A bibliometric analysis of reverse logistics research (1992-2015) and opportunities for future research

Jian Jun Wang, Haozhe Chen, Dale Rogers, Lisa M. Ellram, Scott J. Grawe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Purpose: Interest in reverse logistics (RL) as a critical component of supply chain management (SCM) is gaining more traction with both practitioners and academics. Because of RL’s growing strategic importance, it is imperative to conduct a timely and comprehensive literature review and to identify associated opportunities for future research. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach: In this paper, the researchers conduct an extensive bibliometric analysis of published academic articles on RL for the period of 1992-2015. Specifically, the CiteSpace software is utilized to conduct document co-citation analysis and burst detection analysis on 912 selected RL articles and their 22,642 references. Findings: This research identifies the most influential RL research publications/citations in each of the five periods and their research contribution. Using co-citation analysis, the authors are able to identify and illustrate major research themes, knowledge groups, and future research opportunities in the RL field. Originality/value: In contrast to existing literature review studies in the logistics field, the study uses impact factor as a key article selection criterion. The influential articles identified in this process well represent the core literature and RL body of knowledge and have important implications for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)666-687
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2017


  • Bibliometric analysis
  • Burst detection
  • Closed-loop supply chain
  • Co-citation analysis
  • Product recovery
  • Returns management
  • Reverse logistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


Dive into the research topics of 'A bibliometric analysis of reverse logistics research (1992-2015) and opportunities for future research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this