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A systematic literature review of closed-loop supply chains

Syed Asif Raza (Department of Operations Management and Business Statistics, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Article publication date: 6 June 2020

Issue publication date: 22 July 2020




This study research contributes in fulfilling the gap by carrying out a systematic literature review (SLR) of contemporary research studies in closed-loop supply chain (CLSC). To the best of the author’s knowledge, an SLR rooted in bibliometric analysis has not been carried focusing on advent developments in CLSC. SLR employs scientific methodologies to select papers from standard databases. The SLR using advanced bibliometric and network analysis enables unveiling the key features of the contemporary literature.


The author has analyzed over 333 documents published from 2008 and onward. Using the contemporary tools from bibliometric analysis tools, the author presented an exploratory analysis. A network analysis is utilized to visualize literature and create clusters for the cocited research studies, keywords and publication sources. A detailed multivariate analysis of most influential works published based top 100 articles via a cocitation matrix is done. The multivariate analysis used k-means clustering in which optimal number of clusters are estimated. The analysis is further extended by using a factor analysis, which enables determining the most influential clusters in the k-means clustering analysis.


The SLR using a bibliometric and network analysis enables unveiling the key features of the contemporary literature in CLSC. The author examined published research for influential authors, sources, region, among other key aspects. Network analysis enabled visualizing the clusters of cocited research studies, cowords and publication sources. Cluster analysis of cocited research studies is further explored using k-means clustering. Factor analysis extends findings by identifying most contributing grouping of research areas within CLSC research. Each clustering technique disclosed a unique grouping structure.


CLSC has received considerable attention, and its core areas start with focusing on reverse logistics concepts relating reuse, recycling, remanufacturing, among others. Contemporarily, the studies have enhanced reverse logistics core functionalities interfaced with the other interesting avenues related to CO2 emission reduction, greening and environmental protection, sustainability, product design and governmental policies. Earlier studies have presented a literature review of CLSC; however, these reviews are commonly conducted in the traditional manner where the authors select papers based on their area of expertise, interest and experience. As such these reviews fall short in utilizing the advanced tools from bibliometric analysis.



Raza, S.A. (2020), "A systematic literature review of closed-loop supply chains", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 27 No. 6, pp. 1765-1798.



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