Circular economy scientific knowledge in the European Union and China: A bibliometric, network and survey analysis (2006-2016)

Serdar Turkeli*, Rene Kemp, Beijia Huang, Raimund Bleischwitz, Will McDowall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


In this article, we analyse the evolution of circular economy (ce) scientific knowledge in the most productive political geographies in the field, namely the european union (eu) 28 and china by using bibliometric, network and survey analysis. Our objective is to provide a systemic, quantitative, visio-temporal review of the evolution of the ce scientific research field. Using web of science (wos) database and scopus, we trace the bibliometric characteristics of key research terms, their co-occurrences, publication (co)authorships at multi-level (author, institute, city, region, country), issue journals, literature citations and funding sources. Our findings from co-authorship, citation, co-citation, bibliometric coupling, co-occurrence and network analyses indicate that china and the eu have the highest amount of ce literature published and are each other's primary source of co-authorship. Emerging or reiterated main themes in the joint ce literature between eu and china are emergy analysis, indicators; resource efficiency, food waste, zero waste; eco-cities, lifestyle and governance. There appears a good potential for international cooperation in the sectoral fields of automotive, construction and demolition, critical raw materials; in business, (new) business models, product and services platforms, and from security perspective, resource security, security of supply, given the paucity of co-authorship between china and the eu under these themes. In china; beijing, shenyang, dalian, shanghai are the most active cities with a central role of chinese academy of sciences at institution level of analysis. The most active eu institute is the delft university of technology in south holland, the netherlands. In europe, we observe countries citing ce literature yet with no or few publications. Journal of cleaner production is the most important outlet for publications on ce and also for joint publications of ce researchers in both china and eu-28. We conclude our article with future research agendas, and a positive note on existing interests in international cooperation based on our survey participated by highly-cited ce authors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1244-1261
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Circular economy
  • EU-28
  • China
  • Bibliometric and network analysis
  • Regions and cities
  • Future research directions
  • WEB


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