Energy Efficiency

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 177–190 | Cite as

A bibliometric analysis of recent energy efficiency literatures: an expanding and shifting focus

  • Huibin DuEmail author
  • Linxue Wei
  • Marilyn A. Brown
  • Yangyang Wang
  • Zheng Shi
Original Article


To meet the energy requirements of sustainable economic growth, policymakers, analysts, and business leaders have increasingly turned to the role that energy efficiency might play. This has resulted in a growing energy efficiency literature, which is examined in this paper. Using bibliometric techniques, we analyze the database of Science Citation Index Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index covering the 1991–2010 period. Of the 8,244 publications, 78.8 % were journal articles, and about 95.5 % were published in English. Based on the h-index, an evaluative indicator, the USA has produced the most influential set of publications on energy efficiency, followed by Canada, UK, Japan, and China. In contrast, China is second to the USA in the volume of its publications. Correspondingly, the University of California at Berkeley, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Tsinghua University were the most productive research organizations. The three most common subjects examined in this body of research were “energy and fuels”, “environmental sciences”, and “electrical and electronic engineering”. Energy Policy has been the most productive journal, and “A water and heat management model for proton-exchange-membrane fuel-cells”, has had the most citations (587 through May 2012). Based on an analysis of article titles and keywords, we conclude that the hotspots of energy efficiency research have been green communications, renewable energy, and energy sustainability; green communications, in particular, has developed rapidly as a focus of energy efficiency publications in recent years.


Energy efficiency Bibliometrics Impact factor 



This work was supported by grant from the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (70801042). Thanks to Dr. Yuh-Shan Ho of Trend Research Centre, Asia University, Taichung, Taiwan for the data statistics of this paper; Dr. Jim Dai of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering for research support; and Joi N. Waddell of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Public Policy for format assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huibin Du
    • 1
    Email author
  • Linxue Wei
    • 1
  • Marilyn A. Brown
    • 2
  • Yangyang Wang
    • 1
  • Zheng Shi
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Management and EconomicsTianjin UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.School of Public PolicyGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Industrial and Systems EngineeringLehigh UniversityBethlehemUSA

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