The landscape of risk communication research: A scientometric analysis

Floris Goerlandt, Jie Li, Genserik Reniers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Risk communication is a significant research domain with practical importance in supporting societal risk governance and informed private decision making. In this article, a high-level analysis of the risk communication research domain is performed using scientometrics methods and visualization tools. Output trends and geographical patterns are identified, and patterns in scientific categories determined. A journal distribution analysis provides insights into dominant journals and the domain’s intellectual base. Thematic clusters and temporal evolution of focus topics are obtained using a terms analysis, and a co-citation analysis provides insights into the evolution of research fronts and key documents. The results indicate that the research volume grows exponentially, with by far most contributions originating from Western countries. The domain is highly interdisciplinary, rooted in psychology and social sciences, and branching mainly into medicine and environmental sciences. Narrative themes focus on risk communication in medical and societal risk governance contexts. The domain originated from public health and environmental concerns, with subsequent research fronts addressing risk communication concepts and models. Applied research fronts are associated with environmental hazards, public health, medical risks, nuclear power, and emergency response to various natural hazards. Based on the results, various avenues for future research are described.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3255
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Bibliometrics
  • CiteSpace
  • Risk communication
  • Scientometrics
  • VOSviewer

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