Title / Titel:

The Sustainable Development Goals in Scientific Literature: A Bibliometric Overview at the Meta-Level

Author / Autor:

Christine Meschede

Source / Quelle:


Language / Sprache:




In 2015, the UN adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), addressing social, environmental, and economic targets. Global partnerships, transnational, and interdisciplinary research are essential for achieving progress towards the SDGs. This study analyzes 4593 research articles at the meta-level, explicitly referring to the SDGs. This a comparably small amount of research items directly addressing the goals. However, comparisons with existing approaches using different queries are possible. Research that links to the SDGs through its title, keywords, or abstract facilitates knowledge sharing on the goals as it is easier to identify relevant work. Using scientometric means, we assessed the corresponding sources, research areas, affiliated countries, thematic foci, and the availability of funding acknowledgments. The results are useful for identifying research gaps and potential collaboration possibilities. The outcomes suggest that most research referring to the SDGs comes from the research areas Life Sciences & Biomedicine and Social Sciences. The most predominant SDG among the analyzed research articles is SDG 3 (“good health and well-being”). A relatively high share of open access articles contributes to the idea of knowledge sharing for the SDGs. Nearly 37% of all articles count as international publications, i.e., as being co-authored by authors from affiliations of multiple countries.

Keywords: sustainable development goals; bibliometric study; multidisciplinary research; transnational cooperation

Open Access: https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114461


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