Purpose: The purpose of this study is to analyse the contributions, major discussions and trends in the literature driving the research agenda in corporate social innovation (CSI). This is done through a systematic review on CSI publications in an open time span. Salient themes and emerging research topics in this literature, as well as research questions and limitations, are identified, culminating in a discussion of what is next for CSI research. Design/methodology/approach: A systematic review was undertaken from academic and grey literature. Results were analysed following a bibliometric and interpretative content analysis. Findings: The study provides novel insights on CSI research by drawing attention to discussions around the consensus on a definition of CSI, its disciplinary origins and the denominations referring to this field. Although CSI struggles to gain independence as a research field, the evidence shows that CSI is a cross-disciplinary concept nourished by multiple disciplines. Research limitations/implications: Analysis in this paper has implications for research by highlighting the state of scholarship on CSI. Given the use of multiple denominations of CSI, several studies using low diffused denominations could be discarded. Originality/value: This research contributes to the body of knowledge in the field of CSI by bringing clarity to former discussions and by suggesting how the field can move forward to a more advanced and mature state in research.