Scholarly Metrics

All about metrics: definitions, how-to, and tools.

h index

The h-index was developed in 2005 by Jorge Hirsch, a physicist at the University of California in San Diego.

In his paper Hirsch states "A scientist has index 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."

There is some disagreement about the validity of the h-index.

H Index Data Sources

The data sources you use to calculate your h index are important. See One h-Index to Rule Them All? Using h-Index Realities to Educate Researchers about their Online Presence, by  Janet Fransen, University of Minnesota, poster presented at the 2012 ALA National Conference.

Who Cites My Article?

These databases provide a count of the number of times an article has been cited. This count is based on the journals indexed by the database.

Databases with h-index

You can calculate the h-index yourself, or let one of these databases do it for you. Remember that they only gather information from the journals they index.

Author Disambiguation

Properly identifying authors and their papers is difficult for obvious reasons. How many articles are authored by J. Smith, Y. Lee, or L. Jackson? The groups below are working to solve this problem.

Citation Search Tips

Each citation source produces slightly different results depending on the content and coverage of the source. This underscores the importance of using multiple citation sources to judge the true impact of an author's work. The search strategy should be broad and inclusive enough to accomodate the following pitfalls.

  • Search results vary by database used.
  • Search all permutations of the cited author's name: last name; last name, first and middle initials; last name and first initial.
  • If someone is second or third author, search by the lead authors to locate the cited reference.
  • Author names and titles in foreign languages and non-Roman script may require extra effort to determine their transcription or transliteraton in each database.