Higher education, heavily influenced by technological and social changes, has gained popularity as a research field in recent times. Mass access to higher education and the democratization of knowledge thanks to the expansion of the internet, along with other central issues taking place in the social and technological spheres, have shaken the foundations of higher education. This disruption experienced in higher education has led to the emergence of a comprehensive body of academic research studies analyzing not only innovative teaching methodologies but also revising all the stages of the teaching process to promote meaningful learning.
This research aims at providing an overview of the latest trends in higher education by implementing a bibliometric analysis for the period 1996-2018 using the Web of Science (WoS) database. The most productive and influential research works, authors, universities and countries are analyzed.
Bibliometric allows us to analyze the year to year evolution of citations and also to see what topics are recurrently dealt with among the most cited articles. Additionally, the 50 most productive and influential universities and countries are reported, thus contextualizing research activity worldwide. By taking a systematic approach to assessing the evolution of higher education as a rapidly growing area of study, objective and quantifiable information is provided for scholars to assess possible future opportunities for research.
Results, Discussion and Conclusions
Results confirm the growing interest of academics in higher education while highlighting social networks as a hot topic in this field of research. Most productive authors for the period under analysis are George Veletsianos (Canada), Bart Rienties (United Kingdom) and Royce Kimmons (United States). An in-depth study of the most productive and influential universities give the leadership to the Open University (United Kingdom) followed by the University of Seville (Spain). Regarding countries, United States, United Kingdom and Spain lead the podium, although citations of Estonia stand out in relative terms according to population.
The bibliometric analysis of higher education as a research field presented here provides readers with unbiased information on the current state of this area of study, thus facilitating decision-making for researchers who wish to publish about higher education.