It is extremely difficult to “measure” the impact of an individual researcher or a research group on the discipline or society. However, bibliometrics can help to broadly inform evaluation alongside qualitative, expert assessment and review.
The number of publications in any field increases enormously every year. It becomes more and more difficult for a researcher to keep track of recent publications even in relatively well defined disciplines. That means that it becomes more important to make a publication more visible so it won’t be overlooked.
A few easy to do and easily applied steps can raise the visibility of your publication:
Here are two examples on how metrics can be presented on a publication list:
The h-index (a.k.a. Hirsch index) is a combined measure of both productivity and impact. An index of h means that your h most highly-cited articles have at least h citations each, e.g. a researcher's h-index will be 5 if 5 of his/her articles have been cited at least 5 times.
The h-index is more informative than total number of articles (which ignores how well those articles have been received by other researchers) or total number of citations (which can be inordinately influenced by a small number of highly-cited articles and therefore not an accurate reflection of productivity).
The h-index can be calculated by using the following tools:
There are a number of limitations and cautions to be taken into account when using the h-index. These include:
If multiple-authored articles are common within your discipline, your h-index may be relatively high. Your degree of contribution to each article, however, may be thought to diminish as your number of co-authors increases. The hi-index (aka individual h-index) takes the number of co-authors into account. Your hi-index is equal to your h-index divided by the average number of authors on the articles in your h core.
One of the strengths of the h-index—its insensitivity to highly-cited papers—could also be considered a weakness. That is, once an article has a sufficient number of citations to gain inclusion into the h core, additional citations are irrelevant. The g-index, in contrast, weights highly-cited papers more heavily. An index of g means that your g most highly-cited articles together have at least g-squared citations. Your g-index will always be equal to or greater than your h-index.
If your have been publishing for decades, your h-index will be higher than a researcher who has been pusblishing for only a few years. The m-index takes differences in career length into account, by dividing your h-index by the number of years that you have been publishing.
If you published a few highly-cited papers decades ago but are now inactive, your h-index may be higher than an established researcher who steadily continues to publish or a promising new researcher who is just beginning to gain recognition. The hc-index (AKA contemporary h-index) weights newer articles more heavily than older articles, so that articles lose their value over time. This allows a clearer picture of more recent levels of productivity and impact.
Several other alternative indices have also been proposed.
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