The index is based on the distribution of citations received by a given researcher's publications. Jorge E. Hirsch developed the h-index as a process for quantifying the output of an individual researcher. Hirsch writes:  “I propose the index h, defined as the number of papers with citation number ≤ h, as a useful index to calculate the scientific output of a researcher”.

How to calculate your h-index?

To manually calculate your h-index, organize articles in descending order, based on the number of times they have been cited. For example, an author has 8 papers that have been cited 33, 30, 20, 15, 7, 6, 5, and 4 times. This tells us that the author's h-index is 6. An h-index of 6 means that this author has published at least 6 papers that have each received at least 6 citations.

H-index graphic

More context

  • The first paper has been cited 33 times and gives us a 1 (there is one paper that has been cited at least once).
  • The second paper has been cited 30 times and gives us a 2 (there are two papers that have been cited at least twice).
  • The third paper gives us a 3 and all the way up to 6 with the sixth-highest paper.
  • The final two papers have no effect in this case as they have been cited less than six times.

(Shannon Gordon, Univ of Waterloo library)

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