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Measuring Research Impact and Quality

h-index for researchers-definition

  • The h-index is a measure used to indicate the impact and productivity of a researcher based on how often his/her publications have been cited.
  • The physicist, Jorge E. Hirsch, provides the following definition for the h-index: 
    A scientist has index h if  h of his/her Npapers have at least h citations each, and the other (Np − h) papers have no more than h citations each. (Hirsch, JE (15 November 2005) PNAS 102 (46) 16569-16572)
  • A researcher with an h-index of 6 has published six papers that have been cited at least six times by other scholars.  This researcher may have published more than six papers, but only six of them have been cited six or more times. 

Whether or not a h-index is considered strong, weak or average depends on the researcher's field of study and how long they have been active.  The h-index of an individual should be considered in the context of the h-indices of equivalent researchers in the same field of study.

h-index for journals

Definition:  The h-index of a publication is the largest number h such that at least h articles in that publication were cited at least h times each. For example, a journal with a h-index of 20 has published 20 articles that have been cited 20 or more times.

Available from:



Whether or not a h-index is considered strong, weak or average depends on the discipline the journal covers and how long it has published. The h-index of a journal should be considered in the context of the h-indices of other journals in similar disciplines.

Computing your own h-index

In a spreadsheet, list the number of times each of your publications has been cited by other scholars. 

Sort the spreadsheet in descending order by the number of  times each publication is cited.  Then start counting down until the article number is equal to or not greater than the times cited.

Article                  Times Cited

1                              50          

2                              15          

3                              12

4                              10

5                              8

6                              7              ===>h index is 6

7                              5             

8                              1

Ways to increase your h-index

How to successfully boost your h-index (enago academy, 2019)

Variations of the h-index


  • h-index based upon data from the last 5 years

i-10 index

  •  i-10 index is the number of articles by an author that have at least ten citations. 
  •  i-10 index was created by Google Scholar.


  • Used to compare researchers with different lengths of publication history
  • m-index =   ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­___________h-index_______________
                         # of years since author’s 1st publication

Using Scopus to find an researcher's h-index

The h-index is in the Scopus author profile.

Step 1:  Search by author
Scopus Author Search

Step 2: Go to author profile

Scopus Author Search

Step 3:  View author profile
Scopus Author Search

Additional resources for finding a researcher's h-index

Web of Science Core Collection or Web of Science All Databases

  • Perform an author search
  • Create a citation report for that author.
  • The h-index will be listed in the report.

Set up your author profile in the following three resources.  Each resource will compute your h-index.  Your h-index may vary since each of these sites collects data from different resources.