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Citation Analysis: H-Index

H-Index Overview

The h-index, or Hirsch index, measures the impact of a particular scientist rather than a journal. "It is defined as the highest number of publications of a scientist that received h or more citations each while the other publications have not more than h citations each (Schreiber, 2008a)." For example, a scholar with an h-index of 5 had published 5 papers, each of which has been cited by others at least 5 times. The h-index is included in Web of Science, Scopus and at the Publish or Perish site at

Note that an individual's h-index may be very different in different databases. This is because the databases index different journals and cover different years. For instance, Scopus only considers work from 1996 or later, while the Web of Science calculates an h-index using all years that an institution has subscribed to. (So a Web of Science h-index might look different when searched through different institutions.)  

How to Find an H-Index

Find h-Index Using Web of Science

1.  Connect to Web of Science.

2.  Select the Web of Science tab.


3.  Conduct an author search.  You can usually enter the author's name as LAST NAME (space) FIRST INITIAL.  Adding an institution name in the Address field will help with disambiguation of common results.  Refining further using the facets to the left of the search results will allow you to further disambiguate between common results.

4.  At the results screen, click on the "Create Citation Report" link.


5.  The author's h-Index will display in the Citation Report screen.



Finding h-Index using Publish or Perish

1.  The Publish or Perish site uses data from Google Scholar.  An explanation of citation metrics is available here.

2.  Publish or Perish is available in Windows and Linux formats and can be downloaded at no cost from the Publish or Perish website.

3.  Once you have downloaded the application, you can use Publish or Perish to find h-Index by entering a simple author search.  You can exclude names or deselect subject areas to the right of the search boxes to help with disambiguation of authors.


4.  The h-Index will display on the results page.



5.  You can narrow your search results further by deselecting individual articles.  The h-Index will update dynamically as you do this.


Finding h-Index Using Scopus

Finding h-Index Using Scopus

Note: Scopus coverage starts with 1996, so a Scopus H-Index will not reflect the impact of a researcher's earlier work.


Much of the content of this guide is based on a guide created at University of Michigan Library and which can be viewed here. Thank you to the group that created that guide and allowed us to make use of the content for our own guide.