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Research Impact

Guide about how to track your scholarly and research impact.

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Jennifer Hart
Librarian for Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics
Ryerson Physical Laboratory 156
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J.E. Hirsch, a physicist at the University of California San Diego, developed the Hirsch, or h-index, in 2005 as a method for measuring productivity and impact of a researchers' works.  

In the simplest terms, a researcher has an index of h if h of their papers have been cited as least h times each.

h-index visual with a table of papers 1 through 10 and their respective number of citations.  Papers 1-6 have six or more citations, therefore the h-index for this author is 6.

Important points to keep in mind:

  • an individual's h-index will vary based on the dataset.  Your h-index in Scopus will most likely be different than your h-index in Web of Science because they are different datasets.  

  • there is currently no means for weighing an individual author's contribution to given article, i.e. did the 2nd author put in as much work as the 4th author.  

  • citation counts are not necessarily a measure of the quality of research.  

PubMed Articles about h-index