, Volume 105, Issue 2, pp 883–904 | Cite as

A quantitative examination of the intellectual profile and evolution of information security from 1965 to 2015

  • Nicholas V. Olijnyk


Information security has become a central societal concern over the past two decades. Few studies have examined the information security research domain, and no literature has been found that has applied an objective, quantitative methodology. The central aim of the current research was to quantitatively describe the profile and evolution of the information security specialty. Bibliometric data extracted from 74,021 Scopus research records published from 1965 to 2015 were examined using impact and productivity measures as well as co-word and domain visualization techniques. This scientometric study presents a comprehensive view of the information security specialty from several perspectives (e.g., temporal, seminal papers, institutions, sources, authors). After a long and steady period of growth (1965–2004), an exponential publication output occurred between 2005 and 2010. Among all the countries involved in information security research, the United States and China had the greatest impact, and China has surpassed the United States in terms of productivity. Information security as a specialty is largely populated by publications from the technical fields of computer science and engineering. Several research themes were found throughout the decades (e.g., cryptography and information security management and administration), and emergent research subspecialties appeared in later decades (e.g., intrusion detection, medical data security, steganography, wireless security). This study reduces the complexity of the specialty to controllable terms, supplies objective data for science policy making, identifies the salient bibliographic units, and uncovers growth patterns. It also serves as an information retrieval tool to identify important papers, authors, and institutions.


Co-word analysis Computer security Cyber security Information assurance Network security Specialty development 

Mathematics Subject Classification


JEL Classification



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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Long Island University PostBrookvilleUSA

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