June 21, 2024

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Bridging the financial divide: a bibliometric analysis on the role of digital financial services within FinTech in enhancing financial inclusion and economic development

33 min read

Analysis using Biblioshiny

Firstly, the analyses commenced with the innovative utilization of Biblioshiny, a powerful and user-friendly web application designed to simplify the bibliometric process. This state-of-the-art tool streamlines the extraction, organization, and visualization of complex research data, enabling researchers to effectively examine intricate patterns and trends in the vast realm of academic literature. By leveraging Biblioshiny’s capabilities, our study delves into the FinTech and financial inclusion landscape, unearthing valuable insights and fostering a deeper understanding of how digital financial services are reshaping access to financial resources and driving economic development.

After extraction from the Scopus database, the dataset comprising articles on FinTech and Financial Inclusion is presented in Table 1. This compilation exported from Biblioshiny and offers valuable insights pertaining to the research analysis in this domain.

Table 1 Main Information about the dataset.

Production and most important journals in FinTech and financial inclusion

The provided Fig. 2 represents a research production on the role of digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development. It highlights the number of articles published per year on financial technology (FinTech) and financial inclusion in the most important journals in the field, spanning from 2010 to 2023. The data reveals an increasing trend in the number of published articles, which indicates a growing interest in the subject matter. This can be attributed to rapid advancements in financial technology and the increasing recognition of the importance of financial inclusion in achieving economic growth and poverty reduction.

Fig. 2: Annual scientific production.
figure 2

Research production on the role of digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development.

Between 2010 and 2014, the research field experienced a slow but steady increase in the number of published articles, reflecting the early stages of exploration in the field. In 2015, there was a slight decrease in the number of articles, potentially due to fluctuations in research interest or funding. However, from 2016 to 2021, a significant surge in the number of publications occurred, reflecting the rapid development of FinTech solutions and the growing awareness of their potential in promoting financial inclusion. This trend continued in 2022, with a dramatic increase in the number of articles, which might be attributed to the expansion of FinTech applications and research on their impact on financial inclusion, as well as the growing importance of this subject in the context of economic development and sustainability.

It’s important to note that the data for 2023 only includes 77 articles. As the year is not yet complete, the number of publications is expected to increase by the end of the year. In conclusion, the table showcases the growing interest and research production in the field of FinTech and financial inclusion. This trend highlights the significance of digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development, which serves as the focus of your research paper.

Average citation per year

The provided Fig. 3 offers a bibliometrics analysis of research production on digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development, focusing specifically on the average citations per year for each year between 2010 and 2023. The table highlights the mean total citations per article and per year, providing insights into the reception and influence of research on FinTech and financial inclusion within the academic community.

Fig. 3: Average citation per year.
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Research production on digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development, focusing specifically on the average citations per year.

From Fig. 3, it can be observed that the citation impact of articles published in earlier years (2010–2012) is generally higher than those published in later years. This is an expected outcome, as older articles have had more time to accumulate citations. The citation impact of articles published between 2013 and 2018 remains relatively stable, with a slight peak in 2016 and 2017. This could be attributed to the growing interest in FinTech and financial inclusion during these years, resulting in more citable research.

However, there is a noticeable decrease in citation impact for articles published in more recent years (2019–2023). This can be attributed to the fact that newer articles have had less time to accrue citations. It is important to consider that the citation impact of these articles may increase in the coming years as they receive more attention from the academic community. It is essential to note that the citation impact of more recent articles is likely to evolve over time.

Most relevant sources

The provided Fig. 4 presents a bibliometrics analysis of the most relevant sources for research on the role of digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development. It showcases the top 10 sources, ranked by the number of articles published on the topic of FinTech and financial inclusion, highlighting the key publications in the field. The most relevant source for research in this area is “Sustainability (Switzerland),” with 43 articles published on the topic. This suggests that the journal has a strong focus on FinTech and financial inclusion, likely due to the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability research and the increasing importance of financial inclusion in the context of sustainable development.

Fig. 4: Most relevant sources.
figure 4

Most relevant sources for research on the role of digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development.

Other sources contribute significantly to the research field, encompassing a diverse range of disciplines. These include economics and finance journals such as “Cogent Economics and Finance,” “International Journal of Bank Marketing,” “International Journal of Social Economics,” “Finance Research Letters,” and “Applied Economics Letters.” The list also features publications related to technology forecasting and social change (“Technological Forecasting and Social Change”), telecommunications policy (“Telecommunications Policy”), enterprise development and microfinance (“Enterprise Development and Microfinance”), and development studies (“World Development”).

The analysis of the most relevant sources for research on the role of digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development serves as a valuable reference for researchers seeking to publish their work in reputable and influential outlets. These sources demonstrate the interdisciplinary nature of the research field and highlight the growing importance of FinTech and financial inclusion in a variety of academic disciplines.

Sources’ production over time

The analysis of Table 2 highlights a discernable trend of increasing scholarly interest and output in the field of FinTech and financial inclusion. The rapid proliferation of research in recent years underscores the growing recognition of the crucial role that digital financial services play in fostering financial access and bolstering economic development. Furthermore, this table substantiates the importance of the top six journals in shaping and advancing the discourse in this emergent and increasingly consequential domain of study.

Table 2 Number of articles published by the top 6 journals in FinTech and Financial Inclusion.

The table under examination, Table 2, elucidates the evolution of research production in the domain of Financial technology (FinTech) and financial inclusion, specifically focusing on the output of the top six academic journals in this field. The table spans from 2010 to 2023 and delineates the publication count for each journal as well as the cumulative total and respective percentage share of the publications. The six preeminent journals that constitute the crux of this analysis are Sustainability, Cogent Economics and Finance (CEF), Technological Forecasting and Social Change (TFSC), Telecommunications Policy (TP), International Journal of Bank Marketing (IJBM), and International Journal of Social Economics (IJSE).

A gradual upsurge in research production can be observed from 2016 onward, with the number of published articles displaying a consistent annual increase. The most significant growth transpired between 2017 and 2023, with the total number of published articles amplifying from a meagre three in 2017 to an impressive 98 in 2023. The year 2023 stands out as a zenith in research output, with all six journals experiencing a heightened level of scholarly contributions.

Among the six journals, Sustainability emerges as the most prolific contributor to the field, accounting for 41.11% of the total publications. In contrast, the International Journal of Social Economics occupies the lowest rung, with a 10.74% share of the published articles. The remaining four journals—Cogent Economics and Finance, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Telecommunications Policy, and International Journal of Bank Marketing—exhibit varying degrees of contribution, with their respective percentages ranging between 8.89 and 16.67%.

Figure 5 also illustrates the sources’ production over time for research on the role of digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development, focusing on the top six most relevant sources from 2010 to 2023. It is evident from Fig. 5 that the initial years, ranging from 2010 to 2012, witnessed a dearth of scholarly contributions in the field, with no articles published. However, a nascent emergence of research interest becomes apparent in 2013, with the publication of a solitary article in Telecommunications Policy. The following years, 2014 and 2015, also saw a modest increment, with one article published each year in the same journal.

Fig. 5: Sources’ production over time.
figure 5

Evolution in the number of articles published by the top 6 journals in FinTech and Financial Inclusion.

Most relevant author’s production over time

The provided, Fig. 6, showcases the top 10 authors’ production over time in the research field of Financial technology (FinTech) and financial inclusion, specifically on the role of digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development. The analysis of the top authors’ production over time is crucial for understanding the key researchers driving this field and identifying potential collaborators.

Fig. 6: Most relevant author’s production over time.
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Top 10 authors’ production over time in the research field of Financial Technology (FinTech) and Financial Inclusion, specifically on the role of digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development.

Wang X is the most productive author, with a total of 9 articles and a fractionalized count of 3.75. Asongu SA follows closely with 7 articles and a fractionalized count of 3. Other authors, such as Chen Y, Okello Candiya Bongomin G, Ahmad AH, Chen S, Iheanachor N, Ozili PK, Zhao Y, and Al-Okaily M, also contribute significantly to the research field.

The fractionalized count of articles takes into account shared authorship, giving partial credit to each author depending on their contribution to the publication. This metric provides a more accurate representation of the authors’ research output and their impact on the field.

By analyzing the production of the top 10 authors in the field of FinTech and financial inclusion, we can gain insights into the research trends and topics they are focused on. This information is beneficial for researchers who aim to engage with the leading experts in the field and build upon their work to contribute to the existing body of knowledge on the role of digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development.

Authors’ production over time

Figure 7 illustrates the top 10 authors’ scholarly output over time in the domain of Financial Technology (FinTech) and financial inclusion, with an emphasis on digital financial services’ role in fostering financial accessibility and economic growth. The figure provides data on the authors, publication years, total citations (TC), and annual citation rates (TCpY).

Fig. 7: Authors’ production over time.
figure 7

Top 10 authors’ production over time on FinTech and Financial Inclusion.

Wang X stands out as the most prolific author, with publications from 2020 to 2022 exhibiting diverse citation counts and yearly citation rates. Wang X’s peak TC occurred in 2020 with 45 citations and a corresponding TCpY of 11.25. Asongu SA, another noteworthy contributor, has a publication history spanning from 2018 to 2022. Their highest TC was 23 in 2020, accompanied by a TCpY of 5.75. Chen Y’s work ranges from 2020 to 2023, with their most notable TC of 160 in 2020 and a TCpY of 40. Okello Candiya Bongomin G’s publications, dating from 2018 to 2022, achieved their highest TC of 101 in 2018 and a TCpY of 16.83. Other authors, including Chen S, Ahmad AH, Ozili PK, Iheanachor N, and Zhao Y, also display diverse citation counts and annual citation rates.

Examining the top 10 authors’ total citations and yearly citation rates offers valuable insights into the significance and impact of their research within the FinTech and financial inclusion field. By exploring their scholarly production over time, researchers can pinpoint pivotal contributions and gain a deeper understanding of the research landscape’s evolution, focusing on key themes and influential publications.

Author’s local impact by H Index

Figure 8 presents the local impact of authors in the research domain of Financial Technology (FinTech) and financial inclusion, with a focus on the role of digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development, as measured by the H-Index. The H-Index is a valuable metric that captures both productivity and the impact of a researcher’s work by considering the number of publications and citations.

Fig. 8: Author’s local impact by H-Index.
figure 8

H-Index of each author is displayed, along with their G-Index, M-Index, total citations (TC), number of publications (NP), and the year of their first publication.

In Fig. 8, the H-Index of each author is displayed, along with their G-Index, M-Index, total citations (TC), number of publications (NP), and the year of their first publication (PY_start). Asongu SA, for example, has an H-Index of 4, a G-Index of 7, an M-Index of 0.67, 66 total citations, 7 publications, and began publishing in this area in 2018. Chen Y has a similar H-Index of 4, but with a G-Index of 6, an M-Index of 1, 217 total citations, and 6 publications since 2020.

The H-Index provides insights into the influence and relevance of each author’s research in the field of FinTech and financial inclusion. Higher H-Index values indicate that an author has a greater number of highly cited publications, signaling a more significant impact on the research community. The G-Index, M-Index, total citations, and the number of publications further illustrate each author’s scholarly contributions, allowing for a comprehensive understanding of their local impact within the research landscape. By examining these metrics, researchers can identify key contributors and their influence within the field, helping to recognize essential research topics and publications that have shaped the discourse on FinTech and financial inclusion.

Table 3 presents a comprehensive analysis of the top 10 authors within the realm of Financial technology (FinTech) and financial inclusion research. The table is divided into three distinct categories: Most Relevant Authors, Author Local Impact, and Most Local Cited Authors. Each category evaluates the authors based on distinct metrics, thereby offering a holistic view of their prominence and influence in the field. The first category, Most Relevant Authors, ranks authors by the total number of articles published (AP). Wang X emerges as the most prolific author, with nine articles to his credit, followed by Asongu SA with seven articles. Chen Y and Okello C.B.G are tied with six articles each, while the remaining authors in this category have published between four and five articles. This category highlights the authors who have significantly contributed to the body of knowledge in the field of FinTech and financial inclusion.

Table 3 Top 10 authors in terms relevance, local impact and local cited authors.

The second category, Author Local Impact, gauges the influence of authors on the basis of their H-index (h_index) and their regional affiliation (Element). The H-index is a widely recognized metric that quantifies both the productivity and impact of a researcher’s publications by considering the number of citations they receive. The table showcases six authors with an H-index of 4 and four authors with an H-index of 3. Asongu SA, Banna H, Chen Y, and Okello C.B.G boast the highest H-index values, signifying that their work has had a substantial impact within the academic community.

The third and final category, Most Local Cited Authors, assesses the authors’ influence by examining the total number of citations (TC) their work has garnered and their most locally cited (MLC) status. Ozili PK leads this category with a remarkable 439 citations, followed by Brooks S and Gabor D, each with 261 citations. The MLC column enumerates the number of times an author’s work has been cited by other researchers within their local research community, with the highest MLC value being 3.

Table 3 provides valuable insights into the leading authors in the field of FinTech and financial inclusion, emphasizing their scholarly contributions, local impact, and citation influence. By examining these three distinct categories, the table accentuates the importance of these authors in shaping the discourse and advancing knowledge within the realm of digital financial services and their role in promoting financial access and economic development.

Most global cited documents

Figure 9 presents the most globally cited documents in the research domain of Financial Technology (FinTech) and financial inclusion, emphasizing the role of digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development. The table highlights the papers, total citations, total citations per year (TC per Year), and normalized total citations (Normalized TC) for each document.

Fig. 9: Most globally cited documents.
figure 9

Most globally cited documents in the research domain of Financial Technology (FinTech) and Financial Inclusion, emphasizing the role of digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development.

The paper by Ozili (2018) published in 2018 in the Borsa Istanbul Review, has the highest total citations (364) and citations per year (60.67), indicating its significant impact on the research community. The paper also has a high normalized total citation value of 11.40, further emphasizing its relevance within the field.

Another noteworthy paper is by Gabor (2017), published in 2017 in the New Political Economy, with 261 total citations and 37.29 citations per year. Its normalized total citation value is 6.93, which also underscores its importance in the domain.

Other highly cited papers include Chen Y’s 2020 paper in the Journal of Business Venturing Insights, and Munyegera GK’s 2016 paper in World Development. These papers have relatively high total citations, citations per year, and normalized total citations, reflecting their influence and recognition within the research community.

By examining the most globally cited documents, researchers can identify the pivotal publications that have significantly contributed to shaping the discourse on FinTech and financial inclusion. These highly cited papers indicate the key topics, theories, and findings that have resonated with the research community and have the potential to guide future investigations in this area.

Table 4 delineates the most globally cited documents within the field of Financial technology (FinTech) and financial inclusion. This table offers a nuanced perspective on the most influential scholarly contributions, highlighting their impact and relevance within the research community. The table presents a list of ten research papers, outlining the publication year, total citations (TC), citations per year (TC per Year), and normalized total citations (Normalized TC).

Table 4 Most global cited documents.

The paper with the highest total citation count, as well as the highest normalized citation value, is “Ozili PK, 2018, Borsa Istanbul Review,” amassing a remarkable 364 citations and a normalized citation score of 11.40. The high normalized citation value signifies that this paper has garnered considerable attention and recognition within the academic community. Furthermore, the paper has a striking citation rate of 60.67 citations per year, reflecting its strong impact and relevance in the field of FinTech and financial inclusion. The second most globally cited paper is “Gabor D, 2017, New Political Economy,” with 261 total citations, a citation rate of 37.29 per year, and a normalized citation score of 6.93. This paper, like the aforementioned work by Ozili, has exerted a significant influence on the research community and has contributed profoundly to the body of knowledge in the domain. Other noteworthy papers featured in Table 4 include “Zins A, 2016, Review of Development Finance,” with 207 total citations, and “Li J, 2020, Economic Modelling,” with 183 total citations. These publications exhibit high citation rates of 25.88 and 45.75 per year, respectively, as well as normalized citation scores of 5.45 and 9.64. The remaining papers in the table also display commendable citation counts and normalized citation values, highlighting their contributions to the scholarly discourse on FinTech and financial inclusion. The list features works published between 2012 and 2020, indicating the ongoing interest in and evolution of this research area.

Table 5 delves into the most locally cited documents within the realm of Financial technology (FinTech) and financial inclusion. This table emphasizes the significance of these publications within their local research communities, providing a more nuanced understanding of their impact and relevance. The table lists ten documents, detailing the year of publication, local citations, global citations, the ratio between local and global citations, normalized local citations, and normalized global citations.

Table 5 Most local cited documents.

The first document, “Allen F, 2014, Journal of African Economics,” has garnered three local citations and 118 global citations. With a local-to-global citation ratio of 2.5, this paper exhibits a substantial impact both locally and globally. The normalized local and global citation values of 11 and 5.90, respectively, further underscore its importance within the academic community. “Asongu S, 2022, Quality & Quantity” is notable for its remarkable local-to-global citation ratio of 100.0, signifying that this paper has had an exceptional impact within its local research community. The normalized local citation value of 233 demonstrates its substantial local influence, while the normalized global citation value of 0.246 indicates a relatively modest global impact. The documents “Mehrotra A, 2019, International Conference on Automation, Computing, Technology and Management (ICACTM)” and “Senyo PK, 2020, International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS)” both have local-to-global citation ratios of 16.7, indicating their significance within the local research communities. The normalized local and global citation values for these papers further emphasize their relevance in the respective local and global contexts.

The remaining documents in Table 5 exhibit various local-to-global citation ratios, reflecting their diverse levels of local and global impact. For instance, “Ozili PK, 2018, Borsa Istanbul Review” has a local-to-global citation ratio of 0.3, while “Saraswati BD, 2020, Business Theory & Practice” has a ratio of 12.5. The normalized local and global citation values for these documents illustrate their relative importance within the local and global research communities.

Collaboration world map

By examining the collaboration world map, researchers can identify the key countries and partnerships that contribute significantly to the development of the research field. This understanding can help scholars recognize the existing collaborative networks, identify potential research partners, and foster future collaboration to address pressing challenges in FinTech and financial inclusion.

Figure 10 showcases the collaboration world map in the research field of Financial Technology (FinTech) and financial inclusion, emphasizing the role of digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development. The table lists the countries involved in collaborative research efforts and the frequency of these collaborations.

Fig. 10: Collaboration world map.
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Examining the collaboration map helps researchers pinpoint key countries and partnerships crucial to the research field’s growth.

Notably, China and the United States exhibit the highest frequency of collaborations, with 13 instances of joint research efforts. This finding highlights the strong research ties between these two influential countries in the FinTech and financial inclusion domain. Similarly, the United States and the United Kingdom also share a high frequency of collaborations, with 13 instances as well, indicating a robust research relationship between these two countries.

Furthermore, China and the United Kingdom have collaborated on seven research projects, while India and the United States have worked together on six projects. The United Kingdom and Australia have jointly conducted six research projects, demonstrating the strong collaborative ties between these two countries in this field.

Other noteworthy collaborations include those between Indonesia and Malaysia, the United States and Canada, and the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. These collaborations highlight the importance of international research cooperation in advancing the understanding of FinTech and financial inclusion globally.

Thematic map

Figure 11 represents thematic map analysis of the research conducted on the role of digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development. The table lists the most frequently occurring words, their respective clusters, cluster labels, betweenness centrality, closeness centrality, and PageRank centrality.

Fig. 11: Thematic map.
figure 11

Thematic map analysis of the research conducted on the role of digital financial services in promoting financial access and economic development.

The table is organized into two major clusters, as represented by the Cluster_Label column. Cluster 1, labeled “finance,” contains words primarily related to the financial aspects of FinTech and financial inclusion. Cluster 2, labeled “financial system,” focuses on the broader financial systems, services, and the impact of FinTech on economic development.

Betweenness centrality, closeness centrality, and PageRank centrality are network analysis metrics that help identify the most relevant and influential words within the clusters. A higher value for these centrality measures indicates a more influential and connected word in the network.

In Cluster 1, the most frequently occurring words include ‘finance’, ‘financial inclusions’, ‘electronic money’, and ‘financial service’, which have relatively high betweenness centrality, closeness centrality, and PageRank centrality values. These words signify the importance of finance and financial services in driving the FinTech and financial inclusion research. The cluster also encompasses specific concepts such as ‘mobile money’, ‘digital finance’, and ‘technology diffusion’, highlighting the critical role of technology in expanding financial access.

Cluster 2 focuses on the broader financial systems and their impact on economic development. High occurrence words include ‘financial system’, ‘financial services’, ‘banking’, and ‘economic development’. These words indicate the research’s emphasis on the interplay between FinTech, financial services, and their impact on economies. The cluster also contains words related to specific countries (e.g., ‘China’, ‘Kenya’, ‘Ghana’, ‘Nigeria’, ‘India’, ‘Indonesia’) and regions (e.g., ‘sub-Saharan Africa’), reflecting the geographical scope of the research.

From a thematic map perspective, the figure demonstrates the key topics and concepts studied in the research field of FinTech and financial inclusion. The two primary clusters emphasize the interrelationship between financial services, technology, and economic development, while also shedding light on the geographical focus of the research. The centrality measures provide insights into the most influential and connected words within the network, which can be useful in understanding the core themes and areas of focus within this research domain.

Trend topics

Figure 12 presents the trend topics in the domain of FinTech and financial inclusion, providing valuable insights into the frequency and distribution of these topics over the years, divided into quartiles (year_q1, year_med, and year_q3). The emergence of mobile communication in 2015, gaining significant attention by 2018, highlights the increasing importance of mobile connectivity in driving financial inclusion. Mobile devices play a crucial role in accessing digital financial services. Microfinance, a topic that gained prominence in 2019, demonstrates the ongoing relevance of alternative financing solutions that cater to the unbanked and underbanked populations, contributing to financial inclusion.

Fig. 12: Trend topics.
figure 12

Trend topics in the domain of FinTech and Financial Inclusion, providing valuable insights into the frequency and distribution of these topics over the years.

The growing significance of money services, such as remittances and mobile money in promoting financial access, is evident with the emergence of this topic in 2018 and its sustained relevance until 2022. Telecommunication companies’ role in enabling digital financial services is underscored by the topic of telecommunication, which surfaced in 2016. The expanding range of digital financial services and their potential to bridge the financial access gap are emphasized by the widely-discussed topic of financial services, spanning from 2018 to 2021.

The ongoing transformation of traditional banking systems and their integration with FinTech solutions to promote financial inclusion are indicated by the sustained interest in banking from 2019 to 2021. The growing importance of mobile phones as a primary tool for accessing digital financial services, particularly in developing countries, is reflected by the prevalence of this topic from 2018 to 2021. The broader implications of FinTech and financial inclusion on the global financial system are highlighted by the significant traction of the financial system topic from 2020 to 2022.

Financial inclusion’s growing recognition as a critical component of sustainable economic development is suggested by the increased attention to this topic from 2020 to 2022. The potential of FinTech and financial inclusion initiatives to address the challenges faced by developing countries in promoting financial access is underscored by the developing world topic, gaining prominence from 2018 to 2022. The widespread interest in the role of FinTech and financial inclusion in shaping the financial landscape is reflected by the broad topic of finance, which peaked in 2022.

China’s increasing influence in the FinTech and financial inclusion domains, driven by rapid adoption of digital financial services and innovative regulatory frameworks, is highlighted by the focus on China from 2021 to 2022. The interconnectedness between financial inclusion and economic development, as increased access to financial services drives growth and reduces poverty, is emphasized by the prominence of the economic development topic from 2020 to 2022. The emerging focus on Africa in 2023 reflects the growing interest in the region’s potential for leveraging FinTech to promote financial inclusion, given its large unbanked population and widespread mobile phone adoption.

Lastly, the social and economic empowerment that financial inclusion can bring to marginalized and underserved communities through digital financial services is highlighted by the emerging topic of empowerment, which surfaced in 2022 and continues to gain traction in 2023. The figure illustrates the evolving landscape of FinTech and financial inclusion research, shedding light on the critical themes and trends shaping the field.

Analysis using VOSviewer

Subsequently, the study employed VOSviewer, a cutting-edge software application tailored for creating, visualizing, and exploring bibliometric networks. VOSviewer facilitates the analysis of intricate relationships among research publications, authors, and institutions, unveiling the interconnectedness of the scholarly community. By harnessing the power of VOSviewer, the investigation reveals the dynamics of the FinTech and financial inclusion research landscape, highlighting key influencers, emerging trends, and synergies that contribute to the evolution of the field. The integration of VOSviewer’s advanced features not only enriches our comprehension of the subject matter but also enables us to identify potential avenues for future research and collaboration. It includes;

Co-authorship analysis

Institutional collaboration network analysis

The Institutional Collaboration Network Analysis unveils a core group of institutions actively collaborating and contributing to the research on FinTech and financial inclusion (Fig. 13). The leading institutions exert a considerable impact on the field through their robust collaborative networks and influential research outputs. The analysis offers valuable insights for researchers and institutions looking to establish strategic collaborations and expand their research networks within the FinTech and financial inclusion domain.

Fig. 13: Institutional Collaboration Network Analysis.
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It unveils a core group of institutions actively collaborating and contributing to the research on FinTech and Financial Inclusion.

To this end, we have established specific thresholds: a minimum of one document per organization and a minimum of 30 citations. Among 1381 organizations, 162 meet these criteria. For each organization, the total strength of co-authorship links with other institutions has been calculated. A total of 164 organizations were chosen for analysis. While not all of these organizations are interconnected, the largest set of connected items consists of 18 organizations, indicating a core group of institutions actively collaborating within the FinTech and financial inclusion research domain. The Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in London, United Kingdom, and Imperial College London, United Kingdom, emerge as prominent organizations in this network, with maximum link strengths of 14 and 10, respectively. These institutions signify strong collaborative relationships within the research community.

In terms of citation count, the leading institutions are Essex Business School at the University of Essex, United Kingdom, with 364 citations; Bristol Business School at the University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom, with 261 citations; and Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York, York, United Kingdom, also with 261 citations. These high citation counts demonstrate their substantial contributions to the FinTech and financial inclusion research landscape. Other organizations with notable total link strengths include the World Bank in Washington, DC, United States; African Economic Research Consortium in Nairobi, Kenya; Bocconi University in Milan, Italy; Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA, United States; Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Chile in Santiago, Chile; and IGIER in Milan, Italy, among others. These institutions exhibit significant collaboration patterns within the research domain.

Country network analysis

The Country Network Analysis reveals that the United Kingdom, China, and the United States are the leading countries in terms of research contributions and collaborative patterns in the FinTech and financial inclusion domain (Fig. 14). Other countries, though actively participating in the research network, have room for growth and opportunities for enhanced collaboration. This analysis offers valuable insights for researchers and institutions seeking to establish strategic partnerships and expand their research networks on a global scale within the FinTech and financial inclusion domain.

Fig. 14: International connectivity patterns.
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The Country Network Analysis shows that the UK, China, and the US lead in research and collaboration in the FinTech and Financial Inclusion sector.

Thresholds for the analysis were set as follows: a minimum of two documents for a country and a minimum of 0 citations. Out of 105 countries, 52 met these thresholds. For each of these countries, the total strength of co-authorship links with other countries was calculated. The country with the greatest link strength was selected, resulting in a total of 52 countries. Some of these 52 items in the network are not connected to each other, with the largest set of connected items consisting of 51 items.

Based on the citation count, the United Kingdom emerges as the leading country with 2247 citations, followed by China with 1740 citations and the United States with 1546 citations. These countries have made substantial contributions to the FinTech and financial inclusion research landscape. Other notable countries in terms of citation counts include India, Australia, France, South Africa, the Netherlands, Malaysia, and Germany.

The total link strength, which represents the collaborative network among countries, also highlights the United Kingdom as the central player with 82 total link strength points. The United States follows closely with 80 points, and China occupies the third position with 43 points. This demonstrates that these countries are actively collaborating and fostering strong research relationships within the FinTech and financial inclusion domain. In addition, countries such as Malaysia, Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands, France, Germany, and India showcase varying levels of total link strength, indicating their involvement in the collaborative research network. However, their lower total link strength values in comparison to the United Kingdom, China, and the United States suggest that there is potential for expanding and strengthening research collaborations within the FinTech and financial inclusion field.

Co-occurrence investigation

The Co-occurrence Analysis reveals the primary themes, trends, and focus areas within the FinTech and financial inclusion research domain (Fig. 15). Financial inclusion, fintech, mobile money, and financial literacy emerge as central themes, while digital finance, mobile banking, and digital financial inclusion highlight the crucial role of technology in the field. The presence of blockchain and China as keywords indicates the evolving nature of the research landscape, with potential for further exploration of emerging technologies and regional perspectives.

Fig. 15: Keyword relationship cartography.
figure 15

The Co-occurrence Analysis highlights key themes and trends in FinTech and Financial Inclusion research.

Thresholds for the analysis were set as follows: a minimum of five occurrences for a keyword. Out of 1700 keywords, 86 met these thresholds.

Based on the number of occurrences, “financial inclusion” is the most prominent keyword with 309 occurrences, followed by “fintech” with 165 occurrences. This indicates that financial inclusion and fintech are the central themes of research within the domain. The focus on these keywords demonstrates the interest in exploring the role of FinTech in enabling financial access and promoting economic development.

“Mobile money” is another significant keyword with 107 occurrences, reflecting the growing importance of mobile-based financial services in expanding financial inclusion. The keyword “financial literacy” occurs 59 times, highlighting the role of financial education in enhancing the effective use of FinTech services and promoting financial inclusion. Other important keywords include “digital finance” (48 occurrences), “financial technology” (46 occurrences), and “mobile banking” (40 occurrences), emphasizing the relevance of digital solutions in transforming the financial services landscape. “Digital financial inclusion” (32 occurrences) further underscores the focus on leveraging digital technology to promote inclusive finance.

“Blockchain” (22 occurrences) and “China” (22 occurrences) also feature as notable keywords. The emergence of blockchain as a keyword indicates the increasing interest in exploring its potential applications in the FinTech and financial inclusion space. China’s presence as a keyword reflects the country’s significant role in driving FinTech innovations and shaping the global discourse on financial inclusion.

Bibliographic coupling insights

Document interconnectedness analysis

The document interconnectedness analysis offers insights into the influential papers in the FinTech and financial inclusion research domain, as well as the relationships between these papers based on shared citations (Fig. 16). The high citation count and total link strength of some documents highlight their importance within the field, while others show relatively lower interconnectedness despite a high citation count. This analysis can guide researchers in identifying key literature and understanding the thematic relationships within the domain.

Fig. 16: Bibliographic coupling—documents interconnectedness.
figure 16

The Document Interconnectedness Analysis shows influential papers in FinTech research and their relationships via shared citations.

Thresholds for the analysis were set as follows: a minimum of 30 citations for a document. Out of 698 documents, 69 met these thresholds. The total strength of bibliographic links with other documents was calculated for each of the 69 documents, and the documents with the largest number of links were selected.

The document by Ozili P.K. (2018) emerges as the most influential paper in the field, with 364 citations and a total link strength of 9. Gabor D. and Brooks S. (2017) have the second most cited paper with 261 citations and a total link strength of 6. Zins and Weill (2016) have the third most cited paper with 207 citations, but it has a total link strength of 0, suggesting a relatively lower interconnectedness with other influential papers in the field. Some documents display a high total link strength, indicating strong interconnectedness with other influential papers. For example, Koomson et al. (2020) have a total link strength of 29, the highest among the selected documents, despite having a moderate citation count of 94. Demir et al. (2022) have a total link strength of 30 with 75 citations, suggesting a high degree of interconnectedness in the field.

Source Nexus Exploration

This Source Nexus Exploration provides valuable insights into the influential sources in the research domain of financial technology and financial inclusion (Fig. 17). It helps researchers understand the most interconnected sources, which can be crucial for identifying important literature and understanding the relationships between sources within the domain. A high total link strength suggests that a source has significant relationships with other sources, which can be valuable for researchers when exploring the research landscape of financial technology and financial inclusion.

Fig. 17: Bibliographic coupling—Source Nexus Exploration.
figure 17

The Source Nexus Exploration identifies key sources in the Financial Technology and Inclusion research domain.

In this bibliometric analysis, the VOSviewer tool has been used to explore the source nexus within the research domain of financial technology and financial inclusion. By examining the bibliographic coupling links between sources, we aim to identify the most influential and interconnected sources in the field.

Thresholds for the analysis were set as follows: a minimum of three documents for a source and a minimum of 10 citations for a source. Out of 370 sources, 46 met these thresholds. For each of the 46 sources, the total strength of bibliographic coupling links with other sources was calculated. The sources with the largest number of links were selected.

The source with the highest number of citations is Sustainability (Switzerland), with 480 citations and a total link strength of 245. Borsa Istanbul Review follows with 368 citations and a total link strength of 154. New Political Economy ranks third with 351 citations and a total link strength of 64. However, Telecommunications Policy has the highest total link strength of 479, despite having fewer citations (236) than the top three sources. World Development is another important source, with 256 citations and a high total link strength of 284. The International Journal of Social Economics has a notably high total link strength of 464 with 70 citations, indicating strong interconnectedness with other sources.

Authors network analysis

This authors network analysis provides valuable insights into the influential authors in the research domain of financial technology and financial inclusion (Fig. 18). It helps researchers understand the most interconnected authors, which can be crucial for identifying key literature and understanding the relationships between authors within the domain. A high total link strength suggests that an author has significant relationships with other authors, which can be valuable for researchers when exploring the research landscape of financial technology and financial inclusion.

Fig. 18: Bibliographic coupling—Authors Network Analysis.
figure 18

The Authors Network Analysis highlights influential authors in the Financial Technology and Inclusion research domain.

Thresholds for the analysis were set as follows: a minimum of one document for an author and a minimum of 31 citations for an author. Out of 676 authors, 70 met these thresholds. For each of the 70 authors, the total strength of bibliographic coupling links with other authors was calculated. Some of the 70 items in the network are not connected to each other. The largest set of connected items consists of 56 items.

Ozili P.K. leads with the highest number of citations (439) and a total link strength of 64, indicating a strong influence in the field. Gabor D. and Brooks S. follow with a combined 261 citations and a total link strength of 8. Zins A. and Weill L. are third in terms of citations (207), but their total link strength is 0, suggesting a lesser interconnectedness with other authors. Munyegera G.K. and Matsumoto T. have a notable total link strength of 24 with 205 citations. Lashitew A.A., Van Tulder R., and Liasse Y. have a combined 103 citations and a significant total link strength of 32. Demir A., Pesqué-Cela V., Altunbas Y., and Murinde V. have a combined 75 citations and an even higher total link strength of 37. Bernards N. stands out with a comparatively high total link strength of 49 despite having fewer citations (65) than some of the other authors. This indicates strong interconnectedness with other authors in the field.

Organisational research confluence

The given information presents a co-occurrence analysis of organizations within the field of Financial Technology and Financial Inclusion, specifically focusing on bibliographic coupling using the VOSviewer tool (Fig. 19). The thresholds chosen for the analysis are a minimum of 1 document per organization and a minimum of 50 citations per organization. Out of the 1381 organizations, 106 meet these thresholds.

Fig. 19: Bibliographic coupling—Organisational Research Confluence.
figure 19

The information showcases a co-occurrence analysis of organizations in Financial Technology and Inclusion, emphasizing bibliographic coupling.

The total link strength of the bibliographic coupling links between these organizations is calculated, and the organization with the largest number of links is selected. Out of the 106 organizations, not all are connected with each other, and the largest set of connected items is made up of 86 items.

The Bibliographic Coupling- Organisational Research Confluence indicates a diverse range of organizations from different countries, showcasing the global scope of the research field. These organizations include universities, research institutes, and international organizations such as the World Bank. Some organizations have a strong presence in the field, demonstrated by their high citation numbers and total link strength. For example, CEPR (Centre for Economic Policy Research) in London has a total of 186 citations and a total link strength of 510. Similarly, Imperial College London has 142 citations and a total link strength of 298. These figures suggest that these organizations play a significant role in the field and contribute to the development of knowledge in Financial Technology and Financial Inclusion. Furthermore, the analysis reveals several organizations with strong connections to others in the field, such as Bristol Business School (University of the West of England) and the Social Policy and Social Work department at the University of York, both having 261 citations and a total link strength of 71.

The co-occurrence analysis also highlights collaborations between organizations from different regions, fostering international exchange of ideas and knowledge. For instance, the African Economic Research Consortium in Nairobi, Kenya, has 118 citations and a total link strength of 238, indicating its active collaboration with other organizations in the field. The Bibliographic Coupling—Organisational Research Confluence provides valuable insights into the relationships and collaborations between organizations in the field of Financial Technology and Financial Inclusion. It highlights the global nature of the research field, the key players in terms of citation numbers and link strength, and the importance of international collaboration in advancing knowledge and understanding within the field.

Country network analysis

The bibliographic coupling-country network analysis offers valuable insights into the interconnectedness among countries in the fields of Financial Technology and Financial Inclusion (Fig. 20). Utilizing the VOSviewer tool for bibliometric analysis, it becomes possible to analyze and interpret the co-occurrence relationships based on the provided data. By setting the thresholds for the minimum number of documents of a country to 2 and the minimum number of citations of a country to 0, 73 out of 105 countries meet these criteria. The total strength of the bibliographic coupling links with other countries is calculated for each of these 73 countries. Notably, out of the 73 countries in the network, some are not connected to each other, with the largest set of connected items comprising 72 countries.

Fig. 20: Bibliographic coupling—country research confluence.
figure 20

The bibliographic coupling—Country Network Analysis reveals country interconnections in Financial Technology and Inclusion research.

A close examination of the data reveals several key findings. Firstly, the United Kingdom, China, and the United States emerge as the top three countries with the highest number of citations, indicating their significant role in Financial Technology and Financial Inclusion research. They also boast the highest total link strengths, signifying a strong interconnectedness with other countries in the network. Secondly, emerging economies like India, South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana display a considerable number of citations and total link strengths, highlighting the increasing importance of Financial Inclusion and Financial Technology in these regions.

Furthermore, the presence of countries from diverse geographical regions such as Malaysia, Australia, France, and the Netherlands demonstrates the global nature of research collaboration in Financial Technology and Financial Inclusion. In some cases, countries with fewer citations, like Lebanon, Finland, and Hungary, exhibit relatively high total link strengths. This implies that these countries are well-connected within the research network, even though they might have fewer publications. Conversely, countries such as New Zealand, Denmark, and Greece have a higher number of citations but relatively lower total link strengths, indicating that their research output might be more self-contained or focused on a few specific collaboration partners.

The Bibliographic Coupling-Country Network Analysis sheds light on the global landscape of Financial Technology and Financial Inclusion research. The data reveals a diverse and interconnected network of countries, with varying degrees of collaboration and research output. This information can serve as a valuable resource for researchers, policymakers, and stakeholders interested in understanding the dynamics of research collaboration in these fields.

Co-citation

Cited references analysis

The co-citation-cited references analysis allows for a deeper understanding of the connections and relationships between the most frequently cited references in the Financial Technology and Financial Inclusion research fields (Fig. 21). Utilizing the VOSviewer tool for bibliometric analysis, it is possible to analyze and interpret the co-citation relationships based on the given data. By setting the threshold for the minimum number of citations of cited references to 5227 out of 33,127 cited references meet the criteria. For each of the 227 cited references, the total strength of the co-citation links with other cited references is calculated.

Fig. 21: Cited References Analysis.
figure 21

The Co-Citation-Cited References Analysis highlights key reference connections in Financial Technology and Inclusion research.

A closer examination of the data reveals several key insights. Demirguc-Kunt et al.‘s work, “The Global Findex Database 2017: Measuring Financial Inclusion and the Fintech Revolution” (2018), emerges as the most frequently cited reference, with 64 citations and a total link strength of 306. This suggests that their research has made a significant impact on the field, shaping the discourse on financial inclusion and fintech. Another influential work is Suri and Jack’s “The Long-Run Poverty and Gender Impacts of Mobile Money” (2016), which has 52 citations and a total link strength of 337, indicating the importance of mobile money in the broader discussion of financial inclusion.

Furthermore, Ozili’s “Impact of Digital Finance on Financial Inclusion and Stability” (2018), Gabor and Brooks’s “The Digital Revolution in Financial Inclusion: International Development in the Fintech Era” (2017), and Zins and Weill’s “The Determinants of Financial Inclusion in Africa” (2016) are among the most frequently cited works, demonstrating the diverse range of topics and issues explored in this research field.

The presence of publications focusing on specific countries or regions, such as Munyegera and Matsumoto’s “Mobile Money, Remittances, and Household Welfare: Panel Evidence from Rural Uganda” (2016) and Fungacova and Weill’s “Understanding Financial Inclusion in China” (2015), highlights the relevance of localized case studies in understanding the broader landscape of financial inclusion and fintech.

Cited authors mapping

The co-citation cited authors mapping analysis aims to identify the most influential authors in the field of Financial Technology and Financial Inclusion based on their citations and the total link strength with other authors (Fig. 22). The threshold for this analysis was set at a minimum of 30 citations, resulting in a list of 181 authors out of 33,690 sources.

Fig. 22: Cited Authors Mapping.
figure 22

The Co-citation Cited Authors Mapping pinpoints leading authors in Financial Technology and Inclusion based on citations and link strength.

The analysis shows that Demirguc-Kunt A. holds the highest number of citations (628) and total link strength (18,167), indicating that this author’s work is highly influential and relevant in the domain of Financial Technology and Financial Inclusion. Other notable authors include Klapper L. (496 citations, 14,830 total link strength), Beck T. (272 citations, 8087 total link strength), Suri T. (266 citations, 8065 total link strength), and Singer D. (262 citations, 7969 total link strength). The high total link strength of these authors suggests that their work is frequently co-cited with other influential works, revealing that their research is interconnected within the field. It also implies that their research findings are broadly accepted, and they have made a significant impact on the understanding and development of Financial Technology and Financial Inclusion.

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