Sustainability Science

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 515–527 | Cite as

What and how are we sharing? A systematic review of the sharing paradigm and practices

  • Hyeonju RyuEmail author
  • Mrittika Basu
  • Osamu Saito
Review Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Sustainable Production and Consumption


Sharing of resources, goods, services, experiences and knowledge is one of the fundamental practices that has been widely embedded in human nature. With the advance of information and communication technology, the realm of sharing has expanded drastically, which has led to the evolution of the ‘sharing paradigm’. In spite of the increasing attention on the new sharing phenomenon and its potential contribution to a sustainable and resilient society, there is a lack of comprehensive understanding of varied sharing practices in the context of sustainability and resilience. This study maps out the academic landscape of sharing studies and examines what and how we share by a systematic literature review. Based on the review of 297 peer-reviewed papers, we explore the features of varied sharing practices identified in academia. We also discuss research gaps in sharing paradigm studies and the potential contribution of sharing to building sustainable and resilient societies. Our results show regional and sectoral imbalances in the sharing studies. The findings also illustrate that sharing of manufactured goods and accommodations, and access-based sharing with monetary compensation via intermediaries such as online platforms are predominant. Our evaluation provides a bird’s-eye view of existing sharing studies and practices, enabling the discovery of new opportunities for sustainable and resilient societies.


Sharing paradigm Sharing economy Collaborative consumption Sustainability Resilience 



Our heartfelt thanks to Raffaela Kozar for her thorough proofreading of the manuscript. This study was supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (S-15-1, Japan’s Ministry of the Environment) and Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) Number 15KT0027.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Global Forestry, Department of Forest Policy and EconomicsNational Institute of Forest ScienceSeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of SustainabilityShibuyaJapan

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