The scholarly world of sustainability science is one that is international and interdisciplinary, but is one, on close reading of research contributions, editoral teams, journal citations, and geographic coverage, that has much unevenness. The focus of this paper is on the cyberspace boundaries between and within fields and disciplines studying sustainability; these boundaries separate knowledge gaps or uneven patterns in sustainability scholarship. I use the volume of hyperlinks on Google Search Engine and Google Scholar to illustrate the nature and extent of the boundaries in cyberspace that exist and also the subject and geographic gaps in the home countries of sustainability journal editors and editorial board members of 69 journals, many which have appeared since 2000. The results reveal that knowledge boundaries are part of the current nature of sustainability scholarship and that, while there is global coverage in our knowledge of sustainability, as well as sustainability maps and photographs, we know much less about sustainability in countries of the Global South than the Global North. This unevenness extends to the dominance of North America, Europe, and China as leaders in what we know. English-speaking countries also tend to dominate both journal editors and editorial board members, even though countries in the Global South have representation. The volumes of hyperlinks for the sustainability journals associated with both databases are similar with major interdisciplinary journals having the largest numbers. As the field of international sustainability science continues to evolve, it bears observing whether the cyberspace knowledge or boundary gaps will narrow in what is recognized by most science and policy scientists as one of the most important transdisciplinary fields of study in the Global South and North.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Brunn, Stanley D., "Cyberspace Knowledge Gaps and Boundaries in Sustainability Science: Topics, Regions, Editorial Teams and Journals" (2014). Geography Faculty Publications. 4.
Figure 1. Volume of entries in the google search engine for “sustainability + term” (for example, sustainability + policy) (9 January 2014).
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Figure 2. Volume of entries in google scholar for “sustainability + term” (for example, sustainability + policy) (9 January 2014).
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Figure 3. Hyperlinks for google search engine (left side) and google scholar (right side).
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Figure 4. Home countries claimed by editors of sustainable development journals (7 January 2014).
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Figure 5. Home countries claimed by editorial board members of sustainable development journals (7 January 2014).
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Figure 6. Home countries claimed by editorial board members of various journals (7 January 2014).
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Figure 7. “Sustainable development” number of hyperlinks (English) (google search engine, 2014).
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Figure 8. “Sustainable development maps” number of hyperlinks (English) (google search engine, 2014).
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Figure 9. “Sustainable development photos” number of HYPERLINKS (English) (google search engine, 2014).