SDG 4 and SDG 8 in the knowledge economy: A meta-analysis in the context of post-COVID-19 recovery

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Almost all human activity spheres, from the health care system to the education system, were unprepared for the pandemic. This, in turn, has slowed down the progress in achieving sustainable development goals. The Sustainable Development Goals 4 “Quality Education” and 8 “Decent Work and Economic Growth” were particularly vulnerable. In addition, the widespread concern was caused in the context of the transition to a “knowledge-based economy”. This paper analyzes the readiness of the scientific community to provide preconditions for the acceleration of these SDGs achievements. To do this, a meta-analysis of the academic literature on SDG 4, SDG 8, and the knowledge-based economy during 2015–2021 was conducted. Several special methods and instruments were used, including Scopus, WoS, VosViewer, Publish or Perish, Google Trends, and Google Books Ngram Viewer. The results show the inability of the modern academic community to provide a theoretical and empirical framework for a successful transition to a knowledge-based economy, taking into account the need to achieve sustainability. This is partly due to the relative subject novelty and the lack of academic attention. The challenges posed by the pandemic (lockdowns, unemployment, closing of educational institutions, financial flows reorientation, etc.) together with potential threats (new pandemic, climate change, population displacement, armed conflicts, etc.) necessitate a radical intensification of academic activity in economics to achieve SDGs.

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    • Figure 1. Structural analysis of SDGs 4 and 8 subject areas in academic literature indexed in WoS over the period 2015–2021 as of November 25, 2021
    • Figure 2. Structural analysis of SDGs 4 and 8 subject areas in academic literature indexed in Scopus over the period 2015–2021 as of November 25, 2021
    • Figure 3а. Bibliometric map of publications on SDG 4 and other relevant terms imported from WoS, Scopus in-built instruments, and Publish or Perish by keywords co-occurrence (mix mode)
    • Figure 3b. Network connections with the term COVID-19
    • Figure 3c. Network connections with the term knowledge
    • Figure 4. Bibliometric map of publications on SDG 8 and other relevant terms imported from WoS, Scopus in-built instruments, and Publish or Perish by keywords co-occurrence (mix mode)
    • Figure 5. Bibliometric map of publications on SDG 4 and other relevant terms imported from WoS, Scopus in-built instruments, and Publish or Perish by authors (density mode)
    • Figure 6. Bibliometric map of publications on SDG 8 and other relevant terms imported from WoS, Scopus in-built instruments, and Publish or Perish by authors (density mode)
    • Figure 7. Internet queries concerning SDG 4, SDG 8, “Knowledge economy”
    • Figure 8. The level of Internet users’ interest in search queries on SDG 4, SDG 8, Knowledge Economy in 2015–2021: Top 10 countries, %
    • Figure 9. Ngram analysis of SDG 4 and SDG 8 in 1950–2019
    • Figure 10. Ngram analysis on SDG 4 and Knowledge economy in 1950–2009
    • Figure 11. Ngram analysis on SDG 8 and Knowledge economy in 1950–2009
    • Figure 12. Ngram analysis on Knowledge economy and COVID-19 in 1950–2009
    • Table 1. Key methodology instruments and their usage in the current study
    • Table 2. Static analysis of SDG 4 and SDG 8 in academic literature over the period 2015–2021 as of November 25, 2021
    • Table 3. Dynamic analysis of SDG 4 and SDG 8 in academic literature indexed in WoS over the period 2015–2021 as of November 25, 2021
    • Table 4. Dynamic analysis of SDG 4 and SDG 8 in academic literature indexed in Scopus over the period 2015–2021 as of November 25, 2021
    • Table 5. Systematization of publications by search terms through scientometric instruments for 2015–2021
    • Table А1. List of the manually selected most cited papers based on Bibliometric map of publications concerning SDG 8 and other relevant searching terms
    • Table А2. List of the manually selected most cited articles based on Bibliometric map of publications concerning SDG 8 and other relevant searching terms
    • Conceptualization
      Inna Makarenko, Alex Plastun, Yuriy Petrushenko
    • Formal Analysis
      Inna Makarenko, Stanislaw Alwasiak
    • Methodology
      Inna Makarenko, Anna Vorontsova
    • Project administration
      Inna Makarenko, Alex Plastun
    • Validation
      Inna Makarenko, Anna Vorontsova, Stanislaw Alwasiak
    • Writing – review & editing
      Inna Makarenko, Alex Plastun, Yuriy Petrushenko
    • Supervision
      Alex Plastun
    • Investigation
      Yuriy Petrushenko, Anna Vorontsova
    • Software
      Yuriy Petrushenko
    • Data curation
      Anna Vorontsova
    • Writing – original draft
      Anna Vorontsova
    • Resources
      Stanislaw Alwasiak
    • Visualization
      Stanislaw Alwasiak