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Past, Present, and Future of Virtual Water and Water Footprint

by 1,*, 1 and 2,*
Faculty of Geography, Philipps-Universität Marburg, 35032 Marburg, Germany
School of Geographical Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(11), 3068;
Received: 28 September 2020 / Revised: 14 October 2020 / Accepted: 30 October 2020 / Published: 2 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint Assessment Research)
Virtual water and water footprint have received increasing attention. However, no published research has conducted a quantitative and objective review of this field from the perspective of bibliometrics. Therefore, based on the Web of Science Core Collection, this study employs CiteSpace to quantitatively analyze and visualize information about countries, institutions, and authors that have conducted virtual water and water footprint research over the past two decades. As of July 2020, there were 1592 publications on virtual water and water footprint, showing an increasing trend overall. The annual average number of publications was only 7.4 in 1998–2008, while it was 126.5 in 2009–2019. Among them, up to 618 publications in the field of environmental science, accounting for 46%. China was the most productive country with a total of 344 articles, but the Netherlands had the strongest influence with a betweenness centrality of 0.33, indicating its leading position. It is essential to strengthen cooperation between developed (water-rich) and developing (water-poor) countries and to incorporate virtual water into social water cycle research. This study is expected to provide a new perspective for investigating the research frontiers and hot spots of virtual water and water footprint research. View Full-Text
Keywords: virtual water; water footprint; CiteSpace; web of science; bibliometrics virtual water; water footprint; CiteSpace; web of science; bibliometrics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ma, W.; Opp, C.; Yang, D. Past, Present, and Future of Virtual Water and Water Footprint. Water 2020, 12, 3068.

AMA Style

Ma W, Opp C, Yang D. Past, Present, and Future of Virtual Water and Water Footprint. Water. 2020; 12(11):3068.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ma, Weijing; Opp, Christian; Yang, Dewei. 2020. "Past, Present, and Future of Virtual Water and Water Footprint" Water 12, no. 11: 3068.

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