Do world-leading researchers from developing countries contribute to
upgrading locally, or do they disengage from the local context? The
paper investigates the scientific collaborations of university-based
science and technology researchers in the database of the South African
National Research Foundation (NRF), and analyses the co-authorships of
researchers who were ranked by the NRF during the 2001 to 2007 period.
To establish the extent to which a researcher can access knowledge
outside the South African academic science and technology research
community, and share it inside that community, we develop a measure of
'gatekeeping'. The evidence suggests that there is not a local/global
trade-off in knowledge creation in academia in the developing world, and
that the world-leading researchers in developing countries may play an
especially important role as conduits of new knowledge in their country.
Keywords: Science and technology, research, upgrading, developing country, collaboration