In a conversation this week I was asked what my H-Index was. It is regarded as a measure of the impact of the published work of a scientist and after 20 years of publishing I am interested in how the work I have been doing for the past two decades is received.
I’m not going to discuss in detail some of the views of the H-Index measure as this has already been done on a number of blogs (1,2 and 3). Rather, I am going to see what freely available tools I can use to compute my H-Index. There are numerous ways to generate the H-index including the Google Scholar Universal Gadget, the Publish or Perish desktop software and the Scholar H-index Calculator.
Using each one at a time…
1) The Google Scholar Universal Gadget is EASY to use. I inserted my name as shown below and was given the statistics shown. I have over 100 peer-reviewed publications listed in my CV so 55 is pretty low. Clicking on the “view publications” gave me 83 listed in the Google Scholar search. Certainly not all of my publications are listed. The highest number of citations is 48 for a paper I was involved with at Kodak but there are a number of fairly well cited papers.
2) The Publish or Perish software was downloaded and installed in a couple of minutes. It was fairly obviious how to use it and within a few minutes I had pruned the retrieved hit list of articles down to those I had authored or co-authored. The resulting statistics are shown below. In this case I am associated with 65 papers giving an H-index of 15 and published over 22 years. Many of my papers are missing but the H-index is similar to that determined by the Google gadget. The various other statistics are not something I understand yet but will be looking into. While the Publish or Perish is very powerful (especially the formats it will allow me to save the stats out are very flexible and complete) it is probably a little too much for someone just looking for a “number”.
3) The Scholar H-index Calculator is an Add-on for Firefox from Agelin Bee. This add-on utilizes the Google API in the same way that the Google Gadget does but offers the ability to prune the data through an advanced interface integrated to Firefox. This approach ultimately gave the same H-index of 16 from the other gadget, not unexpected since it is using the Google API, and uses 83 publications, even after pruning. Overall this was my PREFERRED tool for finding an H-index value. Is it correct? I don’t know. But three tools seem very consistent yet don’t seem to be retrieving all of my publications…and one would assume those they can’t find might not be highly cited!
Just_out_of interest, the list of living chemists with an H-index>50 is pretty long. I have not worked in academia since 1990 when I worked at the University of Ottawa as their NMR Facility Manager. I am fortunate to have continued a scientific career enabling me to publish “after hours” and I don’t foresee me hitting the “50s” anytime soon! I am interested to know how the H-index generated with free online tools compares with commercial tools. I also hope to do some examination of the contribution of “old” articles to the H-index as there are a number of articles from early in my career that seem to have 0 citations and I know they were cited. It appears that many of the more recent articles have citations though. So, I wonder whether the presence of an article in the digital work is contributing some form of bias? This is just perception at present….