Emerging trends and new developments in disaster research after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake

C. Wang, J. Wu, X. He, M. Ye, W. Liu, R. Tang

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.On the tenth anniversary of the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake, investigating the evolution of disaster science is worthwhile and can be used to improve the future execution of disaster risk management. Based on more than 55,786 articles on the relative topic of “Disaster” derived from the Web of Science Core Collection from 1999–2017, this study employs CiteSpace and Google Earth to identify and visualize the spatial distribution of publications, bursts of keywords and categories, highly cited references, and interdisciplinary levels and then identify the emerging trends of disaster research over the past 20 years. The results show that the earthquake indeed jumpstarted a massive wave of disaster research around the world and increased international cooperation over the last decade. However, in terms of both the quantity and quality of publications in disaster research fields, China is lagging behind the U.S. and European countries. Moreover, although designing disaster prevention and mitigation strategies is a new popular field of disaster science, geological environment changes and geologic hazards triggered by earthquakes are more popular research topics than disaster emergency and recovery. In addition, the transdisciplinary level of disaster science increased after the earthquake. This interdisciplinary characteristic of disaster science gradually increased in popularity, which demonstrates that people can learn from catastrophes. These emerging trends could serve as a scientific basis to clearly understand disaster science progress over the last 20 years and provide a reference for rapidly identifying frontier issues in disaster science.
Original languageEnglish
Article number29
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, grant number 41571492, and the National Key Research and Development Program, grant number 2016YFA0602403.

FundersFunder number
National Natural Science Foundation of China41571492


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