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Ten Academic Journals on the Circular Economy you can't miss!

From 2016 to 2019, 1901 records were published concerning aspects related to the circular economy. If you are a Masters student or a Doctoral Student or someone interested in academic articles concerning Circular Economy then the list of journals should be on your reading list.

The “Doughnut”: The green ring represents a sweet-spot where our socio-economic systems should be placed, such that they respect (external) planetary boundaries, and fulfil (internal) societal needs.

1. Journal of Cleaner Production (Cite Score 13.1 and Impact Factor 9.297)

The Journal of Cleaner Production serves as a platform for addressing and discussing theoretical and practical cleaner production, encompassing environmental, and sustainability issues in corporations, governments, education institutions, regions, and societies.

Subject areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Cleaner production and technical processes

  • Sustainable Development and Sustainability

  • Sustainable Consumption

  • Environmental and sustainability assessment

  • Sustainable Products and Services

  • Corporate sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility

  • Education for Sustainable Development

  • Governance, legislation, and policy for sustainability

2. Sustainability (Cite Score 3.9 and Impact Factor 3.251)

Sustainability is an international, cross-disciplinary, scholarly, peer-reviewed and open-access journal of environmental, cultural, economic, and social sustainability of human beings. It provides an advanced forum for studies related to sustainability and sustainable development and is published semi-monthly online by MDPI.

The Society for Urban Ecology (SURE), Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) and International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) are affiliated with Sustainability and their members receive discounts on the article processing charge.

Subject Areas of the Journal includes the following topics

Challenges relating to sustainability

  • Air pollution and climate change

  • Water pollution and sanitation

  • Misuse of land

  • Desertification and drought

  • Industrial development and energy crisis

  • Toxic chemicals and hazardous and radioactive wastes

  • Population explosion and urbanization

  • Unsustainable patterns of production and consumption

  • Abandonment or loss of tradition, racial and national identity, culture, ethical standards, family solidarity, particularly during immigration or large scale foreign cultural influence, and its impact on cultural or social sustainability

  • Impact of globalization on local, national and regional sustainability and stability

  • Degradation of ecosystems and species, and concomitant risks to human well-being

Socio-economic, scientific and integrated approaches to sustainable development

  • Development and realization of national policies and international treaties for sustainable development

  • Implementation and monitoring of policies for sustainable development

  • Changing consumption and production patterns

  • Developments in cultural diversity, tradition, social systems, globalization, immigration and settlement, and their impact on cultural or social sustainability

  • Ethical and philosophical aspects of sustainable development

  • Education and awareness of sustainability

  • Impact of safety, security and disaster management on sustainability

  • Health-related aspects of sustainability

  • System analysis methods, including life cycle assessment and management

  • Sustainable chemistry

  • Sustainable utilization of resources such as land, water, atmosphere and other biological resources

  • New and renewable sources of energy

  • Sustainable energy preservation and regeneration methods

  • Land and aquatic ecosystems maintenance and biodiversity preservation

  • Quasi-environmental sustainability – short term measures and their long term effects

  • Effects of global climate change on development and sustainability

Other topics related to sustainability

  • Defining and quantifying sustainability

  • Measuring and monitoring sustainability

  • Sustainability tools

  • Applications of sustainability

  • Policies and laws relating to sustainability

  • Sustainability science

3. Resources conservation and recycling (Cite score 14.7 and Impact Factor 10.204)

The journal emphasizes the transformation processes involved in a transition toward more sustainable production and consumption systems. Emphasis is upon technological, economic, institutional and policy aspects of specific resource management practices, such as conservation, recycling and resource substitution, and "systems-wide" strategies, such as resource productivity improvement, the restructuring of production and consumption profiles and the transformation of industry.

The journal publishes papers, reviews, analyses and case studies on topics, which include: Transformation of the industrial and societal system towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns, including management, instruments, methods and processes of change.

• Information and management systems involving resource status, use and material flow in society. • Innovation processes, tools and methods relating to resource productivity improvement. • Technical, societal, economic, business and policy aspects of strategies to improve the sustainability and productivity of resource use, including strategies for managing resource supply and demand, valorizing waste, lowering energy and material intensities and increasing the serviceability of products. • Substitution of primary resources by renewable or regenerative alternatives, including agricultural and forest resources and wastes. • Material flow analysis and the understanding of resource use and flows in society and the impact on the environment, including resource extraction and waste generation. • Life cycle assessment and management of resources, materials and products to improve resource efficiency and productivity, conserve resources and reduce pollution. • Societal, economic and technological change for improved recovery and reuse of materials and energy from domestic, commercial or industrial waste streams. • Efficient management and use of all resources, including air and water, about the qualitative as well as quantitative aspects of resource use.

4. Waste management (Cite Score 11.5 and Impact Score 7.145)

Waste Management is devoted to the presentation and discussion of information on solid waste generation, characterization, minimization, collection, separation, treatment, and disposal, as well as manuscripts that address waste management policy, education, and economic and environmental assessments. The journal addresses various types of solid wastes including municipal (e.g., residential, institutional, and commercial), agricultural, and special (e.g., construction and demolition, household hazardous, sewage sludge, and non-hazardous industrial) wastes. The following are some of the major areas in which papers are solicited:

  • Generation and characterization

  • Minimization

  • Recycling and reuse

  • Storage, collection, transport, and transfer

  • Treatment (mechanical, biological, chemical, thermal, other)

  • Landfill disposal

  • Environmental assessments

  • Economic analysis

  • Policy and regulations

  • Education and training

  • Planning

5. Journal of industrial ecology (Impact Score 6.946)

The Journal of Industrial Ecology publishes sustainability and circular economy research which considers the relationship between the environment and the socio-economic system. The journal focuses on the understanding of the environmental impacts and drivers of the stocks and flows of material, energy and other resources in production and consumption activities. The Journal of Industrial Ecology is owned by Yale University and headquartered at the Center for Industrial Ecology in the Yale School of the Environment. It is edited in collaboration with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Tsinghua University.

The Journal of Industrial Ecology addresses a series of related topics: 1. Mapping and analyzing stocks and flows of resources and their associated drivers, cost, and environmental impacts, including:

  • Material flow analysis (MFA), including substance, material and energy flows analysis and studies of socio-economic metabolism

  • Life-cycle assessment (LCA)

  • Input-Output Analysis (environmental and physical)

2. Studies on social, industrial and economic dynamics that affect stocks and flows of materials and energy

  • Sustainable consumption and production

  • Closed-loop systems/re-use of waste

  • Material and resource efficiency/dematerialization

  • Industrial symbiosis

  • Circular economy

3. The policies and business models relevant for industrial ecology

  • Eco-industrial development

  • Circular economy policies and business models

  • Product-oriented environmental policy (life-cycle-based policy), ecolabels, green procurement, extended producer responsibility, product stewardship

4. Advances in industrial ecology methods

  • Environmental input-output analysis (EEIOA)

  • Life-cycle assessment

  • Material and substance flow analysis

6. Journal of Business Ethics (Impact Score 6.430)

The Journal of Business Ethics publishes only original articles from a wide variety of methodological and disciplinary perspectives concerning ethical issues related to business that bring something new or unique to the discourse in their field. From its inception, the Journal has aimed to improve the human condition by providing a public forum for discussion and debate about ethical issues related to business. To promote a dialogue between the various interested groups as much as possible, papers are presented in a style relatively free of specialist jargon

7. Science of the total environment (Cite Score 10.5 and Impact Score 7.963)

Science of the Total Environment is an international multi-disciplinary journal for publication of novel, hypothesis-driven and high-impact research on the total environment, which interfaces the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and anthroposphere.

Subject areas may include, but are not limited to: • Air quality, atmospheric conditions, and a new understanding of their role in adverse health or environmental outcomes • Atmospheric biogeochemistry • Ecosystem services and life cycle assessment • Ecotoxicology and risk assessment • Eco-hydrology • Wildlife and contaminants • Environmental impacts of climate change, agriculture, forestry, and land use • Environmental impacts of waste or wastewater treatment • Drinking water contaminants and health implications • Environmental remediation of soil and groundwater • Global change-induced extreme events and environmental impacts • Groundwater hydrogeochemistry and modelling • Nanomaterials, microplastics, and other emerging contaminants • Novel contaminant (bio)monitoring and risk assessment approaches • Remote sensing and big data applications in multiple spheres • Stress ecology in marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems • Trace metals and organics in biogeochemical cycles • Water quality and security

8. Waste management & research (Cite Score and Impact Score 3.549)

A key objective of the Waste Management and Research. The Journal for a Sustainable Circular Economy (WM&R) is to address these challenges through the dissemination of scientifically based reliable information, e.g. in terms of waste prevention, waste recycling, recovery of energy from material residuals not suited for recycling or reuse, waste treatment, and waste disposal.

WM&R encourages the submission of well-organized manuscripts relating to sustainable waste management designs, operations, policies or practices and those addressing issues facing both developing and developed countries. Mass flow analyses, life cycle assessments, policy planning and system administration, innovative processes and technologies and their engineering features and cost-effectiveness are among the key issues that WM&R seeks to cover through well-documented reports on new concepts, systems, practical experience (including case studies), and theoretical and experimental research work. Manuscripts with limited scope or specialised application are normally not accepted. Studies on testing and characterisation of special waste streams or products with only a peripheral pertinence to solid waste management are normally referred to journals that focus on such topics.

9. Journal of environmental management (Cite Score 9.8 and Impact Score 6.789)

The Journal of Environmental Management is a peer-reviewed journal for the publication of original research related to managing environmental systems and improving environmental quality. As governments and the general public become more keenly aware of the critical issues arising from how humans use their environment, this journal provides a forum for the discussion of environmental problems around the world and the presentation of management results. It is aimed not only at the environmental manager but at anyone concerned with the sustainable use of environmental resources.

Specific areas of interest for the journal include:

• Development of technologies intended for applications to environmental ecosystems (water, air, soil) • Natural resource management • Ecological applications or conservation • Management and valorisation of waste (including industrial residues and effluents) • Development of methods for environmental quality management (new procedures, characterization techniques, monitoring methods, governing standards, etc.) • Environmental system modelling and optimization • Environmental analysis and assessment (environmental impact assessment, risk assessment, life cycle analysis, material flow analysis, life cycle costing, emission accounting, etc.) • Social, economic and policy aspects of environmental management

10. Energies (Cite Score 4.7 and Impact Score 3.004)

Energies is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of related scientific research, technology development, engineering, and studies in policy and management and are published semimonthly online by MDPI. The European Biomass Industry Association (EUBIA), Polish Society of Applied Electromagnetics (PTZE), Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centres (EUREC), Institute for Chemical Processing of Coal (IChPW), International Society for Porous Media (InterPore) and CYTED are affiliated with Energies and their members receive a discount on the article processing charges.

The Scope of the journal articles is


The impact factor (IF) is a measure of the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year. It is used to measure the importance or rank of a journal by calculating the times it's articles are cited. The calculation is based on a two-year period and involves dividing the number of times articles were cited by the number of articles that are citable.

CiteScore of an academic journal is a measure reflecting the yearly average number of citations to recent articles published in that journal. This journal evaluation metric was launched in December 2016 by Elsevier as an alternative to the generally used JCR impact factors.

About the Author

Piyush Dhawan (LinkedIn) is the co-founder of the Circular Collective was awarded the prestigious German Chancellor Fellowship last year to work on the topic of Circular Economy. He has for the past decade been working with Bilaterals and Multilaterals on a range of topics including business and biodiversity, Vision 2030 SDGs and Future of Indian Cities

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