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An exploration of trends and future directions in sustainability performance

Cite this dataset

Yang, Kaihan; Thoo, Ai Chin (2022). An exploration of trends and future directions in sustainability performance [Dataset]. Dryad.


Current global economic activities are increasingly being perceived as unsustainable. With Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) statement in 2015, sustainability performance has received significant attention from academics and practitioners. Thus, it is necessary to better understand the topics of interest and expand cooperation networks to advance studies in integrated efforts. The present bibliometric research intends to assess worldwide research tendency in sustainability performance on the foundation of publishing outputs, co-authorships amongst authors and affiliated countries, and cooccurrences of author keywords, as well as to identify gaps and make research recommendations. The analysis has reviewed, retrieved and analysed 3680 papers, which were published from 1997 to 2021. The outcomes reveal that since 1997, the sum of publications has been on the rise steadily. About a third of all global papers on sustainability performance was produced by researchers from the United States and Australia, outnumbering the remaining 138 countries/territories. Furthermore, among the 10 most prolific authors in sustainability performance, their current affiliations all belong to the university. Finally, this study proposes a significant research gap for future study of practitioners and researchers. The social sustainability and the relationship between the material flow analysis and sustainability performance should be noted.


How was this dataset collected: This data is This paper was based on the Scopus database core collection to guarantee the data's scientific and completeness. Based on the research question and objectives, the article searching keywords were established. Retrieved by Topic = “sustainability performance” or “triple bottom line” or “TBL”, the timespan is 1997–2021, and the retrieval time is 13 October 2021.

How has it been proceed: Four inclusion criteria (IC) were established:

IC1: To include papers that should contain the research subject, which was “sustainability performance”, and the research premises/objective should match the paper's objective.

IC2: To include papers that eliminated letters, editorials, duplications, book reviews, conference proceedings and unpublished research.

IC3: To include only papers within the analysis time (1997-2021).

IC4: To include papers that limited the research fields (called "subject area" in databases) to environmental science, engineering, commercial activities, economy and society-wise research, and decision-making sciences.

The inclusion criteria aided in selecting articles, and only articles that met all these criteria were selected.