Radio frequency identification (RFID) is one of the most influential technologies of the twenty-first century. Today, RFID technology is being applied in a wide array of disciplines in science research and industrial projects. The significant impact of RFID is clearly visible by the rate of academic publications in the last few years. This article surveys the literature to evaluate the trend of RFID technology development based on academic publications from 2001 to 2014. Both bibliometric and content analyses are applied to examine this topic in SCI-Index and SSCI-Index documents. Based on the bibliometric technique, all 5159 existing RFID documents are investigated and several important factors are reviewed, including contributions by country, organizations, funding agencies, journal title, authors, research area and Web of Science category. Moreover, content analysis is applied to the top 100 most cited documents and based on their contents, these top 100 documents are classified into four different categories with each category divided in several sub-categories. This research aims to identify the best source of the most cited RFID papers and to provide a comprehensive road map for the future research and development in the field of RFID technology in both academic and industrial settings. Six key findings from this review are:
(1) the experimental method is the most popular research methodology,
(2) RFID research has been a hot area of investigation but will branch out into related subset areas,
3) South East Asia is positioned to dominate this research space,
(4) the focus of research up to now has been on technical issues rather than business and management issues,
(5) research on RFID application domains will spread beyond supply chain and health care to a number of different areas, and
(6) more research will be related to policy issues such as security and privacy.