What is the h-index?

Introduced in 2005 by American physicist, Professor Jorge Hirsch in his article "An index to quantify an individual's scientific research output", the h-index is used to measure the prodictivity of an individual scientist, group or institution.

What does the number mean?

A h-index of 31 tells us that the author has written 31 papers which have each received at least 31 citations.

"Obviously a single number can never give more than a rough approximation to an individual's multifaceted profile, and many other factors should be considered in combination in evaluating an individual." (Hirsch, 2005)

H-index: advantages
  • Seen as a fairer alternative than simply counting total papers or times cited.
  • It is a popular performance indicator commonly used by scientists. It is popular because it is an indicator based on the researcher's own work rather than solely on the "journal" they have published in.
  • As a metric it is considered fair as it discounts the disporoportionate weight of highly cited papers or papers that have yet to be cited.
  • It is easy to compute!

Creative Commons License

My RI by University College Dublin, Dublin City University, Dublin Institute of Technology, The National University of Ireland, Maynooth and the NDLR adapted by Marion Kelt, Glasgow Caledonian University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at http://www.ndlr.ie/myri/.