Campus Units

Supply Chain and Information Systems

Document Type


Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management




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.

Design/methodology/approach: In this paper, the researchers conduct an extensive bibliometric analysis of published academic articles on reverse logistics (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, we 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, our 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


This is a manuscript of an article from Jian-Jun Wang, Haozhe Chen, Dale S. Rogers, Lisa M. Ellram, Scott J. Grawe, "A bibliometric analysis of reverse logistics research (1992-2015) and opportunities for future research", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Emerald Publishing Limited



File Format


Published Version