Emergency Response-Related OR

The paper I will present on Thursday is Fifty Years of operational Research and Emergency Response by Simpson and Hancock, which is a summary paper published in 2009, and  reviewing the OR foundation in emergency response.

In this post, I am going to summarize just the first part of the paper because it gives a good overview for EOR publications published during 1965-2007, with some nice tables and figures.  Through the summary, you may expect to know about how many emergency-related OR(henceforth referred to as EOR) journals about which topic are published when, on which journals, using which kind of methodology.

1. sampling : “Convenience sample” that consists of selected EOR papers, which serves as a proxy of a population of EOR work available in the literature between 1965-2007, is the main ingredient of the discussion. The convenience sample includes 361 articles published between 1965-2007, gathered by querying for keywords in the title from Web of Science. Each keywords are mapped into one of four focus category:

  • Urban Services(emergency response from established municipal services such as fire/police),
  • Disaster Services(large-scale emrgency response),
  • Specific Hazards(large-scale again),
  • General Emergency(open category to collect anything else).


2. EOR across time : The figure displays the distributions of convenience sample publications during 1965-2007.

  • Publication of EOR articles has seen an increase recently.
  • Looking into the figure, it is unclear whether the distinct variations in total annual volume are motivated by related large-scale incidents, while it is intuitive to assume so. Publications in the convenience sample do not necessarily reference any distinct motivating incidents.


3. EOR journal outlets : The table sorts 361 convenience sample by journal outlet.

  • Interestingly, 2 of top journals in count(Reliability Engineering&System Safety, Safety Science) are not main stream OR journals. This is more compelling considering the fact that Reliability Engineering&System Safety does not begin contributing to publish EOR until 1982 and Safety Science does not until 1991.
  • Of mainstream OR journals, JORS claims the highest proportion.


4. EOR methodologies:  The table sorts 361 convenience sample by methodology.

  • Math programming is the most common, except for Hazard Specific
  • Probability&Statistics is the 2nd, except for Disaster Services, where the problem inherent in analysing infrequent and exceptional events


The latter part of the paper includes some topics that we can discuss during the presentation on Thursday.

Reference: NC Simpson and PG Hancock, Fifty Years of Operational Research and Emergency Response, Journal of the Operations Research Society, 2009.




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