Calculating my H Index With Free Available Tools

23 Apr

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…

The Scholar Gadget

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”.

Publish or Perish Desktop Software

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!

The Firefox Google Scholar Add-in

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….


About tony

Antony (Tony) J. Williams received his BSc in 1985 from the University of Liverpool (UK) and PhD in 1988 from the University of London (UK). His PhD research interests were in studying the effects of high pressure on molecular motions within lubricant related systems using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. He moved to Ottawa, Canada to work for the National Research Council performing fundamental research on the electron paramagnetic resonance of radicals trapped in single crystals. Following his postdoctoral position he became the NMR Facility Manager for Ottawa University. Tony joined the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York as their NMR Technology Leader. He led the laboratory to develop quality control across multiple spectroscopy labs and helped establish walk-up laboratories providing NMR, LC-MS and other forms of spectroscopy to hundreds of chemists across multiple sites. This included the delivery of spectroscopic data to the desktop, automated processing and his initial interests in computer-assisted structure elucidation (CASE) systems. He also worked with a team to develop the worlds’ first web-based LIMS system, WIMS, capable of allowing chemical structure searching and spectral display. With his developing cheminformatic skills and passion for data management he left corporate America to join a small start-up company working out of Toronto, Canada. He joined ACD/Labs as their NMR Product Manager and various roles, including Chief Science Officer, during his 10 years with the company. His responsibilities included managing over 50 products at one time prior to developing a product management team, managing sales, marketing, technical support and technical services. ACD/Labs was one of Canada’s Fast 50 Tech Companies, and Forbes Fast 500 companies in 2001. His primary passions during his tenure with ACD/Labs was the continued adoption of web-based technologies and developing automated structure verification and elucidation platforms. While at ACD/Labs he suggested the possibility of developing a public resource for chemists attempting to integrate internet available chemical data. He finally pursued this vision with some close friends as a hobby project in the evenings and the result was the ChemSpider database ( Even while running out of a basement on hand built servers the website developed a large community following that eventually culminated in the acquisition of the website by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) based in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Tony joined the organization, together with some of the other ChemSpider team, and became their Vice President of Strategic Development. At RSC he continued to develop cheminformatics tools, specifically ChemSpider, and was the technical lead for the chemistry aspects of the Open PHACTS project (, a project focused on the delivery of open data, open source and open systems to support the pharmaceutical sciences. He was also the technical lead for the UK National Chemical Database Service ( and the RSC lead for the PharmaSea project ( attempting to identify novel natural products from the ocean. He left RSC in 2015 to become a Computational Chemist in the National Center of Computational Toxicology at the Environmental Protection Agency where he is bringing his skills to bear working with a team on the delivery of a new software architecture for the management and delivery of data, algorithms and visualization tools. The “Chemistry Dashboard” was released on April 1st, no fooling, at, and provides access to over 700,000 chemicals, experimental and predicted properties and a developing link network to support the environmental sciences. Tony remains passionate about computer-assisted structure elucidation and verification approaches and continues to publish in this area. He is also passionate about teaching scientists to benefit from the developing array of social networking tools for scientists and is known as the ChemConnector on the networks. Over the years he has had adjunct roles at a number of institutions and presently enjoys working with scientists at both UNC Chapel Hill and NC State University. He is widely published with over 200 papers and book chapters and was the recipient of the Jim Gray Award for eScience in 2012. In 2016 he was awarded the North Carolina ACS Distinguished Speaker Award.

Posted by on April 23, 2011 in Community Building, General Communications


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