rethink.
  • Value the reader’s time.
  • Contextualize.

Finally, talking about your research and the process of working it into a book can be an essential ingredient to its success. This can be done with your immediate colleagues, at conferences and with a publisher.
The above outline gives us a clear indication of why the Research-circle of Completeness has stayed incomplete until today, essentially because the prerequisites by many publishing houses to authors, who want to publish their PhDs with them, are just too strict and often outragious. To complete the Research-circle of Completeness and to better the CVs of academics and researchers with their worthy writings transformed into books, other publishing venues must be considered. And they exist. Self-publishers

Firstly, looking critically at the contemporary setup of self-publishing, it seems as if some publishers are years behind in what is going on presently regarding the publishing qualifications obtained and the dynamic approaches applied by aspirant authors to generate their own books: many of these persons are well skilled in the reworking of their PhD materials into applicable formats for publication as books. Secondly, over the last ten years or more there have been ongoing structural changes in the general presentation of academic and research materials and examinations of PhDs, affecting the choice and presentation of titles, abstracts and the traditional examination of theses. Such changes have made the difference between the needs and demands of the examiners for PhDs and the needs and demands of the reader-scholar minimal. Also, regarding the so-called differentiation between how these contents are presented for examiners and how these contents are presented for readers, there is increasingly little difference. In the planning of the amount of the contents to be read, both the examiners and the readers’ time is valued by the graduates-cum-authors, leading thereto that the structures of the book and the thesis are streamlined, making the contents of the two very much the same in terms of being easily readable and informative.  This promotes self-publishing par excellence. A major change has taken place here in that readers’ interests have become much broader than a decade or two ago. In addition, e-book publishing has developed whereby books can be published and offered at minimal cost to the public, even free. This opens unlimited exposure for any PhD graduate to get his/her book out into the market.43-57
What has prominently enhanced the opportunity for self-publishing, is the use of digital technology by authors, assuring themselves an own ISBN number and copyright holding for their books, as well as the necessary technical editing of their books at a nominal cost. In this developing environment of new models of printing-supplier-entrepreneurs, the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic have also led to a new self-reliance, independence and autonomy, which is vastly supported by cheap and easily available digital technology. In this context, the traditional publishers with their outdated customs and belief systems and discrimination against authors with excellent books but of limited sales potential, are becoming more and more isolated.43-57

  • Digital Technology

The evolution in digital technology has led to changes in the way that books are produced, published and propagated; not only for the established publishers, but also for the incoming  individual one-person-printer-supplier able to offer inexpensive opportunities to the aspirant author to publish his/her book with an own ISBN number and copyright holding at a minimal cost to the author.43-57
The print run of books can also be controlled by the author, making it possible to limit the issue of his/her book to 10, 20, 1 000 or 10 000 books and thus also to limit the costs of publication. Then there is, apart from the hard-copy issuing of books, also the e-book option, cutting costs to the bone.43-57
The publication of books adapted from PhDs and privately self-published, are undoubtedly going to become a common phenomenon in the next five years. Many aspirant authors are not much interested in earning money from the selling of their books, but more interested to make contact with readers in the community and to get their books out to the general public as cheaply as possible. The immense opportunity that certain self-publishing houses and other book distributors/sellers are offering aspirant authors to market their books broadly and cheaply, may lead thereto that they can publish books at prices between $3 and $10, and even distribute them for free as e-books to readers and scholars.43-57
It is important to note that aspirant authors in many cases do not have to pay any costs upfront or carry any inventory because books are printed on demand when customers purchase them. This saves the author the cost of massive print runs or the need for storage space. Costs are calculated in terms of length of books, versus ink in colour or black. Underneath is a calculator to determine the present costs of a book with publishers such as Amazon and other groups in the USA: For instance, for a book in black ink of 24 to 108 pages the cost per book is $2.15 per book, plus an extra cost of $0.85 per page. For a book in black ink of 110 to 810 pages the cost is $0.85 per book, plus an extra $0.12 per page. On the other hand, the cost for a book in colour ink of 24 to 40 pages is $3.65 plus $0.12 per page, and for a book in colour ink of 42 to 500 pages it is $0.85 plus $0.07 per page. A 300-page book in black ink can thus cost $0.85 plus $3.60 ($0.12 x 300) = $4.45, and a 300-page book in colour ink can thus cost $0.85 plus $ 21.00 ($0.07 x 300) = $21.85. Hereto the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing platform (KDP) offers books at $2.99-$3.99, while other publishers sell it $2.99 -$9.99.43-57
There are also excellent offers on the market for aspirant authors regarding royalties: for instance, KDP offers two options on earnings for e-Books, namely a 35% royalty if the marketing rights are limited to KDP, while an open contract with KDP offers authors up to 70% royalties (if the e-book is also a physical book that KDP can sell in the broad market). In other cases, the royalties paid by publishers are 60% minus the costs to publish and to market the book. In some cases’ the royalties are 40% when book publishers receive the exclusive distribution rights for a book, while with a limited right awarded to the publisher by the author, the royalty is 25% of the selling price.43-57
A recent cost analysis by myself with a small printing company locally shows that the technical adaptations of PhDs to books, including the registration of an ISBN number, designed front and back covers, printing and binding of ten books of 350 pages, are delivered for instance as a package for under R3,000-00 or R300-00 per book. This is high in terms of the USA-pricing model above, but the limited print run and the author retaining copyright must be noted.

  • ISBN opportunities in promoting self-publications

On the obtention of an ISBN number, is it important to report that these numbers are freely allocated in South Africa to aspirant authors that have already compiled and written manuscripts for books with titles, ready for publication. (Agencies may charge an additional fee.) All that the aspirant authors must do, is to apply and to register their books’ names, their own names, addresses, copyright holder(s), etc., with the National Libraries of South Africa (NLSA). With reference to the famous ISBN number in respect of self-publication, it is important to note firstly that the ISBN number is used to distinguish one title or edition of a title from a specific author from one specific publisher from another. This allows for easier marketing efforts as well as the ability to keep track of book sales through bookshops, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors.43-57
In South Africa, should an aspirant author wish to apply for an ISBN, he/she should contact the ISA (International Standard Numbering) Agency, which forms part of the National Library of South Africa. To apply for an ISBN at the National Library of South Africa (NLSA), the aspirant author just has to e-mail his/her personal and manuscript details to Ms Kholofelo Mojela at 58, or he/she can contact the NLSA offices in Pretoria directly on 012 401 9700. SANB information sheets are available free of charge from the SANB, National Library of South Africa Pretoria Campus, PO Box 397, Pretoria 0001, tel. 012 325 5984, e-mail: 59,60
On the Internet there is a mass of information available regarding the costs of printing a book, etc. (See contact addresses in the References).43-61
Since 2007 the ISBN has contained 13 digits, which are divided into 5 segments, separated by a spice or hyphen for easy reading. On the meaning of the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), is it important, as said, to reflect that it is a unique identification number which indicates one publication or edited publication produced by a specific publisher in one of the specific formats: It applies to any single publication in printed, digital or mass-media formats. The ISBN system is administered on an international, national and publisher level, and is standardised to the international standard, ISO2018: information and documentation. Guidance on the ISN and how to apply the number, is provided in the ISP/b/N User’s Manual.61
Physical book formats such as paperbacks must have a unique ISBN number when and where the author intends to sell them through any bookshop or warehouse. This will include books sold online at for instance Create Space and Ingram Sparks.43-61
Digital eBooks will also need an ISBN for the ePub format, should the aspirant author intend for example to publish through the eBook distributors Smash Words, Apple iBook Store or Barnes and Noble. The MOBI version of eBooks sold exclusively on Amazon does not require an ISBN although there is a place to capture it. A general rule is that an ISBN is needed where the author is to profit from book sales, but if the author wants to print limited copies of his/her paperback for close friends and family, an ISBN is not needed.43-61
As mentioned, each ISBN uniquely identifies a format of the author’s book and each of the different formats requires unique ISBNs. These formats are:58-61

  • eBooks (e-Pub only, not needed for MOBI version)
  • Hardbacks
  • Paperback
  • Audiobooks

On the requirements of the amounts of books to send to NLSA after the publication of the books, note the following58-61:

  • E-Books; e-mail the completed eBook files to the
  • Print books: If the author prints: a) less than 100 copies, a single copy must be sent to the National Library in Pretoria; b) if more than 100 copies are printed, a single copy of the book should be posted to each of the five legal deposits (in this case the film and video archives are excluded), while if 100 or more copies are printed five copies of the book should be posted to each of the five legal deposits (in this case the film and video archives are excluded).
  • Audio Books. A single copy should be posted to the NLSA in Pretoria while a second copy must be sent to the National Film, Video and Sound Archives (NFA) in Pretoria.
  • Regarding the use of the ISBN number, the aspirant author must note that the ISBN number must be listed on the back cover of the paperback book (printed books) and would need a barcode version of the ISBN number.

Other rules prescribed by the NLSA is that authors can make use of pseudonyms. On the use of ISBNs, the NLSA notes that when a book is published for the first time, it is described as a first edition, and if a book is republished and changes are made to the contents or layout, it is described as a revision or second edition. But if this, the second edition: first impression is reprinted and republished without significant change, the second edition: second impression will result. Hereto, if a work is republished and no changes are made to the contents or format (apart from limited alterations to spelling and corrections of printing errors), it is described as a reprint or a new impression and not a new edition. A change of publisher constitutes a new (first) edition. If a book is revised and changes by at least 20% or more, it requires a new ISBN. (Note: An ISBN can never be reused or reassigned to a new/other book/publication). A different ISBN is needed if a book appears in a different language.58-61

  • Peer-review disposition

Regarding the requirement that books published by established publishers be peer-reviewed to assure quality and standard, it must be noted that all or mostly all the accredited-journal articles used in article-theses, already have been reviewed by three to six reviewers of the journal articles before publication. Furthermore, all the chapters of books as well as the articles extracted from traditional theses may be reviewed by appointed reviewers (mostly seasoned authors of accredited articles, examiners of traditional and article-theses themselves, as well as reviewers of accredited articles with good standing, etc.), making the touted exclusive benefit offered by traditional publishers null and void. On the other hand, there is no limitation in the path of a self-publisher to get his/her book reviewed if he/she does not intend to qualify for the DHET subsidy where applicable. (Note: the academic/researcher who wants his book to be accredited by the university for the payment of the DHET subsidy must have it reviewed by accredited reviewers: but this outcome can be easily affected as described above.)
That the established contingent of publishers is becoming aware of the change in their favoured environment and exclusive establishment of publishing, is evidenced by their exclusive recognition of the situation in favour of self-publishing when they themselves state16:1:
…scholarly communication undergoes changes and evolves as science itself. The scientific article, its format and publication mode, dissemination and sharing has undergone significant changes since the emergence of the first scientific journals in the seventeenth century. The Internet, in the 1990s, dramatically changed the paradigm of science communication, an event comparable only to the invention of printing by Gutenberg in 1440, which enabled the dissemination of articles and journals to other instances, beyond the academy.
It is now up to every individual PhD graduate to grab the opportunity to publish his/her book. A short perspective on African academic publishing

It is not only in South Africa that the publication of books, even accredited articles, is playing a subordinate role in the economic and professional empowerment of academics and researchers; it is a negative phenomenon that characterises most African countries. This setup was well-studied and -described in the University World News by the author Wachira Kigotho 127when he wrote very appositely and with good reason on the 14th January 2021:127:1 “African academics may perish even when they have published.” This negativity revolves around firstly, the lack of justified compensation, promotion and acknowledgement due to academics for their publications by universities as their employers and thus to stimulate publishing by scholars; and secondly, the under-developed and obstructive publishing culture of Africa which fails to contribute to an income for academic writers, essentially because tertiary publishing in general is not profitable for the publishers.127
These two outcomes will shortly be reflected as a closing perspective to provide further insights into the research syndrome which in South Africa, as elsewhere in Africa, is sabotaging the attainment of the Research-circle of Completeness.
Pointing out the lack of deserved incomes and promotions for active African academics writing and publishing [that is also reflected in South Africa and is further aggravated here by the BAREE, WARED and ABCLM] and thus discourages constructive and continued publishing, Professor Ishmael Munene127 of the Northern Arizona University (NAU), USA, speaking from his own Kenyan academic experience, states127:1: “…salary increases should not just be what the unions negotiate but should have a component tied to academic merit as measured in, among others, the publishing of tertiary-level books, journal publications and innovations”.
Kigotho127, on the substandard and under-developed publishing culture of Africa (very much in line with the South African setup as shown in this research) which fails to contribute to an income for publishing academics, writers127:1: “A weak publishing industry in Africa, including the lack of distribution hubs and an intra-African book trade; curricula, pedagogy and learning processes still rooted in the colonial situation and the absence of a scholarship culture, are factors that are undermining the development and production of creative books on the continent.”
The low amounts of tertiary books published in Africa and the low book-publishing output by African scholars in Africa are the direct results of the lack of profits for publishers and thus the unwillingness to support scholars notwithstanding their talent. It is clear that the text-book publishing industry in Africa needs to be reformed in so far as it is applicable to higher education, so that it would entrench creativity, innovation and scholarship, instead of the focus on primary and secondary books that are, because of their constant mass production, excellent money generators. This hostile approach by African publishers has led thereto that African universities are forced to rely heavily on imported books, even for studies with African-specific content such as history, literature, music, politics, sociology and economics, writes Kigotho.127 It is thus understandable why academics and researchers withdraw from publishing and instead do moonlighting and try other avenues for an income, thereby not making publishing a priority.
But, the universities in Africa, also those in South Africa, have themselves failed to publish serious scholarly works or to promote these.127 Solani Ngobeni127 of the Africa Institute of South Africa, in her study: “Scholarly Publishing: The Challenges Facing the African University Press”, said that university presses in Africa are currently only available in Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Zimbabwe and South Africa. But, so far, the university presses of South Africa do not seem to be very active in their support of their scholars.127
Although the practice of the article-format thesis seems to have built a strong foundation in many African countries, it is often for the wrong reason: it seems to be the substandard three-article-thesis which has become the easiest PhD to obtain (with its equally substandard examination). The contaminated use of predatory articles in these PhDs is prominent. On the widespread use of predatory journals to publish in African countries, Wagdy Sawahel132 in the University World News of the 16th March 2021132 points out that it seems to be specifically African countries with a medium level of economic development and saddled with large research sectors, that are the culprits. It seems especially in many North African countries that the research is most susceptible to predatory publishing, specifically in the health, life and physical sciences, with social sciences less affected. Furthermore, it appears that Nigeria is the most affected by the use of predatory journals. Of the top twenty countries in the world, apparently seriously affected by predatory publications, there are nine African countries on the list: Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Sudan, Togo, Niger and Liberia. (Thankfully so far South Africa’s name does not appear on the list of the Sub-Saharan countries contaminated by predatory research!).127,132
The contamination by predatory research of the African academy and research, many times allowed by some universities, led thereto that quality had been thrown by the wayside, which caused a dramatic decline in the quality of tertiary teaching and research carried out. This created substandard academics and researchers who failed to publish in accredited journals or to deliver accredited books, forcing them to take shortcuts, such as the use of predatory publishing.  But, to a certain extent, many African universities are direct responsible for this negative outcome themselves, because of their lack of financial support to their authors, academics and researchers to publish in journals of excellence that ask page fees, as well as paying poor salaries to academics/researchers who are required to finance their publications themselves (phenomena that are now also starting to manifest in South Africa). Then of course there is the failure of African universities to publish their scholars work direct themselves. 127,132
From the above negative comments is it in some way clear why the research culture of Africa has so far to a great extent failed to reach the Research-circle of Completeness. But, on the other hand, there are many negative characteristics commonly shared between South Africa and many of the African countries as to the wrong way of doing research and publication that has undoubtedly so far directly contributed to the fact that South Africa could not reach the Research-circle of Completeness.127,132

4. Conclusions

The successful implementation of the Research-circle of Completeness requires from university leaders absolute academic and economic competence, experience and wisdom; totally free from academic and political revenge, subjectivity and delinquency, contradictory to the activities that are now rampaging through our universities more and more.29
The article-format-thesis and -dissertation through its collection of accredited articles, is already at times a dynamic role player within the incomplete-Research-circle of Completeness and has the potential to stimulate immense research status as well as a significant income for universities. Also, through the constant output of accredited articles, it offers the active and brilliant student the opportunity to obtain more than one PhD, as well as the authorship of many books.  If the pre-selection of the postgraduate student is strict, allowing only students of quality into the masters’ or PhD programs, the quadripartite-research model would undoubtedly be the ideal and only format for all students and mostly suitable for all disciplines to do advanced research.16-61
But unfortunately, this article shows that South Africa’s present-day research concentrates prominently on the dual-research model and the tripartite-research model. The absence of the quadripartite-research model is clear; a model in which the writing of journal articles, the writing of books, the doing of research in the milieu of projects and the writing of draft manuscripts occupy a central place.16-61
The present failure to activate the quadripartite-research model and obstructed that the Research-circle of Completeness could so far not be consummated, is captured in a problematic research foundation in which elements, varying from substandard-trained and educated postgraduates to unproductive academic and research staff at universities, as well as the negative impact of contaminated politics, play prominent roles.
The negative reality is that many of our universities and their staff have so far not even embraced and mastered successfully the old dual-research model and the old tripartite-research model in which the traditional thesis occupies the central place, and have failed to turn it, its articles and books, into a stable money-making enterprise. Some of our universities and their staff still seem to be steeped in Gutenberg’s academic culture of the 1400s, when earning an income was seen as a sin, and where the Science of Stupid for years prevented the introduction of the positive butterfly-effect of dynamic and creative research, to such an extent that our research could not in 2021 reach its ultimate excellence.16-61
A dynamic reorientation and reevaluation of the research culture and environment at South African universities are urgently needed. The contaminated policy of ABCLM/BAREE/WARED and the empowerment of the propagandists of the age-old traditional thesis and dissertation that deliberately undermine the incoming of the article-format -thesis and dissertation, needs to be curbed. Only then the article-thesis will make an inroad and the continuation of the incomplete-Research-circle of Completeness erased. 62-141
Above present-day chaos inside the South African research environment and its absence of a true (completed or full) Research-circle of Completeness will be addressed in the next intertwined article (Number 8): “How to consummate the Research-circle of Completeness in South Africa: Part 2”. The discussion of Article 8 specifically will focus on the roles of stonewalling and obstructionism against the establishing of the Research-circle of Completeness in South Africa.

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