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Journalism - Maximizing Research Impact & Identity: Researcher Impact

Tips, techniques & links to help you find answers for your research papers & projects

Researcher Impact

Using Citation Metrics to determine Researcher Impact provides:

  • Identification of significant scholars in the field
  • An indication of an author's perceived value - by demonstrating where and how one's work has been cited.
  • A reference point for citation metrics, which have been applied for purposes of hiring, promotion and tenure.

Citation Databases and Indices can be used to:

  • Demonstrate how often an author's work has been cited.
  • Discover who is doing related work.
  • Track the published work of colleagues and competitors.
  • Explore the evolution of theories and ideas through citation tracking.
  • Identify key authors in a field.
  • Build a research profile so others can find and follow one's work.


Your productivity as a researcher can be measured by your total number of articles, and the impact of your research can be measured by the total number of times your articles have been cited. The h-index*(AKA Hirsch index) is a combined measure of both productivity and impact. An index of h means that your h most highly-cited articles have at least h citations each. 

The h-index is more informative than total number of articles (which ignores how well those articles have been received by other researchers) or total number of citations (which can be inordinately influenced by a small number of highly-cited articles and therefore not an accurate reflection of productivity). 

One caveat about the h-index is that it correlates with the length of a researcher's career (i.e., researchers who have been publishing for longer tend to have higher h-indices). It can also be inflated by self-citation. In addition, the h-index ignores the order of authorship, which is very important in some disciplines. Additionally, because different disciplines have different publishing practices, the h-index should not be used to compare researchers across different disciplines. Average impact scores vary widely from discipline to discipline.

*Hirsch, J. E. (2005, November 15). An index to quantify an individual's scientific research output. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102(46), pp. 16569-16572 .  Retrieved from

Thanks to Jennifer Elder, Social Sciences Librarian at Emory University, for allowing reuse of her content.

Alternative Indices

Some claim that average number of citations per article or total number of citations is just as good a measure asif not better thanthe h-index. 

One of the strengths of the h-index—its insensitivity to highly-cited papers—could also be considered a weakness. That is, once an article has a sufficient number of citations to gain inclusion into the h core, additional citations are irrelevant. The g-index, in contrast, weights highly-cited papers more heavily. An index of g means that your most highly-cited articles together have at least g-squared citations. Your g-index will always be equal to or greater than your h-index.

If multiple-authored articles are common within your discipline, your h-index may be relatively high. Your degree of contribution to each article, however, may be thought to diminish as your number of co-authors increases. The hi-index (AKA individual h-index) takes number of co-authors into account. Your hi-index is equal to your h-index divided by the average number of authors on the articles in your h core. 

If you published a few highly-cited papers decades ago but are now inactive, your h-index may be higher than an established researcher who steadily continues to publish or a promising new researcher who is just beginning to gain recognition. The hc-index (AKA contemporary h-index) weights newer articles more heavily than older articles, so that articles lose their value over time. This allows a clearer picture of more recent levels of productivity and impact. 

If your have been publishing for decades, your h-index will be higher than a researcher who has been pusblishing for only a few years. The m-index takes differences in career length into account, by dividing your h-index by the number of years that you have been publishing. 

Several other alternative indices have also been proposed. 

Thanks to Jennifer Elder, Social Sciences Librarian at Emory University, for allowing reuse of her content.

Variations of the h-index: i-10 index

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 a researcher's h-index

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

Tips for Calculating h-index

Google ScholarTo calculate your h-index and see trends in your impact across time, create a public or private profile. Unlike other databases, Google Scholar provides citation information not only for journal articles but also for conference papers and books.  

Publish or PerishDownload this free Windows-based software, which uses information from Google Scholar to calculate h-index and several h-index alternatives. Mac users will need to download a Windows emulator, such as Wine, to use the software.  A companion user's guide, The Publish or Perish Book (Z669.8 .H37 2010), is available online, in Journalism Library Reserve and at Ellis Library.

Scholarometer: Install this browser (Firefox or Chrome) extension and search for an author to receive a list of articles, number of citations, h-index, and h-index alternatives based on information from Google Scholar. (From Indiana University School of Information Science).

Google Scholar Universal Gadget: Search for an author, and this gadget uses information from Google Scholar to calculate number of citations and h-index. 

Web of Science : Search for an author, then click Create Citation Analysis to calculate h-index and see trends in impact across time. 

Scopus : Search for an author, then select the correct author, select all articles of interest, then click View Citation Overview to calculate number of citations and h-index (full citation information available for articles published in 1996 or after). 

h-index Prediction Tool: Predict what your h-index will be in the future.

NOTE: As these tools use different ways of searching for articles and citations, they tend to provide differing results. 

Books on the Impact of Social Sciences Research

Bastow, S., Dunleavy, P. & Tinkler, J. (Eds.).  (2014). Impact of the social sciences : how academics and their research make a difference.  Los Angeles ; London ; New Delhi ; Singapore ; Washington, D.C. : Sage.  H62 .B3517 2014  Journalism Library Reserve & Ellis Library

Cronin, B. & Sugimoto, C. R. (Eds.). (2014). Beyond bibliometrics : harnessing multidimensional indicators of scholarly impact. Cambridge, MA : MIT Press.  Z669.8 .B49 2014  Journalism Library Reserve & Ellis Library

Additional resources for finding a researcher's h-index

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.