Inderscience Publishers

E-commerce: the emergence of a field and its knowledge network

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Electronic commerce (e-commerce) describes the manner in which transactions take place over electronic networks, mostly over the internet. It includes the process of supplying, buying and selling goods, services and information electronically. This paper uses bibliometric epistemology to suggest that a number of publications have played catalytic roles in the formation of a knowledge network that underlies the rapidly developing field of e-commerce. The first four of the six properties of knowledge (Latour, 1987) – the 'what', 'where', 'when', by 'whom', 'how', and 'why' – are presented in the results. The paper presents the most highly cited e-commerce documents (including books and journals), highly cited researchers, their respective fields, topics and the publication media that disseminated their works. The formation stages of e-commerce clearly point to the emergence of an inter-disciplinary and comprehensive field.

Keywords: bibliometric epistemology, entrepreneurship, e-commerce, knowledge network, inter-disciplinary studies, electronic commerce

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