There are numerous approaches to talking about scholarly impact. Now that we've explored The Metrics Toolkit, let's narrow our focus to indexes of scholarly research and how you can use them to analyze citation data and calculate quantitative measures of research impact.
In particular, let's look at the h-index.
Created in 2005 by physicist Jorge Hirsch, the h-index is a commonly used metric that is 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 pp. 100-101, 2018).
BONUS Challenge: Find your h-index!
Follow the instructions below to locate an h-index for the same author in Web of Science and Google Scholar. If your publications are 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:
Web of Science
Reflect on what you find:
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.
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.
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