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Most cited entrepreneurial ecosystems papers

The year 2023 was once again a busy year for the scientific community around entrepreneurial ecosystems. Judging by the number of publications in scientific journals, it appears that entrepreneurial ecosystems as a subject has gained significant popularity in the last 5 years. The figure below shows that after 2010, the year in which Daniel Isenberg first described the idea of an ecosystem for entrepreneurship, the number of publications has gradually increased. However, the growth in the number of publications per year seems to have stopped in 2023. Making 2022, for the time being, the busiest year for those who want to stay informed about scientific developments in the field of entrepreneurial ecosystems.

The papers on entrepreneurial ecosystems published over the period 2011 until 2023 were found by searching Scopus for papers that contain ‘entrepreneur* ecosystem’ or ‘entrepreneur* ecosystems’ in their title. This resulted in about 1300 published papers, of which 253 are published in 2022 and 248 published in 2023. When also papers that contain these search terms in their abstract or keywords are considered, a total of about 2200 papers is found. Note that these searches where done in the beginning of February 2024.

With 248 papers, 2023 was a full year, but which papers really matter? And of the almost 1300 published scientific papers, which have had the greatest impact so far? In this blog, we make a selection, a top-5 of the most-cited scientific papers each year from 2015 to 2023. By basing the selection on the number of citations a paper has received, we rely on the assessment of other published researchers who evidently deemed a paper to be of added value in their own research. In a way, these are the papers that matter.

This method does suffers from some important caveats, however. Firstly, a paper that was published some time ago, for example in 2017, has had more chance and time to be cited by other publications. Keeping the quality of a paper constant, a paper published in 2017 will generally have been cited more often than a paper published in 2022. Secondly, the selection of the top-5 most-cited papers is only a rough indication of the quality and added value of a paper. It certainly does not say everything about the impact a paper has had and/or may have in the future.

With these caveats in mind, a top-5 of the most-cited papers can still be an interesting method to get an idea of which publications have had an impact over the last years.

Top-5 most cited papers of 2015

  1. Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Regional Policy: A Sympathetic Critique by Stam
  2. The present state of entrepreneurship ecosystems in selected countries in Africa by Sheriff and Muffatto
  3. Business incubation: innovative services in an entrepreneurship ecosystem by Fernández Fernández, Blanco Jiménez and Cuadrado Roura
  4. Creating entrepreneurial communities: building community capacity for ecosystem development by Markley, Lyons and Macke
  5. What Europe Needs Is an Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship Ecosystem: Introducing EDIE by Groth, Esposito and Tse

Top-5 most cited papers of 2016

  1. The evolutionary dynamics of entrepreneurial ecosystems by Mack and Mayer
  2. A trajectory of early-stage spinoff success: the role of knowledge intermediaries within an entrepreneurial university ecosystem by Hayter
  3. Accelerating entrepreneurs and ecosystems: The seed accelerator model by Hochberg
  4. Female entrepreneurship in startup ecosystems worldwide by Berger and Kuckertz
  5. Applying the ecosystem metaphor to entrepreneurship: Uses and abuses by Isenberg

Top-5 most cited papers of 2017

  1. The Relational Organization of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems by Spigel
  2. The lineages of the entrepreneurial ecosystem approach by Acs, Stam, Audretsch and O’Connor
  3. Entrepreneurial ecosystems in cities: establishing the framework conditions by Audretsch and Belitski
  4. The digital entrepreneurial ecosystem by Sussan and Acs
  5. Looking inside the spiky bits: a critical review and conceptualisation of entrepreneurial ecosystems by Brown and Mason

Top-5 most cited papers of 2018

  1. Digital affordances, spatial affordances, and the genesis of entrepreneurial ecosystems by Autio, Nambisan, Thomas and Wright
  2. Toward a process theory of entrepreneurial ecosystems by Spigel and Harrison
  3. Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ecosystems by Malecki
  4. The emergence of entrepreneurial ecosystems: A complex adaptive systems approach by Roundy, Bradshaw and Brockman
  5. Entrepreneurship, institutional economics, and economic growth: an ecosystem perspective by Acs, Estrin, Mickiewicz and Szerb

Top-5 most cited papers of 2019

  1. Entrepreneurial ecosystem research: present debates and future directions by Cavallo, Ghezzi and Balocco
  2. Entrepreneurial ecosystems: economic, technological, and societal impacts by Audretsch, Cunningham, Kuratko, Lehmann and Menter
  3. A gendered look at entrepreneurship ecosystems by Brush, Edelman, Manolova and Welter
  4. Entrepreneurship ecosystems and women entrepreneurs: a social capital and network approach by Neumeyer, Santos, Caetano and Kalbfleisch
  5. The governance of entrepreneurial ecosystems by Colombo, Dagnino, Lehmann and Salmador

Top-5 most cited papers of 2020

  1. Digital entrepreneurship ecosystem: How digital technologies and collective intelligence are reshaping the entrepreneurial process by Elia, Margherita and Passiante
  2. Coronavirus and international business: An entrepreneurial ecosystem perspective by Ratten
  3. Dynamics of digital entrepreneurship and the innovation ecosystem: A multilevel perspective by Beliaeva, Ferasso, Kraus and Damke
  4. Industrial structure distortion and urban ecological efficiency from the perspective of green entrepreneurial ecosystems by Zhao, Shang and Song
  5. Meeting, mating, and intermediating: How incubators can overcome weak network problems in entrepreneurial ecosystems by van Rijnsoever

Top-5 most cited papers of 2021

  1. Entrepreneurial ecosystem elements by Stam and van de Ven
  2. A systematic literature review of entrepreneurial ecosystems in advanced and emerging economies by Cao and Shi
  3. Entrepreneurial ecosystem, entrepreneurial self-efficacy, and entrepreneurial intention in higher education: Evidence from Saudi Arabia by Elnadi and Gheith
  4. Entrepreneurial ecosystems: a dynamic lifecycle model by Cantner, Cunningham, Lehmann and Menter
  5. On the costs of digital entrepreneurship: Role conflict, stress, and venture performance in digital platform-based ecosystems by Nambisan and Baron

Top-5 most cited papers of 2022

  1. Toward an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Research Program by Wurth, Stam and Spigel
  2. Entrepreneurial ecosystems in an interconnected world: emergence, governance and digitalization by Bouncken and Kraus
  3. Building sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems: A holistic approach by Theodoraki, Dana and Caputo
  4. Measure Twice, Cut Once: Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Metrics by Leendertse, Schrijvers and Stam
  5. SMEs and digital transformation during a crisis: The emergence of resilience as a second-order dynamic capability in an entrepreneurial ecosystem by Khurana, Dutta and Singh Ghura

Top-5 most cited papers of 2023

  1. How digital technology promotes entrepreneurship in ecosystems by Zahra, Liu and Si
  2. Digital technology and national entrepreneurship: An ecosystem perspective by Zhang, van Gorp and Kievit
  3. Effects of human capital on entrepreneurial ecosystems in the emerging economy: the mediating role of digital knowledge and innovative capability from India perspective by Chaudhuri, Chatterjee, Vrontis and Vicentini
  4. An inquiry into the linkages between university ecosystem and students’ entrepreneurial intention and self-efficacy by Moraes, Fischer, Guerrero, Rocha and Schaeffer
  5. Digital entrepreneurial ecosystems: A systematic literature review by Bejjani, Göcke and Menter