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Comparison of environmental laws publications in Science Citation Index Expanded and Social Science Index: a bibliometric analysis


  • Rongzhen Ma

    (Peking University
    Asia University)

  • Yuh-Shan Ho

    () (Peking University
    Asia University)


Abstract This study presents an analysis of environmental law research in the natural science and social science fields from a bibliometric perspective. Document type, publication language, annual output, and distributions of countries were quantitatively characterized and compared in the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED) and the Social Science Index (SSCI). The citation history of highly cited articles and word analysis were used to examine research tendencies and “hotspots” in environmental law research. The results show that from 1992 to 2014 SCI-EXPANDED has published more research in environmental laws than SSCI except in 2011. The USA is the most productive country in both databases. Developing countries such as China, India, and Brazil are among the top 10 productive countries in SCI-EXPANDED, while in that of SSCI, China is the only developing country. The USA had the most frequent collaborations with other countries both in SCI-EXPANDED and SSCI; collaborations were more frequent in SSCI than in the SCI-EXPANDED. Words analysis reveals that “sustainability”, “compliance”, and “environmental management” are key issues in SSCI, while articles in SCI-EXPANDED pay more attention to “risk assessment”, “recycling”, “wastewater treatment”, and “temperature”. “China” is a key issue in research in both natural science and social science field, which indicates the rapid development of environmental law research in China as well as the growing concerns of China’s environmental law issues.

Suggested Citation

  • Rongzhen Ma & Yuh-Shan Ho, 2016. "Comparison of environmental laws publications in Science Citation Index Expanded and Social Science Index: a bibliometric analysis," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 109(1), pages 227-239, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:109:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-016-2010-6
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-016-2010-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yuh-Shan Ho & Michael Kahn, 2014. "A bibliometric study of highly cited reviews in the Science Citation Index expanded-super-™," Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, Association for Information Science & Technology, vol. 65(2), pages 372-385, February.
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    7. Khanna, Madhu & Damon, Lisa A., 1999. "EPA's Voluntary 33/50 Program: Impact on Toxic Releases and Economic Performance of Firms," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 1-25, January.
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