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Measuring Research Impact and Quality: h-index

Definition

  • The h-index is a measure used to indicate the impact and productivity of a researcher based on how often his/her publications have been cited.
  • The physicist, Jorge E. Hirsch, provides the following definition for the h-index: 
    A scientist has index h if  h of his/her Npapers have at least h citations each, and the other (Np − h) papers have no more than h citations each. (Hirsch, JE (15 November 2005) PNAS 102 (46) 16569-16572)
  • A researcher with an h-index of 6 has published six papers that have been cited at least six times by other scholars.  This researcher may have published more than six papers, but only six of them have been cited six or more times. 

Limitations

Whether or not a h-index is considered strong, weak or average depends on the researcher's field of study and how long they have been active.  The h-index of an individual should be considered in the context of the h-indices of equivalent researchers in the same field of study.

Computing your own h-index

In a spreadsheet, list the number of times each of your publications has been cited by other scholars. 

Sort the spreadsheet in descending order by the number of  times each publication is cited.  Then start counting down until the article number is equal to or not greater than the times cited.

Article                  Times Cited

1                              50          

2                              15          

3                              12

4                              10

5                              8

6                              7              ===>h index is 6

7                              5             

8                              1

Variations of the h-index

h5-index

  • h-index based upon data from the last 5 years


i-10 index

  •  i-10 index is the number of articles by an author that have at least ten citations. 
  •  i-10 index was created by Google Scholar.
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