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Publication Metrics: H-Index

What is the H-index?

The h-index is an author metric developed by Jorge Hirsch and is used to measure the productivity and impact of a specific scholar. It is based on the author's most cited papers and the number of citations they have received in other publications.

Wikipedia explains the calculation of the h-index in this manner:

Formally, if f is the function that corresponds to the number of citations for each publication, we compute the h index as follows. First we order the values of f from the largest to the lowest value. Then, we look for the last position in which f is greater than or equal to the position (we call h this position). For example, if we have a researcher with 5 publications A, B, C, D, and E with 10, 8, 5, 4, and 3 citations, respectively, the h index is equal to 4 because the 4th publication has 4 citations and the 5th has only 3. In contrast, if the same publications have 25, 8, 5, 3, and 3, then the index is 3 because the fourth paper has only 3 citations.

f(A)=10, f(B)=8, f(C)=5, f(D)=4, f(E)=3 → h-index=4
f(A)=25, f(B)=8, f(C)=5, f(D)=3, f(E)=3 → h-index=3

If we have the function f ordered in decreasing order from the largest value to the lowest one, we can compute the h index as follows:

h-index (f) = \max _{i}\min(f(i),i)

Problems with the h-index

The h-index can be extremely problematic because quality and impact do not seem to matter, only quantity. Here's some resources concerning this issue:

Bi, H.H. Four problems of the h-index for assessing the research productivity and impact of individual authorsScientometrics (2022).

Conroy, G., 2020. What's wrong with the h-index, according to its inventor. [Blog] nature index,  [Accessed 19 May 2022].

De Rijcke, S., 2021. Halt the h-index. [Blog] Science & Society,  [Accessed 19 May 2022].

Koltun V, Hafner D (2021) The h-index is no longer an effective correlate of scientific reputation. PLOS ONE 16(6):

Kreiner G. (2016). The Slavery of the h-index-Measuring the UnmeasurableFrontiers in human neuroscience10, 556.

Resources for Finding the H-Index

Your h-index can be found using the following resources:

Instructions for each are below;


To find the h-index in Scopus:

  1. Go to Scopus
  2. The default search is Documents; click on Authors, which is next to Documents
  3. If you have an ORCID ID, the process is simple, enter it and click on Search. If not:
  4. Enter your name. For a more specific search, enter your first name. You can include institutional affiliation as well.
  5. When the results list appears, check the authors that could be you, then
  6. Click on View citation overview above the list of names.
  7. The author h-index is near the top, in the gray area. to the right. You can also view an h-graph

H-Index Author screen in Scopus

Web of Science

  1. Go to Web of Science
  2. The default search is Documents, choose the tab next to it -- Reseachers
  3. You can search by either name or author identifier such as ORCID ID or Web of Science ResearcherID
  4. Choose the author you are interested in and click on their name. This will display their publication metrics, including the h-index.

Web of Science h-index

Google Scholar

To find your h-index in Google Scholar, you will need to create a profile, using your gmail account, in Google Scholar. To do that:

  1. Go to Google Scholar with your gmail opened in another tab.
  2. Choose My Profile from the top left
  3. If you have not already created a profile to track your articles, a form will appear that will have your name and email already filled in. You can add affiliation..
  4. Once you've created that profile, your published articles will appear with an h-index for you. NOTE: It was my experience, that not all of my articles appeared. If this is the case, you can add them separately to your profile.