Operations Research: Topics, Impact, and Trends from 1952–2019

Angelito Calma, William Ho, Lusheng Shao, Huashan Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper is a retrospective look at 68 years of publication output of Operations Research, revealing changes in its publications, its authors, and their impact over time and how these changes might affect researchers and practitioners in the present. A total of 5,440 journal articles from its inception in 1952 to 2019 are used. The analysis initially focuses on the most studied topics and then continues with the top research methods and research problems investigated. The top contributing countries and authors to the most investigated research problems are also studied. The results indicate that mathematical programming is the most common research method, whereas inventory is the most investigated problem. However, investigations related to pricing are growing significantly. The United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom publish the most papers, with the United States and Canada having similar publication profiles per capita. Inventory is the most popular research problem studied by North American, Asian, and Middle Eastern countries, whereas European countries focus on scheduling problems. In order to understand the latest research trend, we visualize the networks of the last 10 years of Operations Research that show dynamic programming as the most used method and pricing as the most studied problem. We further visualize the coauthor networks on both dynamic programming and pricing to identify the most significant clusters of researchers and the topics these research clusters collaborate on. Finally, we provide researchers information about where Operations Research is and where it is likely heading. © 2021 INFORMS
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1487-1508
Number of pages22
JournalOperations Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes


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