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Measuring Academic Output

About the h-index

The h-index is a measure of an author's research impact. It is a combined measure of both the productivity (number of papers) and the impact of a researcher’s publications (citations). It provides a mechanism for the work of individual researchers to be compared with others in the same discipline.

Example: If a researcher has an h-index of 4, this means that the researcher has four papers that have each been cited four times or more.

Example: If a researcher has an h-index of 15, the researcher has fifteen papers that have each been cited fifteen times or more.

  • is most appropriate for researchers who are established and have published extensively.
  • it measures “durable” performance, not only single peaks, and avoids skewing by one highly cited paper.
  • any document type can be included including conference papers and book chapters

h-index Caveats

  • not a good indicator for early career researchers, as both their publication output and citation rates will be relatively low
  • highly dependent on the length of a researcher’s career, meaning only researchers with similar years of service can be compared fairly.
  • provides no indication of peaks and dips in publication performance.
  • is a less appropriate measure of academic achievement for researchers in the humanities and social sciences

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