The h-index is a metric that is used to evaluate and compare the overall impact of a person or lab’s scholarly publications to other individuals or groups in the same field of research. (According to El Emam 2012 and Romanovsky 2012, comparing h-factors in the biomedical research and medical informatics can be problematic due to the range of different disciplines involved in these fields.) In spite of some of the shortfalls with the h-index, the scores are considered an indication of future research impact, so institutions often use the h-index in when determining whether to hire, grant tenure or award funding to an individual or research team (El Emam 2012)–so it does not hurt to know your h-index. Both Web of Science and Google Scholar’s Citation-Gadget allow you to calculate your h-index.
Web of Science is available to individuals with a Harvard ID # and password. This tool from Thompson Reuters lets users search for the papers of one or more researcher(s) to include in the h-index calculation. Web of Science provides an author search option that helps users identify any name variations an author might have or select the correct author from those with similar names.
All articles should be selected for the citation report, with the exception of meeting abstracts, letters to the editor or editorials.
Once you have selected the articles you want to include click the “Create Citation Report” button. The citation report includes the h-index on the right-hand side of the screen.
Check out the Web of Science instruction video for more help with running a citation report and finding an author’s h-index in Web of Science.
Google Scholar also has a tool called Citations-Gadget, which allows users to calculate an author’s h-index by typing their name into the search box.
BUT, as you can see on the screen shot, this free h-index calculator comes with a disclaimer stating that the accuracy of the h-index is only as accurate as the information in Google Scholar. The disclaimer cites a 2009 article by Peter Jacso in the Library Journal that includes a list of pitfalls with Citations-Gadget, including problems with Google’s algorithms, skewed data, bad metadata, lost or extraneous authors, among others. In other words, any h-index scores given by Citation-Gadget should be taken with a grain of salt.
Contact the librarians if you have questions about or need help calculating your h-index.
El Emam K, Arbuckle L, Jonker E, Anderson K. Two h-Index Benchmarks for Evaluating the Publication Performance of Medical Informatics Researchers. J Med Internet Res. 2012;14(5):e144.
Jacso P. The popular tool can’t be used to analyze the publishing performance and impact of researchers. Library Journal; Nov 2009.
Romanovsky AA. Revised h index for biomedical research. Cell Cycle. 2012; 11:22, 4118-4121.