Manage Your Research Identity and Track Your Impact
The number of works a researcher has published and the number of times these works have been cited can be an indicator of the academic impact of an individual researcher.
The h-index is the most widely used author-level metric. It measures both productivity (number of papers) and impact (number of citations) of an author's scholarly output.
The value of "h" is equal to the number of published papers (h) sorted in descending order with at least (h) citations, as seen in the graph below.
Limitations of the h-index
A large body of research demonstrates a number of serious biases and problems with use of the h-index. Key problems include:
- The h-index favours researchers with longer careers and should never be used to compare researchers at different career stages.
- The h-index favours researchers in publication- and citation-dense fields. If used to compare researchers from different fields or even sub-fields, this leads to unfair comparisons.
- The h-index can incentivise unethical publishing and/or referencing behaviour including:
- breaking scientific studies down into small chunks and publishing each part as a separate paper (sometimes called "salami slicing")
- excessive self-citation
- "citation cartels" where groups of authors or colleagues inappropriately cite each other's papers
- The h-index does not account for significant scholarly activities such as:
- collaboration and teamwork
- teaching skills
- research quality
For more information as well as a graphical version of these points, see CWTS. (2021). Halt the H-index. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4635649
Calculating your h-index
There are several subscription-based and free databases that can be used to calculate your h-index, as well as numerous other author-level metrics. Because each database covers a different set of sources, your metrics will likely differ from database to database. If you find that not all of your publications are contained in any one database, you may want to use a customizable tool such as Publish or Perish.
- Web of science This link opens in a new window
Web of Science indexes core journal articles, conference proceedings, data sets, and other resources in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Includes:
- If API is needed, see APIs for Scholarly Resources: Web of Science API Lite
- BIOSIS Previews (1980-present)
- KCI-Korean Journal Database (1980-present)
- MEDLINE® (1950-present)
- Preprint Citation Index (1991-present)
- SciELO Citation Index (2002-present)
- Scopus (Elsevier) This link opens in a new windowElsevier has a "how to" video about author profiles, see https://www.elsevier.com/research-intelligence/resource-library/us-canada-customer-hubScopus, an abstract and citation database, includes peer-reviewed titles from international publishers, Open Access journals, conference proceedings, trade publications, quality web sources.
- Publish or PerishThis software tool, from a well-known resource in scholarly publishing, calculates numerous research metrics based on Google Scholar data.
- Google Scholar ProfileGoogle scholar automatically calculates an h-index if you set up a profile page.
Hirsch, J. E. (2005). An index to quantify an individual's scientific research output. Proceedings of the National academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102(46), 16569-16572.
- Last Updated: Mar 16, 2023 2:22 PM
- URL: https://libguides.ucalgary.ca/guides/researchID
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