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Bibliometrics: a Practical Guide

Author-level indicators

Author (or group) level indicators

Publication and citation data can be influenced by many factors such as a researcher's age, career stage or discipline. Therefore it can be difficult to "measure" the impact of an individual researcher or a research group on the discipline or society.

What you need to know

The way you denote your author name or how an author's name appears on a published paper may not be replicated in the database, for example where a journal allows only a single initial or if an author's name can be spelt in different ways.

  • Use the database help pages for author searching to learn the specific policies of the database.
  • Make sure that you have sufficiently covered all possible variants of the author's name in each database you use.
  • For common names, adding in the author's organisation/institution to the search generally helps, however, there may be situations when two or more people with the same name are employed by the same organisation; in some cases, manually going through a results list to eliminate unwanted documents may be necessary.
  • If you are the author, make sure your profile on the database in question is up-to-date and correct so that your papers are identified as yours. Sign up and use your ORCID ID across different platforms to allow publishers and aggregators of scholarly literature to distinguish you from researchers with similar names.

For more information on the limitations and best uses of author level indicators see our Information for Researchers web pages on Citation analysis and bibliometrics.

Author indicators: best uses

Comparing against others

You, or your research group, may also wish to compare your citation performance against that of other researchers or the norm for your field. It is also possible to undertake an analysis of the proportion of papers published which are amongst the most highly cited (e.g. the top 10%) in that field.

See the SciVal user guide (login to SciVal), in combination with the SciVal metrics guidebook, for more information.

Alternative indices

hi-index 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.


g-index 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. 


m-index If you have been publishing for decades, your h-index will be higher than a researcher who has been publishing 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.

 

hc-index 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.

Finding citation counts for authors

How to on Scopus

  1. Use the 'Author' search to find all the publications in the database for an individual. 
    Scopus author search window
    Recommended search strategy: last name, first initial AND affiliation e.g. University of York.
     
  2. If appropriate, use the left-hand 'Refine' menu to limit the results to the individual's specific parameters.
    Note: The more common the name, the more refinements you may need to make to ensure that you only identify items written by that individual.
     
  3. Tick the box next to each variance of the name that matches with the individual you are searching for. Then click on 'View citation overview'.
    Scopus results with 'View citation overview' encircled
     
  4. On the 'Citation overview' screen, the total citation count will be listed in the top row of the table.
    Citation overview screen in Scopus
    You also have the option to remove self-citations from the count.

Note: Scopus covers some conference proceedings and books/book chapters in addition to journal articles and all these document types, unless you specify otherwise, will be in the results list.

Important point: When presenting the citation count it's also important to tell the reader the number of missing publications and therefore missing citations from the count.

How to on Web of Science

  1. Using the 'Author Search', find all the publications in the database for an individual. individual. Web of Science author search

    Recommended search strategy: last name, first initial AND organisation e.g. UNIVERSITY OF YORK UK
     
  2. If appropriate, use the left-hand 'Refine Results' menu to limit the results to the individual's specific parameters.
    Note: The more common the name, the more refinements you may need to make to ensure that you only identify items written by that individual.
     
  3. When you are happy that the results list includes only items authored by your individual, click on 'Create Citation Report' in the top right-hand corner of the results screen.Web of Science option to create a citation report
     
  4. On the citation report, the citation count and other data is located on the right-hand side of the screen.Web of Science citation report includes citation counts and other data

Important point: When presenting the citation count it's also important to tell the reader the number of missing publications and therefore missing citations from the count.

How to on Google Scholar Citations

Using your Google (gmail) account, create a profile of all your articles captured in Google Scholar. See the instructions for creating a  'Google Scholar Citations' profile on the create a researcher profile page.

Once complete, this will show all the times the articles have been cited by other documents in Google Scholar.

Google Scholar Citations profile with metrics encircled

You can get an overview of people at York with a (public) Google Scholar Citations profile.


To identify citation counts for someone else

  1. Search on the author's name in Google Scholar
  2. From the results list identify one of the author's publications. If the author has created a Google Scholar Citations profile and has made it 'public' the name will be linked. Click on the link to take you to their profile.
    Google Scholar author search results showing a public profile for DF Smith

The h-index

The h-index measures an individual's citation count over time. A researcher with an index of n has published n papers, each of which has been cited n times.

What you need to know

  • The higher the h-index, the more scholarly output a researcher has.
  • Limitations: It's not normalised by field. It correlates with career length and therefore disadvantages early career researchers.
  • Take care if you are using the h-index to make comparisons. The h-index is only meaningful when compared to others in the same discipline and with the same career length.

Finding your h-index

How to on Scopus

Follow instructions 1-3 for 'Finding citation counts for authors' in Scopus (above).

  • On the 'Citation overview' screen, the 'Author h-index' is located near the top of the screen.Scopus includes the h-index on the citation overview screen


Note: Scopus covers some conference proceedings and books/book chapters in addition to journal articles and all these document types, unless you specify otherwise, will be in the results list.

How to on Web of Science

Follow instructions 1-3 for 'Finding citation counts for authors' in Web of Science (above).

  • On the citation report, the h-index is located on the right-hand side of the screen.
    Web of Science citation report includes the h-index

How to on Google Scholar Citations

Using your Google (gmail) account, create a profile of all your articles captured in Google Scholar. See the instructions for creating a  'Google Scholar Citations' profile on the create a researcher profile page.

Once complete, this will show all the times the articles have been cited by other documents in Google Scholar and your h-index will be provided.

Google Scholar citations profile includes the h-index

Collaboration for authors

Collaboration can be determined both by looking at co-authors as well as the organisations of those co-authors. 

Best Uses: Determining who's working with whom.

How to on Scopus:

  1. Use the 'Author' search to find all the publications in the database for an individual.
     
  2. If appropriate, use the left-hand 'Refine' menu to limit the results to the individual's specific parameters.
    Note: The more common the name, the more refinements you may need to make to ensure that you only identify items written by that individual.
     
  3. Tick the box next to each variance of the name that matches with the individual you are searching for. Then click on 'Show documents'.
    Results of an author search on Scopus, with show documents encircled
     
  4. On the 'document results' page, use the 'Year' limit if appropriate. Then tick 'All' and click on "Analyze Search Results".
    Document results page on Scopus, with analyze search results encircled
     
  5. On the 'Analyze search results' page, click on either the 'Author' or 'Affiliation' tab to see a bar chart. You may also use the 'Export' link near the top right of the screen to download the data.
    Analyze search results page on Scopus

Note: Scopus covers some conference proceedings and books/book chapters in addition to journal articles and all these document types, unless you specify otherwise, will be in the results list.

How to on Web of Science:

  1. Using the 'Author Search', find all the publications in the database for an individual.
     
  2. If appropriate, use the left-hand 'Refine Results' menu to limit the results to the individual's specific parameters.
    Note: The more common the name, the more refinements you may need to make to ensure that you only identify items written by that individual.
     
  3. When you are happy that the results list includes only items authored by your individual, click on 'Analyze Results' in the top right-hand corner of the results screen.
    Web of Science author search results page, with analyze results encircled
  4. Select either 'Authors' or 'Organizations-Enhanced' depending on what you want to analyse, how many results you want to see, the minimum record count, and whether you want the list from highest to lowest (record count) or in alphabetical order (selected field).
    Web of Science results analysis page
  5. Once the table displays, you have the option to save the table to a text file. You may also use the checkboxes in the left-hand column to view or exclude specific records.
    Web of Science results analysis table, to choose rank, display and sort options