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Scholarship Impact Metrics: Author Metrics

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Author Impact

Widely used as a surrogate measure of the impact of an author, h-index is controversial and, although it has a very simple formula, it is difficult to calculate it with high accuracy. The difficulty comes from the combination of databases limitations in content, citations accuracy, topic interdisciplinarity, and authors' name ambiguity.

h-index is readily available in Web of Science database. However, for scholars studying interdisciplinary subjects, or for those that do not have access to Web of Science database, Google Scholar may offer an acceptable substitute, although not without many caveats.

Additionally, metrics of the social media reach of publications or the peer-review activity could also contribute to creating a more comprehensive image of a scholar's academic impact.

Traditional metrics

Altmetrics

Keep track of social media activity surrounding your papers.

Credit for peer-review activity

Peer-review is a common scholarly activity that is largely under-credited. These systems track and give credit for any submitted reviews.

h-index

h-index attempts to measure both the productivity and quality of the published work of a scientist or scholar, where quality is represented by number of citations.

How is h-index calculated?

Start by organizing articles in descending order, based on the number of times they have been cited, then determine which h papers have at least h citations.

Advantages

  • It combines quantity (publications) and impact (citations) into one measure
  • Allows for direct comparisons within disciplines
  • Allows for objectivity in characterizing the scientific output of a researcher with objectivity
  • It is better suited to evaluate the scientific output of a researcher than other performs better than commonly used  criteria

Disadvantages

  • Early career researchers are disadvantaged
  • Citation numbers of highly cited papers are not taken in consideration
  • It is affected by limitations such as incomplete list of scholarly publications and their citation numbers, author disambiguation, etc.

Where to find h-index?

H-index is readily available within some databases or using specific tools, such as Web of Science, Google Scholar, or Publish or Perish software. The numbers will vary between different sources; however, there is no perfect source.

Altmetrics