A bibliometric review of research on higher education for sustainable development, 1998-2018

Philip Hallinger, Chatchai Chatpinyakoop

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

169 Citations (Scopus)


Over the last twenty years, higher education for sustainable development (HESD) has attracted increasing interest from scholars, students, and academic institutions globally. This bibliometric review of research analyzed 1459 Scopus-indexed documents related to higher education for sustainable development. The goals of the review were to document the volume, growth trajectory, and geographic distribution of the HESD literature, identify key authors, journals, and publications, analyze the intellectual structure of this knowledge base, and highlight emerging research issues. The review documented a rapidly growing knowledge base of recent vintage,mostly authored by scholars located in developed societies. Four core journals were identified, based on the volume of HESD publications and citation impact. Author co-citation analysis revealed three research clusters that underlie this knowledge base: Managing for Sustainability in Higher Education, HESD Competencies, and Implementation of HESD. This review provides a benchmark for future reviews of research on HESD, reveals the emerging intellectual structure of this inter-disciplinary field, and offers reference points for scholars entering this discipline.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2401
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Bibliometric review
  • Education for sustainable development
  • Higher education
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable development
  • Systematic review
  • University

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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