A scientometric analysis and critical review of construction related ontology research

Botao Zhong, Haitao Wu, Heng Li, Samad Sepasgozar, Hanbin Luo, Ling He

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

176 Citations (Scopus)


There is a wide range of literature on adopting ontology to solve construction problems, but no review of existing studies has systematically analyzed and visualized the trends in ontology research. This study reviews ontology research mainly published in the Scopus database from 2007 to 2017 with the combination of scientometric analysis and critical review. Scientometric analysis (e.g. co-author, co-word, co-citation, and clusters) objectively visualized the research status quo while a critical review was used to identify the research themes and challenges of ontology research in the construction industry. The results identified a large network of co-authors in this field to understand collaboration relationships. Over half the papers (53%) were published by the following three countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The top co-occurring keywords were “project management” at which ontology facilitates knowledge management and information retrieval. When the time factor was taken into consideration, keywords naturally evolved from “project management” and “knowledge management” to “building information modeling” and “compliance control” with the successful adoption of information techniques in the construction industry. Four research themes were identified with the combination of cluster analysis and critical review: “Domain ontology” “Industry foundation classes” “Automated compliance checking” and “Building information modeling”. This review provides an in-depth understanding of existing ontology research and indicates the emerging trends in this research domain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-31
Number of pages15
JournalAutomation in Construction
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • CiteSpace
  • Construction industry
  • Ontology
  • Research trends
  • Scientometrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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