Finding your h-index (Hirsch index) in Google Scholar

What is the h-index?

"An index that quantifies both the actual scientific productivity and the apparent scientific impact of a scientist."  (The h-index was suggested by Jorge E. Hirsch, physicist at San Diego State University in 2005. The h-index is sometimes referred to as the Hirsch index or Hirsch number.)

  • e.g., an h-index of 25 means the researcher has 25 papers, each of which has been cited 25+ times.

Step 1 - Setting Up a Google Scholar Profile

  • To create a profile, you must log in to scholar.google.com with your ucar.edu email or any other valid Google account. If you do not have a Google account, you will need to create one.
  • Once logged in, click the “My Profile” link at the top of the page.
  • Add your name and email address to your profile. Google Scholar uses your email to confirm your account.
  • You can add other information, such as affiliation and topical keywords, if desired.

Step 2 - Populating Your Profile

  • Google Scholar next presents groups of articles that it thinks may be yours, based on your name.
  • Add all of the groups of articles that may contain papers by you. Note, there may be articles in these initial lists by other people who have the same name as you. This is not a problem, as these can be deleted in the next step.
  • After selecting article groups to add, Google Scholar presents a few settings, allowing you to set up auto-updates and email notifications. You also have the option to make your profile public, or keep it private.
  • Once your profile is set up and populated, you can go through the list and delete irrelevant articles, by clicking on the check box to the left of each article. You can also merge articles that Google has duplicate entries for in the same way.

Step 3 - Finding Your H-Index

  • The H-index is displayed in the "Cited by" box on the right hand of your profile page.
  • Also displayed are the total number of citations that all of the articles in your profile have received, and the "i10-index", which shows how many of your articles have received at least 10 citations.

Using Google Scholar for the h-index

  • Benefits
    • Covers a wider range of sources, (especially conferences, technical reports and eprints).
    • Easier to calcualte some of the less common metrics (since it is not linked to proprietary data).
  • Disadvantages
    • Maybe considered a less authoritarian resources than Web of Science.
    • More difficult to search when there are multiple authors with the same family name & initials-limited options to refine
    • There may be duplication of results, so check carefully.

Issues to be aware of:

  • When comparing impact factors you need to compare similar authors in the same discipline, using the same database, using the same method.
  • Be sure to indicate limitations.
  • In general you can only compare values within a single discipline. Different citation patterns will mean, for example, an average medical researcher will generally have much larger h-index value than a world-class mathematician.
  • The h-index may be less useful in some disciplines, particularly some areas of the humanities.

For further assistance in this process, please Ask a Librarian or call 303-497-8559.