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Educ Inf Technol (Dordr) ; : 1-33, 2022 Apr 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35502162


Online and virtual teaching-learning has been a panacea that most educational institutions adopted from the dire need created by COVID-19. We provide a comprehensive bibliometric study of 9523 publications on virtual laboratories in higher education covering the years 1991 to 2021. Influential bibliometrics such as publications and citations, productive countries, contributing institutions, funders, journals, authors, and bibliographic couplings were studied using the Scientific Procedures and Rationales for Systematic Literature Reviews (SPAR-4-SLR) protocol. A new metric to complement citations called Field Weighted Citation Impact was introduced that considers the differences in research behavior across disciplines. Findings show that 72% of the research work was published between 2011-and 2021, most likely due to digitalization, with the highest number of publications in 2020-2021 highlighting the impact of the pandemic. Top contributing institutions were from the developed economies of Spain, Germany, and the United States. The citation impact from publications with international co-authors is the highest, highlighting the importance of co-authoring papers with different countries. For the first time, Altmetrics in the context of virtual labs were studied though a very low correlation was observed between citations and Altmetrics Attention Score. Still, the overall percentage of publications with attention showed linear growth. Our work also highlights that virtual laboratory could play a significant role in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG4-Quality Education, which largely remains under-addressed.