This current challenge focuses on on just one metric that measures impact, the h-index.
Created in 2005 by physicist Jorge Hirsch, the h-index is intended to be a measure of both the productivity and the impact of an individual author. A scholar has an index of h when they have published h papers, each of which has been cited at least h times. (Sugimoto & Lariviere, Measuring Research : What Everyone Needs to Know, OUP, pp. 100-101, 2018).
The h-index is hotly contested and known to be problematic, and yet it is commonly used and a metric you're likely to encounter without even seeking it out.
Follow the instructions below to locate an h-index for the same author in Web of Science, and Google Scholar.
If your publications have been indexed in both places, we recommend that you search for your own name. If not, search for a scholar whose work you have used in your research.
Here's how to do it:
(Note: Scopus, a database not available at EMU, also lists an h-index for authors.)
Reflect on what you find:
Does the h-index stay the same or vary across these databases? If the score changes, can you figure out why?
What strengths do you see in the h-index as a measure of productivity and impact? What limitations do you see?
If asked to provide an h-index as part of an evaluation process, how would you proceed?
The h-index always depends upon the data source from which it was calculated. When reporting an h-index, you will always want to indicate the data source. In fact, if you look at some scholars' CV's, you'll notice that they include multiple h-index numbers (ex. Google Scholar h-index and Web of Science h-index).
The Google Scholar h-index will often be higher than the h-index from other sources. This is because Google Scholar is more inclusive than Web of Science, indexing many more types of material than peer-reviewed research articles.
The h-index inherently favors scholars with longer careers, who have had the time both to publish more work and to accrue more citations.
The h-index will not adequately represent the work of scholars when some of their publications are not indexed in the data source being used.
The h-index for scholars from different fields cannot be compared due to the publishing norms for different disciplines. You can't compare the h-index for a historian with the h-index for a physicist and draw any meaningful conclusions, for example.
Activity 1 : Find your own h-index in Web of Science and Google Scholar.
If your works are indexed in Web of Science, find your h-index in that database. You can do the same with Google Scholar, just make sure you have created your Google Scholar profile to access this information.
Activity 2 : If you don't have an h-index from either of these sources, explore the h-index of key scholars in your field.