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Research Impact

This guide includes information and resources on measuring the impact of scholarly works, such as citation-based and alternative metrics.

What Is the H-index?

The H-index is a combined measure of a researcher's individual productivity and influence, based on papers published and the number of citations to those papers. It was developed by Jorge Hirsch, a physicist at UCSD, in 2005. (citation)

The H-index is determined by finding the distribution of citations to an author's publications, and identifying the minimum number of papers that have received at least that same number of citations in other papers. A scholar with an H-index of 7 has published 7 papers each of which has been cited at least 7 times.


Image: H-index-en. Public Domain. 
See also: H-index: What It Is and How to Find Yours ( blog)

Pros and Cons of the H-index


  • Useful for benchmarking faculty at similar stages in their careers in similar disciplines
  • Effort to encapsulate both productivity and impact in one metric


  • Does not compare across disciplines
  • Does not consider context or career
  • Does not consider author placement or gratuitous authorship
  • Subject to limitations of tool being used to calculate the h-index

Tools for Calculating Your H-index

Scopus H-index - Step by Step

Google Scholar Citations H-index - Step by Step