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Finding an author’s h-index – a step by step guide

Posted by gazjjohnson on 6 February, 2009

The h-index (Hirsch Number) is a metric that is increasingly becoming of interest to researchers, especially in the light of the REF.  An h-index is “a number that quantifies both the actual scientific productivity and the apparent scientific impact of a scientist“.  You can work it out manually, but to be honest you’d need to be mad or a bibliometrics fiend to want to.

I’ve been asked by a few people how to find it, and each time I totally forget how!  So in the light of this, here’s my step by step guide to discovering an author’s h-index automatically using that wonderful Web of Knowledge tool!

  1. Go to Web of Knowledge  and click on the big green button
  2. Click the Web of Science tab at the top of the screen
  3. Rnter the author’s name in the format surname initial* (e.g. raven e*)
  4. Change the search option from the drop down menu to Author
  5. Click Search
  6. At the top right of the results is the option to Create Citation Report. Click this.
  7. The analysis appears, along with the person’s relative h-index.

It seems simple, but I was scratching my head using WoK until I discovered that I need to just use Web of Science, not the whole WoK in order to get the value.  And so, now you know!  It is worth noting you do have to be fairly exact in your author naming conventions, as the citation report will not run for more than 10, 000 result records.

I did wonder if between steps 6 and 7 about selecting individual papers from the list of results, but it appears that this has no effect on the citation analysis; for example selecting 5 papers from a list of 120, 000 doesn’t enable me to run the citation reports – it appears to run in an all or nothing manner.  Or maybe there’s a trick here I’m missing?

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32 Responses to “Finding an author’s h-index – a step by step guide”

  1. The h-index, although attractive and commonly used, really has a large range of problems in terms of being a measure of anything useful. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirsch_number#Criticism for a start, and also http://michaelnielsen.org/blog/?p=248

    It seems highly unlikely that the REF will use the h-index to be honest – it is just too blunt a tool.

  2. David said

    Alternatively, if you find that the stuffy old web of science doesn’t give you the great h-index you are after, head over to Google Scholar and count up by hand all those obscure citations that really should count in these days of alternative publishing models!

  3. Yeah, I get the feeling this is something that our fabled bibliometric librarian will end up doing (and something that I hope someone writes an app for I don’t have to hand-code it!)

  4. The ‘Publish or Perish’ software available at http://www.harzing.com/pop.htm does bibliometrics based on Google Scholar data – although I really don’t like this simplistic approach to bibliometric data – lies, damn lies, statistics, and bibliometrics!

  5. David said

    @Owen I’ve only given it the quickest of looks, but I must say that it looks extremely useful, thanks

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  7. Ricardo said

    Useful, thanks, but it will only work for author with no overlapping names. Not my case…

  8. Dong said

    Whether the interface was changed or must to login? I cannot find it from wizard above???

  9. Ciao, volevo segnalarvi un plugin per calcolare l’h-index utilizzando Firefox con Google Scholar: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/scholar-h-index-calculator/

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