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Research Impact and Online Researcher Profiles

Tips and tools for assessing the impact of journals, journal articles, and researchers and for boosting one's online researcher profile.


The h-index is a combined measure of researcher productivity (i.e., number of publications) and impact (i.e., number of citations). If a researcher has an h-index of 6, this means that her 6 most highly cited articles have at least 6 citations each.

Caveats to using the h-index:

  • h-index can be deliberately inflated by self-citations.
  • h-index does not consider the order of authorship.
  • h-index should not be used to compare researchers across disciplines.

Tools for calculating h-index

Google Scholar (free): Create a Google Scholar Profile (public or private) to see your h-index and trends in your research impact over time.

Publish or Perish (free): Software that uses Google Scholar citation data to calculate your h-index and several h-index alternatives.>

Scholarometer (free): Browser extension that uses Google Scholar citation data to calculate your h-index. 

Web of Science (WSU subscription): Search for an author and then click Create Citation Report to see h-index and trends in research impact over time.

Scopus (WSU subscription): Perform an Author Search and select the correct author to see h-index and trends in research impact over time.

Note: These tools use different sources of publication and citation data and hence provide differing results.

h-index alternatives

g-index: After an article has a sufficient number of citations to be counted in the h-index, additional citations are irrelevant. By contrast, the g-index weights highly-cited papers more heavily. 

hi-index: If articles with multiple authors are common in your field, your h-index may be relatively high. However, your degree of contribution to each article usually diminishes as the number of co-authors increases. Therefore, the hi-index (i.e., individual h-index) accounts for number of co-authors. 

hc-index: The h-index provides no information on the recency of publications and citations. By contrast, the hc-index (i.e., contemporary h-index) weights newer articles more heavily than older articles, allowing a clearer picture of recent levels of productivity and impact. 

m-index: The h-index does not take career length into account. By contrast, the m-index corrects for the number of years since a researcher's first article was published. 

Several other h-index modifications and alternatives have also been proposed. 

Unique researcher identifiers

Calculating h-index or other measures of personal research impact can be difficult due to more than one researcher having the same name, name changes, inconsistent use of initials, etc. Unique researcher IDs can help you keep accurate records of your publications. 

Register for an ORCID identifier (Open Research and Contributor ID) to attach your identity to all of your research activities and outputs, including journal articles, grants, and datasets.

Register for a ResearcherID to integrate all of your journal article listings in Web of Science.

If your journal articles appear in Scopus, you are automatically assigned a Scopus Author Identifier.