Although many papers describe the evolution of the analytic hierarchy process (AHP), most adopt a subjective approach. This paper examines the pattern of development of the AHP research field using social network analysis and scientometrics, and identifies its intellectual structure. The objectives are: (i) to trace the pattern of development of AHP research; (ii) to identify the patterns of collaboration among authors; (iii) to identify the most important papers underpinning the development of AHP; and (iv) to discover recent areas of interest. We analyse two types of networks: social networks, that is, co-authorship networks, and cognitive mapping or the network of disciplines affected by AHP. Our analyses are based on 8441 papers published between 1979 and 2017, retrieved from the ISI Web of Science database. To provide a longitudinal perspective on the pattern of evolution of AHP, we analyse these two types of networks during the three periods 1979–1990, 1991–2001 and 2002–2017. We provide some basic statistics on AHP journals and researchers, review the main topics and applications of integrated AHPs and provide direction for future research by highlighting some open questions.
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- AHP development
- Analytic hierarchy process
- Matrix consistency
- Pairwise comparisons matrix (PCM)