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Researcher impact metrics examine various pieces of data about a researcher, their publications, and the patterns of their career. These metrics come in two main groups: qualitative measures like who do they publish with, who do they cite, how long have they been active in various fields of research, and quantitative measures that examine how and when their publications are cited. These are some common quantitative measures.
h-index or H-index: named for its inventor, physicist Jorge Hirst, this metric identifies a person's most cited articles and how often they have been cited. An h-index of 6 means: an author's six most highly-cited articles have been cited six times.
hi-index: The h-index has been criticized because it does not take into account that some papers are written by groups and some are written by individuals. The hi-index was created to identify individual contributions to group-authored papers. If a researcher commonly publishes with many co-authors, their hi-index would be lower than a person who typically authors papers alone.
hc-index: The h-index has been criticized because established researchers with more publications will always have higher h-indexes than newer researchers with few publications. The "contemporary" version of the h index -- hence the name, hc-- weighs recently published articles more heavily, so newer researchers are not disadvantaged.
i-10 index: created by Google Scholar, this indicates the number of academic publications an author has written that have been cited by at least 10 sources.
How do I find researcher impact measurements?
Calculating these quantitative metrics, or creating lists of information to use in qualitative analysis, requires having access to all publications authored by a researcher, and a complete list of every time these have been cited. There are no databases that include all publications ever written; there are no databases that track each citation.
The sources below will calculate or allow you to calculate some qualitative and/or quantitative researcher impact metrics, based on their knowledge of the articles authored by one person and the citations to these articles appearing in several thousand journals. You will find different h-indexes for the same researcher in these different products. If you are reporting this data to someone else, report the source where you found it, too.
Search Google Scholar for an individual's name. If they have created a public Google Scholar profile, it will appear at the top of the search results. Go to the individual's profile page to see the h-index and i-10 index calculated with publications and citations included in Google Scholar.
Change the search to Author, then search for a person's name. This product includes h-index from Scopus publications on the search results page, but click an author name to see additional metrics, including many qualitative metrics.
Change the type of search to Researchers, then search for a person (use variations of their name). Find an author profile page with h-index calculated from publications within Web of Science, and qualitative measures as well.
This downloadable software allows you to examine data from Google Scholar profiles, Microsoft Academic, Scopus, PubMed, Web of Science, and CrossRef, to calculate h-index and other metrics based on these different databases' contents.
Controversies with researcher impact
Because each discipline has its own unique patterns for publishing, it's not appropriate to compare researcher metrics across fields of study. There are different author order conventions, rules for when you can or cannot cite your own papers, and citing patterns in different disciplines that can affect these quantitative researcher impact metrics.