, Volume 107, Issue 3, pp 1249–1264 | Cite as

Major trends in knowledge management research: a bibliometric study

  • Peyman Akhavan
  • Nader Ale Ebrahim
  • Mahdieh A. Fetrati
  • Amir Pezeshkan


This study provides an overview of the knowledge management literature from 1980 through 2014. We employ bibliometric and text mining analyses on a sample of 500 most cited articles to examine the impact of factors such as number of authors, references, pages, and keywords on the number of citations that they received. We also investigate major trends in knowledge management literature including the contribution of different countries, variations across publication years, and identifying active research areas and major journal outlets. Our study serves as a resource for future studies by shedding light on how trends in knowledge management research have evolved over time and demonstrating the characteristics of the most cited articles in this literature. Specifically, our results reveal that the most cited articles are from United States and United Kingdom. The most prolific year in terms of the number of published articles is 2009 and in terms of the number of citations is 2012. We also found a positive relationship between the number of publications’ keywords, references, and pages and the number of citations that they have received. Finally, the Journal of Knowledge Management has the largest share in publishing the most cited articles in this field.


Bibliometric Citation analysis Knowledge management Research productivity 



Authors would like to express their special thanks to anonymous reviewers that really enriched this research with their valuable comments by three rounds of review.


  1. Adams, J. (2005). Early citation counts correlate with accumulate impact. Scientometrics, 63(3), 567–581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, E. (1992). Japanese firms emphasize technology management. Chemical & Engineering News, 70(40), 46–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bjørnson, F. O., & Dingsøyr, T. (2008). Knowledge management in software engineering: A systematic review of studied concepts, findings and research methods used. Information and Software Technology, 50(11), 1055–1068.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Crilly, T., Jashapara, A. & Ferlie, E. (2009). Research utilization and knowledge mobilisation: a scoping review of the literature. Draft report, SDO, Southampton.Google Scholar
  5. Eshraghi, A., Osman, N., Gholizadeh, H., Ali, S., & Shadgan, B. (2013). 100 top-cited scientific papers in limb prosthetics. BioMedical Engineering OnLine, 12(1), 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Falagas, M. E., Zarkali, A., Karageorgopoulos, D. E., Bardakas, V., & Mavros, M. N. (2013). The impact of article length on the number of future citations: a bibliometric analysis of general medicine journals. PLoS ONE, 8(2), e49476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Garfield, E. (1972). Citation analysis as a tool in journal evaluation. Science, 178, 471–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gu, Y. (2004). Global knowledge management research: A bibliometric analysis. Scientometrics, 61(2), 171–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Guo, Z., & Sheffield, J. (2008). A paradigmatic and methodological examination of knowledge management research: 2000 to 2004. Decision Support Systems, 44(3), 673–688.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ida, T., & Fukuzawa, N. (2013). Effects of large-scale research funding programs: A Japanese case study. [Article]. Scientometrics, 94(3), 1253–1273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Inzelt, A., Schubert, A., & Schubert, M. (2009). Incremental citation impact due to international co-authorship in Hungarian higher education institutions. Scientometrics, 78(1), 37–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kane, H., Gillian, R., & Charles, O. (2006). Knowledge management methodologies. The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management, 4(2), 141–152.Google Scholar
  13. Karami, A., Rowley, J., & Analoui, F. (2006). Research and knowledge building in management studies: An analysis of methodological preferences. International Journal of Management, 23(1), 43–52.Google Scholar
  14. Lipetz, B. A. (1999). Aspects of JASIS authorship through five decades. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 50(11), 994–1003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Marks, R. H. (2001). Learned societies adapt to new publishing realities. In E. Fredrickson (Ed.), A Century of Science Publishing: A Collection of Essay (pp. 91–96). Amsterdam: IOS Press.Google Scholar
  16. Moed, H. F., Luwei, M., & Nederhof, A. J. (2002). Towards research performance in the humanities. Library Trends, 50(3), 498–520.Google Scholar
  17. Narin, F., Stevens, K., & Whitlow, E. S. (1991). Scientific co-operation in Europe and the citation of multinationally authored papers. Scientometrics, 21(3), 313–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Nicolini, D., Powell, J., Conville, P., & Martinez-Solano, L. (2008). Managing knowledge in the healthcare sector: A review. International Journal of Management Reviews, 10(3), 245–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nonaka, I., & Peltokorpi, V. (2006). Objectivity and subjectivity in knowledge management: A review of 20 top articles. Knowledge and Process Management, 13(2), 73–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ponce, F. A., & Lozano, A. M. (2010). Highly cited works in neurosurgery. Part I: The 100 top-cited papers in neurosurgical journals: A review. Journal of Neurosurgery, 112(2), 223–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ponzi, L. (2002). The intellectual structure and interdisciplinary breadth of knowledge management: A bibliometric study of its early stage of development. Scientometrics, 55(2), 259–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Qiu, J., & Lv, H. (2014). An overview of knowledge management research viewed through the web of science (1993–2012). Aslib Journal of Information Management, 66(4), 424–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rezazadeh Mehrizi, M. H., & Bontis, N. (2009). A cluster analysis of the KM field. Management Decision, 47(5), 792–805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Scandura, T. A., & Williams, E. A. (2000). Research methodology in management: Current practices, trends, and implications for future research. Academy of Management Journal, 43(6), 1248–1264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Schultze, U., & Leidner, D. E. (2002). Studying knowledge management in information systems research: Discourses and theoretical assumptions. MIS Quarterly, 26(3), 213–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Schultze, U., & Stabell, C. (2004). Knowing what you don’t know? Discourses and contradictions in knowledge management research. Journal of Management Studies, 41(4), 549–573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Serenko, A. (2013). Meta-analysis of scientometric research of knowledge management: discovering the identity of the discipline. Journal of Knowledge Management, 17(5), 773–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Serenko, A., & Bontis, N. (2013). The intellectual core and impact of the knowledge management academic discipline. Journal of Knowledge Management, 17(1), 137–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Serenko, A., Bontis, N., Booker, L., Sadeddin, K., & Hardie, T. (2010). A scientometric analysis of knowledge management and intellectual capital academic literature (1994–2008). Journal of Knowledge Management, 14(1), 3–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Serenko, A., & Dumay, J. (2015a). Citation classics published in knowledge management journal. Part I: Articles and their characteristics. Journal of Knowledge Management, 19(2), 401–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Serenko, A., & Dumay, J. (2015b). Citation classics published in knowledge management journal. Part II: Studying research trends and discovering the Google Scholar Effect. Journal of Knowledge Management, 19(6), 1335–1355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. So, M., Kim, J., Choi, S., & Park, H. W. (2015). Factors affecting citation networks in science and technology: focused on non-quality factors. Quality & Quantity, 49(4), 1513–1530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Thelwall, M. (2008). Bibliometrics to webometrics. [Review]. Journal of Information Science, 34(4), 605–621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tsai, Y. L., Lee, C. C., Chen, S. C., & Yen, Z. S. (2006). Top-cited articles in emergency medicine. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 24(6), 647–654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Van Leeuwen, T., & Tijssen, R. (2000). Interdisciplinary dynamics of modern science: Analysis of cross disciplinary citation flows. Research Evaluation, 9(3), 183–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wildgaard, L. (2015). A comparison of 17 author-level bibliometric indicators for researchers in Astronomy, Environmental Science, Philosophy and Public Health in Web of Science and Google Scholar. Scientometrics, 104(3), 873–906.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peyman Akhavan
    • 1
  • Nader Ale Ebrahim
    • 2
  • Mahdieh A. Fetrati
    • 3
  • Amir Pezeshkan
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of ManagementMalek Ashtar University of TechnologyTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Engineering Design and ManufactureUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  3. 3.Aalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark
  4. 4.Department of Management and International Business, Merrick School of BusinessUniversity of BaltimoreBaltimoreUSA

Personalised recommendations