Mapping the Geography of Sustainability Transitions Research:
A Bibliometric Analysis

Dhiman, Sunny ; Singh, Rajbeer ; Yadav, Raghvendra Singh


The transition towards sustainability is a global challenge, and in recent decades, Sustainability Transitions (ST) research has emerged as a promising approach to address climate change-led uncertainty. Despite the rapid rise in the sustainability transitions literature, it is primarily focused on developed or global north countries. The present paper attempts to use bibliometric tools to comprehend the intellectual landscape and distribution between global north-south and analyse the trends and hotspots in global south countries. The paper comprehensively examined ST literature on the Scopus citation database (from the inception of ST in 1994 to December 31, 2020). Based on statistical analysis performed on the dataset, there has been an exponential rise in research publications on ST since 2012. Globally, ST researchers mainly belong to OECD countries from Western Europe, especially in the UK, Netherlands and Germany. Conversely, the global south is lagging, except few developing nations such as China, South Africa, Brazil, and India. This skewed representation reflects the higher prevalence of ST initiatives in the global north, predominantly by a few European countries. About 40% of ST research is published in journals from the UK, Netherlands, the U.S., Switzerland and Canada. The citation analysis reflects that 60% of citations are from British and Dutch scholars, indicating a low academic influence of ST authors from developing countries. This study would stimulate more interest among Global South academics and policy researchers to put more effort into ST research and publication to bridge the existing gap.


Multi-level perspective, Scopus, Socio-technical transitions, VOSviewer

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