What is the h-index? This short video by John Bond of Riverwinds Consulting discusses h-index.
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Hi there. I am John Bond from Riverwinds Consulting and this is Publishing Defined.
Today I am going to talk about h-index.
The h-index is an author-level metric that measures both the productivity and citation impact of the publications by an author or researcher or group. The index is based on the set of the author’s most cited papers and the number of citations that they have received in other publications. The index can also be applied to the productivity and impact of a scholarly journal as well as to a group such as a university department.
The index was suggested by Jorge Hirsch of UCSD in 2005. It is sometimes called the Hirsch index or Hirsch number. The h-index is intended to measure simultaneously the quality and quantity of research and authorship output. Hirsch meant the index to address the disadvantages of other bibliometric indicators, such as the total number of papers or the total number of citations. It is considered by some to be the most widely used quantitative measure of impact by an author or group.
The definition of the index is that a scholar with an index of h has published h papers each of which has been cited in other papers at least h times. For example, an h-index of 12 would mean that out of all the publications by a group or person, 12 articles would have received at least 12 citations each.
The index is designed to improve upon other simpler measures such as the total number of citations or publications. The index is most properly applied for comparisons with authors or scientists or groups working in the same field.
Databases such as Scopus or the Web of Knowledge provide automated h-index calculators. Google Scholar provides an automatically-calculated h-index within a Google Scholar profile.
The h-index of course has drawbacks and critics. It does not adequately cover foreign language publication and does not include most citations in non-journal publications. Most literature prior to 1996 is not well covered and the index is database dependent.
The index is difficult to use to compare authors at different stages of a career such as a young researcher versus a veteran. The h-index will not decrease, even after a career is over. Finally, the value of each h-index is specific in that discipline. The comparisons are difficult to use from one area to another.
Despite these faults, the h-index has value and represents the natural inclination to want to quantify various challenges such as the comparison between research institutions and the like. But at the end of the day, the impact of the work on society is the real measure, and that is likely subjective.
Well that’s it. I am a publishing consultant and work with associations, publishers, and individuals on a host of content related challenges. Reach out to me at RiverwindsConsulting.com with your questions.
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