H-index: what are the features of the metric? H-index in Scopus and Web of Science

If you have just finished writing a scientific research paper and think that you are done with the process, you might be wrong! You are only done just with your part only, and now comes the result part, where you should analyze the impact of your publication. To do so, various factors can help you calculate the impact of your study, one of which is the Hirsch Index, generally termed as the h-index.

This article brings you the best knowledge of the role of the Hirsch Index in evaluating scientists’ and researchers’ work. Let’s start.

What is the Hirsch Index?

In a broader sense, the Hirsch index is used to assess scientific performance. The Hirsch index score is common scientific statistics that compares the number of papers published with the frequency of their authors cited in other publications. The h-index calculation is based on how many papers (H) have been referenced compared to the number of uncited papers. Knowing the h-index rating of the publications of interest is helpful when looking for the best journal to publish your upcoming work. Even if you are just starting as an author and do not yet have your individual h-index score, you could wish to start in the proper position to increase your sense of value dramatically.

Different platforms help researchers know the value of their Hirsch index, such as;

➢   Scopus

This platform includes a tracker that displays how frequently an author has been referenced.

➢   Web of Science

This digital platform features the Citation Reports function that offers the h-index.

➢   Google Scholar

This platform is a good option for those scholars who want to build their profiles.


Who invented the Hirsch Index?

Jorge E. Hirsch suggested the h-index in 2005, which was first reported in the American Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. After the announcement of the h-index by Hirsch in 2005, several indices depending on publishing data analysis have been proposed to date. Since then, many committees and organizations have swiftly chosen the h-index as their preferred measure. Today, various widely used databases provide h-index values for authors, including Scopus, Web of Science, and the most famous Google Scholar.

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What is Hirsch Index Used for?

Although the h-index was first developed to rank hypothetical physics scholars, its impact has now expanded significantly. H-indexes are increasingly often used to assess job candidates for academic posts. They are also employed in the assessment of grant seekers. Many academics even see them as a symbol of value. Finding a scholar’s h-index provides considerable openness to their standing in the industry. This makes assessing a researcher’s contribution to the field simple for non-experts. Scientists from various fields often use the index to assess both their work and that of others in their area.


How to Calculate the Hirsch Index?

To calculate the h-index, we start by measuring the number of articles for which an author has been referenced at least that many times by other authors.

The h-index is calculated by counting the number of publications for which an author has been cited by other authors at least the same number of times. Let us take an example. An h-index of 17 means that the scientist has published at least 17 papers that have each been cited at least 17 times. If the scientist’s 18th most cited publication was cited only 10 times, the h-index would remain at 17. If the scientist’s 18th most cited publication was cited 18 or more times, the h-index would rise to 18.

For your better understanding, we consider the h-index calculation by the three most-used platforms, one by one. Let us start with Scopus.


1.     Scopus

Step 1

Visit the website of Scopus and include your information.

Step 2

Next, you will have to select the right entry from a list of authors. Click on your desired author’s name and you will see their h-index.

Step 3

With the h-index, you will also see other bibliometric details, such as the number of citations or publications.

Web of Science

Step 1

Visit the website of Web of Science and include your information.

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Step 2

Filter out the results while looking for the author whose h-index you want to know. Once you find your desired result, you will see the option for creating a citation report.

Step 3

Now, you will see a new page displaying the h-index and other bibliographic metrics of the author.


Google Scholar

Step 1

Visit the Google Scholar website and type the name of the author in the search box.


Step 2 You will be provided with a list of all profiles created in Google Scholar for the searched terms. Look for the correct profile and open it.

Step 3. The h-index can be found on the right-hand side of the screen in the “Cited by” section.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Hirsch Index

There are several pros and cons of the Hirsch Index. Let us explore some of them below.

Advantages of the H-Index

  • The h-index provides the relationship between citations and publications to compare the quantity with quality.
  • The h-index balances out the publications with a high citation count or those that haven’t been cited yet.
  • It is a tool for assessing the overall influence of an author’s scholarly production and performance.
  • Numerous sources use the h-index calculation in their citation reports for authors.

Disadvantages of the H-Index

  • The h-index is not meant for a particular area as it is only a quantitative metric for evaluating an author’s entire corpus of scholarly work.
  • Different editions of the same work and similarities in authors’ names can hinder the accuracy of the citation information.
  • The h-index can be distorted by coworkers citing themselves or others for no reason.
  • Meeting abstracts, which receive few citations, and reviews, which receive many citations, are both unimportant to the h-index.
  • Academic fields differ in the typical number of publications, references, and citations, which disadvantages young researchers. The h-index grows as citations accumulate and thus it depends on the “academic age” of a researcher.
  • The h-index cannot be treated as a universal point since comparing authors from various fields or levels of seniority is unacceptable.

Alternatives to the Hirsch index

The h-index is not the only way to measure a scientist’s value. Many others have also been introduced for the same purpose. Let’s consider its alternatives.

Author popularity index (ap-index)

The overall quantity of different authors who have at minimum once mentioned any article authored by a certain author is known as the author popularity index (ap-index). This index shows how often other authors are aware of a certain author’s publications, value their scientific contributions, and use their research findings.

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Journal popularity index (jp-index)

A journal reputation can only increase with the addition of fresh, new contributors. Hence, the number of authors who have at least once mentioned any of a journal’s publications is known as the journal popularity index (jp-index). This indicator conveys the journal popularity by citing the authors. No matter how many publications an author has referenced from this journal, they are all only recognized once.

Best Ways to Increase the Hirsch Index

There are several methods for increasing the Hirsch Index, some of which are:

Work with experienced researchers

If you are just getting started, consider working with the most accomplished researchers in your area because research papers with well-known initial authors receive higher citations.

Pick your Journal wisely

Before finalizing the journal, try to decide which journal would be the best for your work. Well-known publications attract more readers and increase the number of citations.

Disseminate Open Access

Unsurprisingly, open-access publications receive more citations. However, your field will play a role in your decision to go with open access.

Consider your Audience

Researchers in your discipline may be more inclined to cite a specialized journal. Think about the journal’s readership while selecting one.

Network More Often

Networking will assist you in securing new colleagues and promoting your work. Therefore, whenever possible, attend seminars and meetings related to your field of study.

Improve your Writing

Writing is as important as the research itself. Ensure that the headline of your piece is intriguing but clear. Also, insert your keywords carefully as most readers will use a search engine to locate your post; therefore, it should be well-optimized.


Conclusively, the h-index has made a revolution in the research field since its anticipation. Many other indices have been introduced so far, but the value and impact of the Hirsch index remain relevant and unmatched.


If you are into scientific research and want to maximize the impact of your research by publishing high-quality articles, you should consider targeting a higher Hirsch index. To help you reach your target h-index, we provide exceptional services for all types of research topics and journals.


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