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Graduate Help: Author Metrics

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What is a h-index?

The h-index or Hirsch index is an index to quantify an individual’s scientific research output. To measure their h-index as accurately as possible, researchers should establish and maintain author profilesDifferent databases, with access to different content, may give different h-index scores for the same author. The h-index is not comparable across disciplines.

h-index calculation and meaning

"A scientist has index h if h of his/her Np papers have at least h citations each, and the other (Np − h) papers have no more than h citations each." [For details in calculation, see Hirsch, 2005]

An h-index of 5 means, for example, that a researcher has published 5 papers that each had received at least 5 citations. Therefore, the h-index reflects both the number of articles as well as the number of citations per article.  The maximum h index a researcher can have is the total amount of articles that researcher has published.

Sources to find the h-index

There are several databases that can be used to calculate an author's h-index.  Each database may determine a different h-index for the same individual as the content in each database is different. 

The Scopus database calculates an h-index for authors of works found within Scopus. Currently the database only covers works from 1996 and on, although efforts are underway to index materials prior to that date.

  • Select the Author Search tab and enter author's last name and initial(s). Author affiliation can also be added.
  • Perform search. Select appropriate author matches and then select View Citation Overview.
  • The author's documents and citations will be displayed, along with the h-index and h-graph. The h-index can be modified to remove self-citations.



There are several databases that can be used to calculate an author's h-index.  Each database may determine a different h-index for the same individual as the content in each database is different. 

The Web of Science Core Collection can be used to calculate an h-index for an author.  

  • Change the Basic Search option to Author Search.
  • Enter the author's last name and first initial. Add name variants to the search if needed. 
  • Narrow the search by discipline and affiliation if needed.
  • Review all of the matching author entries and select all possibilities.  
  • View author search results. 
  • To generate an h-index click on Create Citation Report in the right-hand menu.  

View the Web of Science videos on Author Search and Citation Report and h index for more information.

An accurate h-index is dependent on ensuring that all publications by that author have been selected and properly attributed.  The h-index is calculated based on the documents listed in the Web of Science Core Collection.  Researchers are encouraged to create a ResearcherID and add their publications to their ResearcherID profile to generate accurate citation metrics. 

Alternatives to using an author search

  • Search for an author identifier like an ORCID by changing the search field drop-down option to Author Identifiers.
  • Go to and locate the author's profile (if they have set one up and have assigned all of their publications to the profile).  


There are several databases that can be used to calculate an author's h-index.  Each database may determine a different h-index for the same individual as the content in each database is different. 

Go to Google Scholar and search for the author's name.  If the author has created a public profile their name will appear as the first item in the results list. Click on the link to view the user profile. The h-index will be shown on the right-hand side of the page. Caution: If works have been incorrectly attributed to the author the h-index will not be accurate. 

Where to Make Your Author Profiles

ORCID stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID.  ORCID is an open, free, non-profit system that maintains an author registry that creates unique and persistent author identifiers that can be integrated with other systems.  Publications listed in other author systems like ResearcherID and Scopus Author ID's can be exchanged to create a publication list on ORCID.

What do with your ORCID

  • Link your ORCID to other systems such as ResearcherID and your Scopus author profile. 
  • Add your ORCID to your social accounts such as ResearchGate or Mendeley. 
  • Add it to manuscript or grant applications.

Updating your publication list

Publications that have ORCIDs included in their metadata that are also included in the Crossref database can be automatically pushed to your ORCID profile.  In order for the updating to work you need to include your ORCID ID when submitting a paper or dataset and authorize Crossref and DataCite to update your ORCID record in your ORCID Inbox. 


Setting Up Your ORCID

ResearcherID is a unique identifier used by Thomson Reuter's Web of Science database.  ResearcherID allows authors to import their publications and create citation metrics reports such as your h-index (based on Web of Science data).  It is also integrated into EndNote.  

Once you set up your ResearcherID profile you need to update your publications as they are added to Web of Science.  You may find it useful to set up a Search Alert on Web of Science so that every time one of your publications are added to the Web of Science that you are notified by email. 

ResearcherID can be integrated with ORCID.  Publications from a ResearcherID profile can be transferred to ORCID or from ORCID to ResearcherID.  This screencast shows you how these features work. 


Scopus Author ID 

Scopus Author ID is a unique number automatically assigned by Elsevier in its ScienceDirect and Scopus products.  Authors can generate a citation metrics report of their publications including their h-index (based on Scopus data).  

It is important to check the publications assigned to your name to ensure accuracy.  You can request author detail corrections.  You can access your account in the Scopus database by clicking on the author search option and then search for your name.  Researchers who do not have access to Scopus can view their details by using the Scopus Author Lookup tool.  Publications listed under your Scopus Author ID can be transferred to ORCID. 

Updating your profile

Scopus automatically assigns new publications to an author profile.  You should periodically check to see if your new publications have been added to your author profile.  


Scopus to ORCID Integration

Publications listed in your Scopus profile can be easily transferred to your ORCID using the Scopus to ORCID wizard.  

Google Scholar Citations 

Google Scholar Citations profiles also provide an h-index based on your publications.  It is recommended that you create a Google Scholar profile based on your Google account so that you can keep your profile even if you switch institutions.  Also enter your university email address so that your profile will appear in Google Scholar search results. Google Scholar suggests articles written by people with similar names to yours.  Select your articles or search for additional articles. You can have Google Scholar update your profile automatically or you can choose to review them first (recommended).  

If you make your profile public your profile will appear at the top of Google Scholar results when people search for your name.


Why do I need more than one author profile?

Each database covers different publications for different time periods and will give slightly different metrics.   Additionally, different databases may work with other research metric systems and therefore accurate author data is necessary.  For instance, Scopus data is loaded into SciVal which is used to analyze research performance.