Research Evaluation with H-index

The h-index was proposed by J.E. Hirsch in 20051 as a way to quantify the impact and relevance of an individual scientist’s research. The h-index is a number that attempts to measure both the productivity of and impact of the published work of a scientist. The h-graph displays the h-index. The h-index is based on the highest number of papers included that have had at least the same number of citations. A scientist has an index of h if h of his/her Np papers have at least h citations each and the other (Np – h) papers have no more than h citations each.

Hirsch asserted that the h-index would provide a measure by which to compare different individuals competing for the same resources. Others criticize the flaws in the h-index and claim that it is not a good measure of the broad impact of a scientist’s value. Nevertheless, the h-index is becoming a popular metric and various databases now include h-index calculators.

The h-index can be manually determined using citation databases like Science Citation Index. But, there are also automated calculators in databases such as Scopus. To begin, use Scopus to create an author search. See the tutorial for help. After creating the author search, then use the Author Evaluator tool within the author search to view the h-graph and h-index.

For more help on creating an h-index, please contact MCW Libraries.


1Hirsch JE. An index to quantify an individual’s scientific research output. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 November 15; 102(46): 16569–16572. Published online 2005 November 7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0507655102

Posted October 21, 2011

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