In this study, we apply a bibliometric analysis to characterize publication data on droughts, mainly focusing on drought indices (DIs), drought risk (DR), and drought forecast (DF). Data on publications on these selected topics were obtained through the Scopus database, covering the period from 1963 to June 2021. The DI-related publications, based on meteorological, soil moisture, hydrological, remote sensing, and composite/modeled Dis, accounted for 57%, 8%, 4%, 29%, and 2% of the scientific sources, respectively. DI-related studies showed a notable increase since the 1990s, due perhaps to a higher number of major droughts during the last three decades. It was found that USA and China were the two leading countries in terms of publication count and academic influence on the DI, DR, and DF studies. A network analysis of the country of residence of co-authors on DR and DF research highlighted the top three countries, which were the USA, China, and the United Kingdom. The most productive journal for the DI studies was found to be the International Journal of Climatology, whereas Natural Hazards was identified as the first-ranked journal for the DR and DF studies. In relation to individual researchers, Singh VP from the USA was found to be the most prolific author, having the greatest academic influence on DF study, whereas Zhang Q from China was identified as the most productive author on DR study. This bibliometric analysis reveals that further research is needed on droughts in the areas of risk management, water management, and drought management. This review maps trends of previous research in drought science, covering several important aspects, such as drought indices, geographic regions, authors and their collaboration paths, and sub-topics of interest. This article is expected to serve as an index of the current state of knowledge on drought warning systems and as guidance for future research needs.
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