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."

  • eg. An h-index of 25 means the researcher has 25 papers, each of which has been cited 25+ times.

Step 1: Access Google Scholar

Locate the Google Scholar link on the Library website. With Google Scholar there are several sites and applications that can help you calulate your h-index. These are generally free and dissemination methods may vary. The period of analysis used encompasses a five-year period (2007- November 15, 2012). An analysis of Google Scholar metrics is available. Click on the "Google Scholar Metrics updated PDF" at the bottom of the page.

Step 2: Searching for your articles

  • Select advanced search options (drop-down arrow to the right of search box).
  • Enter the author's name in the "Return articles authored by" field, placing quotes around the name. Since some sources indexed in Google Scholar use initials only, it is advisable to search using variations such as "j smith" and "ja smith".
  • You may also want to enter data into other fields to focus your search on a specific article.
  • Click on Search Scholar.
  • Locate the correct article in the search results list.
  • If the article was cited by others, you will see a "Cited by" link at the bottom of the record. Follow this link to view the articles that cited this article.
  • For more information about searching see Google Scholar's Help pages.

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.
    • Coverage is primarily medical, scientific, and technical.
    • Coverage is primarily English language.

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.