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Scholarly Metrics in the Humanities and Social Sciences: Author h-index

What is h-index?

A popular measure of author impact is h-index, which was developed in 2005 by Jorge Hirsch, a physicist at the University of California, San Diego. If a researcher has published x number of papers that have each been cited at least x time, then his/her h-index is x. For example, if an author has an h-index of 10, it means he/she has 10 articles that have been cited at least 10 times. The following illustrates how the h-index is calculated.

The h-index is intended as an improvement over simpler measures such as the total citation counts for all the publications of a given author. It is only appropriate to compare the h-indexes of authors in the same field since the citation practices vary widely across different fields.

Tracking h-index

Researchers can calculate their own h-index manually. However, several major citation databases can generate h-index for authors automatically. Keep in mind these databases calculate h-index based on the journals and publications they index, so the values may vary across different databases.

Google Scholar


Web of Science



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