Skip to Main Content

Calculate Your Academic Footprint: Your H-Index

What is an H-Index?

The h-index captures research 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 a 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 

2 Alakangas, S. & Warburton, J. Research impact: h-index. The University of Melbourne. Retrieved from 

Calculate Manually

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

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.

Table illustrates previous example. Column 1 shows articles 1-8 and column 2 shows citation numbers. Article 6 has 6 citations

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, 2012).

1 Ireland, T., MacDonald, K., & Stirling, P. (2012). The h-index: What is it, how do we determine it, and how can we keep up with it? In A. Tokar, M. Beurskens, S. Keuneke, M. Mahrt, I. Peters, C. Puschmann, T. van Treeck, & K. Weller (Eds.), Science and the internet (pp. 237-247). Düsseldorf University Press.


Calculate Using Databases

  • Given Scopus and Web of Science's citation-tracking functionality, they can also calculate an individual’s h-index based on content in their particular databases.
  • Likewise, Google Scholar collects citations and calculates an author's h-index via the Google Scholar Citations Profile feature.


Each database may determine a different h-index for the same individual as the content in each database is unique and different.