The notion of Resilience of Social-Ecological Systems (ReSES) in balancing and sustaining development are increasingly breeding more multidisciplinary attentions from world scientists and government managers. However, with the tremendous growing in theoretical system, certain problems hinder the integration of theory and practice, such as the low degree of research recognition, lacking of unified paradigm, unevenly development of research topics, etc. Thus, it is an urgent need to sort out the construction, source and development in theory, and its gaps with practices. To identify the hotspot in current research, including the fundamental theories and methods, current focus and future trends, a bibliometric analysis integrating Citespace and TDA tools were made. Using searching queries on “system resilience”, 10 315 articles in Web of Science database were retrieved. Then, a series of contents were examined on these publications, including:
topics division on co-occurrence network of keywords;
journal and co-citation analysis of highly cited papers;
trends by keyword burst analysis;
changing of high-frequency categories and keywords. Several findings were achieved through scientometric analysis. Firstly, research on system resilience were summarized into five basic theoretical issues, namely, research objects, changes incentives, spatial and temporal scale, and adaptive measures. Secondly, by analyzing the knowledge atlas, it is found that the theory has developed for nearly 45 years since 1973. In the past 20 years, ecosystem resilience driven by climate changes has been one of the earliest and consistent research topics, and formed a well-developed theoretical framework. Over the past ten years, research on the system resilience on community and urban scale has rapidly become a hot topic. In the past five years, adaptation strategies such as social learning and knowledge dissemination have attracted increasing attentions. Overall, improving system simulation and scenario based adaptive management analysis can build the bridge of theoretical research and adaptive management practice.