Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The Hirtsch [h] Index

The h-Index is a measure of the 'quality' of academic output. The h-index plots the distribution of citations cross the output of a given researcher. To calculate your h index you need to know how many citations each of your published outputs has accrued. This can be worked out using the Web of Knowledge ISI Citation Index or Google Scholar. Results will vary depending on the source of data. List your publications in descending order of the number of citations. The point at which the number of citations is less than the number of publications gives the h index. For example, if the first article has 20 citations, the second 18, the third 10, the fourth 5, and the fifth 3 your h index is 4.

The h-index has limitations and is not favoured for a future iteration of the RAE/REF “this is unlikely to prove effective for HEFCE purpose because it works better for high output-high impact researchers and it produces only a single metric with low information content. It is not applicable th the general body of researchers.” (Universities UK 2007)

A number of academic communities, especially in the sciences have produced lists ranking scientists by their h-index. These include living Chemists, Computer Scientists and even Information Scientists.


Article in wikipedia on the h-index


Universities UK, 2007.The use of bibliometrics to measure research quality in the UK higher education institutions. London: evidence/Universities UK. Available from: [Accessed 21 February 2008].

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