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LIBRARY

Calculate Your Academic Footprint: Your h-index

H-Index

The H-index captures output based on the total number of publications and the total number of citations to those works, providing a focused snapshot of an individual’s research performance.

Example: If a researcher has 15 papers, each of which has at least 15 citations, their h-index is 15.

Useful For

  • Comparing researchers of similar career length.

  • Comparing researchers in similar field, subject, or Department, and who publish in the same journal categories.

  • Obtaining a focused snapshot of a researcher’s performance.

Not Useful For

  • Comparing researchers from different fields, disciplines, or subjects.

  • Assessing fields, departments, and subjects where research output is typically books or conference proceedings as they are not well represented by databases providing h-indices.


1 Working Group on Bibliometrics. (2016). Measuring Research Output Through Bibliometrics. University of Waterloo. Retrieved from https://uwspace.uwaterloo.ca/bitstream/handle/10012/10323/Bibliometrics%20White%20Paper%202016%20Final_March2016.pdf?sequence=4&isAllowed=y 

2 Alakangas, S. & Warburton, J. Research impact: h-index. The University of Melbourne. Retrieved from http://unimelb.libguides.com/c.php?g=402744&p=2740739 

Key Tools

  • Given Scopus and Web of Science's citation-tracking functionality, they also calculate an individual’s h-index based on content in a particular database.
  • Likewise, Google Scholar collects citations and calculates an author's h-index via the Google Scholar Citations Profile feature. 
  • Note that each database may determine a different h-index for the same individual as the content in each database is unique and different. 

Calculate Your h-index

  • To manually calculate your h-index, organize articles in descending order, based on the number of times they have been cited (see below example).

  • Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar can also be used to calculate an h-index for that particular citation-tracking database.

Interpreting

In the below example, an author has 8 papers that have been cited 33, 30, 20, 15, 7, 6, 5 and 4 times. This tells us that the author's h-index is 6.

h-index calculation

What does an h-index of 6 mean?

  • An h-index of 6 means that this author has published at least 6 papers that have each received at least 6 citations.


More context:

  • The first paper has been cited 33 times, and gives us a 1 (there is one paper that has been cited at least once).
  • The second paper has been cited 30 times, and gives us a 2 (there are two papers that have been cited at least twice).
  • The third paper gives us a 3 and all the way up to 6 with the sixth highest paper.
  • The final two papers have no effect in this case as they have been cited less than six times (Ireland, MacDonald & Stirling, 2013).