Transboundary E-waste

Main authors, keywords, and journals.

The visualization below identifies the main authors, keywords, and journals comprising the body of scholarly literature identified by a search of terms comprising the initial statement used to seed the controversy map. Each column is organized in descending order by the number of articles in which each parameter (authors, keywords, and journals) appears. Moving the cursor over the flow lines connecting each column will dynamically show the relationship between authors, keywords, and journals. Clicking the "Source" tab below the diagram will open the visualization in a separate browser window making it easier to navigate.

The visualization was created using output from the Scopus database, a key source of information about scholarly, peer-reviewed literature. The output was then uploaded to the ScienceScape platform, a free tool developed by the Media Lab at Science Po. The full procedure for creating the visualization is described here.

The visualization helps us become oriented in the over 450 papers identified in the Scopus search. In effect, we might think of the main authors, keywords, and journals as main features of the landscape of scholarly literature that can act as way points for getting us oriented in a complex terrain.

Some key observations are apparent from the visualization. For example, several terms of art have become synonymous for scholars. We see 'e-waste', 'electronic waste', and 'wee' (waste electricals and electronics) as among the top key words authors have chosen to highlight in their work. Of course, the high rank of these synonyms is not entirely surprising since 'e-waste' and 'electronic waste' were included in the search terms based on the words appearing in the initial controversy map statement. More telling is what other keywords are more (and less) prominent. For example, 'recycling' is the second most prominent keyword. This association tells us something about how the issue of transboundary movements of e-waste is being framed in the scholarly literature. By way of contrast, note that 'reuse' appears well below recycling as a keyword.

We can orient ourselves from the point of view of the main journals as well. The most prominent journals are "Waste Management", "Waste Management and Research", and "Resources, Conservation, and Recycling". Broadly speaking, these journals focus on highly technical issues of interest to disciplines in engineering, materials science, and waste management. All have a strong quantitative character to them. Thus, these broad characteristics of the journals help us get a sense of the character of the scholarly conversations about the issue of transboundary e-waste flows. The technical and the quantitative predominate over other disciplines and approaches. Notice, for example, that the only journal in which one would find social science methods to be predominent is "Area".

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