Higher Education

, Volume 67, Issue 4, pp 457–472 | Cite as

Growth or steady state? A bibliometric focus on international comparative higher education research

  • Anna KosmützkyEmail author
  • Georg KrückenEmail author


The study combines a bibliometric approach with a content analysis of abstracts of articles to explore the patterns of international comparative higher education research in leading international journals. The overall data set covers 4,095 publications from the Web of Science for the period 1992–2012 and the amount of international comparative articles in this data set is analyzed utilizing a geographical coding. Contrary to a general proliferation of international and global trends in higher education, the results of the analysis most importantly reveal a relatively steady state of international comparative higher education research over the past 20 years. Further patterns examined show that international collaborative articles have a much higher share in international comparative research compared to non-comparative research, small-scale country clusters are preferred for comparison and there is a dense network of comparative clusters between Europe and the US. Finally, rationales for these patterns are discussed, as well as potential implications.


Comparative higher education Bibliometrics Higher education journals Country clusters Collaboration 



We thank Michael Borggräfe for his assistance on the data coding, Stefan Pump for his help with the setup of the database, and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Centre for Higher Education Research (INCHER-Kassel)University of KasselKasselGermany

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