Scholars and scientists often want to know what impact they are having on their field of study. The most traditional way of quantifying this is to determine how many times one's publications have been cited in the literature. Citation indexes make this fairly easy to do, but to ensure accuracy it has to be done correctly and consistently.
The h-index is a measure of "citedness" as a surrogate for productivity and impact. It is the number of articles h in a group of publications N that have received h or more citations. For example, an h-index of 20 means that there are 20 items in the selected group N that have received 20 or more citations. It is like a median, and useful because it discounts the disproportionate weight of highly cited and uncited papers that would skew a mean. However, the h-index will vary considerably depending on a person's number of credited publications and the length of time they've been active: older and more prolific authors will usually have higher h-indexes than younger or less prolific authors. If you want to compare your h-index to someone else's, you need to use the same methodology to calculate them and then normalize the values by dividing them by a second factor, e.g. years since PhD. The standard caveats apply when using h-indexes in personnel and funding decisions.
This method is easiest and works fine for most purposes. Its drawbacks include:
Here's how you do it.
To avoid having to repeat this process every time you want to see your citations and h-index, you should register for a ResearcherID (RID). This allows you to claim a unique ID number for yourself within the WOS system, and then attach all your publications to it. After that, you (or anyone else) can get regular updates and reports, and avoid the Author Name problem when you want to repeat this procedure. The RID can be linked to your ORCID ID and will cross-populate your references.
Citation metrics are only as reliable as the underlying data. Google Scholar's metrics are generally not reproducible and will differ - sometimes significantly - from data found in Web of Science. Google indexes a different, wider (and largely unknowable) universe of publications. It is difficult to resolve author name ambiguity.
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