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Author Metrics

Author Metrics - Overview

Author level metrics are quantitative measures that highlight the impact of an individual author typically through citation. Author metrics can be used to discover key researchers in the field, track the work of colleagues, and identify potential collaborators. Below are terms commonly used when referring to author level metrics and also several popular author profile systems and what methods they use to calculate an author's impact.

Common Terminology

What is the h-index?
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.

The h-index will vary considerably depending on a person's number of 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.

Introduced in 2006, the g-index is a variation of the h-index. Unlike the h-index, the g-index is strongly affected by highly-cited items. It is calculated this way: "[Given a set of articles] ranked in decreasing order of the number of citations that they received, the G-Index is the (unique) largest number such that the top g articles received (together) at least g^2 citations" (Harzig's Publish or Perish Manual). 

g-index image


  • It may not be as widely accepted as h-Index since it is not as established in academia. 

Created by Google Scholar, the i10-index is quite straightforward. It is simply the number of publications with 10 or more citations


It is only used in Google Scholar. 

The Metrics Toolkit is a website that can provide more guidance for demonstrating and evaluating claims of research impact. They give four specific recommendations: 

  • Use a mix of qualitative and quantitative evidence to support your claims of influence, engagement, use, impact.
  • Present quantitative data in context and use appropriately normalized scores when possible.
  • When comparing or benchmarking quantitative evidence, be sure you are comparing like to like. For example, article metrics may need to compared to articles from the same discipline, publication year, and possibly language. Similarly, if you are comparing yourself to other faculty, consider choosing those in the same career stage and who are employed at peer institutions.
  • Choose metrics that align with the values of the institution, funding agency, or other organization to which you are applying. 

For more information read this review of the Metrics Toolkit.


Remember, let metrics be just one tool out of many to measure your research impact!

Impact Measuring Tools

  1. The h-index from Web of Science is based on the articles that are indexed in WoS for this author. It might not be accurate if the majority of the author’s works are not in this database.
  2. You also need to check to make sure you did bring up the correct author, especially if the author’s name is a very common name.
  3. Or, you may need to combine several records if there are alternate variations of the author’s name. 
  4. In Web of Science, select the “Author Search” tool. Enter last name and then first name and/or initials.  Add alternative name, if you know that information. You can also search by ORCiD. 
  5. Select the correct author or combine several author entries if they are indeed the same author but with name variation.
  6. Here is an author page with the h index:Web of Science author record
  7. View the full citation report to get a graphical depiction of "sum of times cited per year" and to export data to a text or CSV file. Additionally, citations can be visualized by subject area, publication years, journal titles, etc. 



1. To find a researcher's h-index with Google Scholar, search for their name.  

2. If a user profile comes up with the correct name, discipline, and institution, click on that.

3. The h-index will be displayed for that author under "citation indices."

screenshot of citation indices in Google Scholar

1. Go to Scopus' author lookup tool.  (We do not have a subscription to the Scopus database, but this feature is free.)

2. Search for author by name and institution.

Scopus image

3. From the results page, click on the name that matches the author of interest. If there is more than one entry for the author, you can select multiple entries. The h-index appears on this page but more information is available if you click "View citation overview."

Scopus name search

4. The citation overview can be exported or printed. Below the graph, it shows each published article with citations by year for the most recent 5 years.

Scopus citation overview


Be aware that not all h-indices are accurate!

h-indices can vary by source since databases include different journals in terms of subject coverage as well as volume of journals included. In addition, name variations can lead to inaccurate h-indices. We recommend confirming articles, utilizing database-specific author IDs, and attaching ORCiDs where possible. We also recommend checking h-index in both Web of Science and Scopus to identify potential issues with accuracy.

Publish or Perish is a free, downloadable software program that uses Google Scholar data to help scholars track citations to their publications to demonstrate their impact for the purposes of tenure and promotion. In addition to basic descriptive statistics (such as number of publications, number of citations, number of citations per paper, number of citations per year, and so forth), it also calculates citation metrics, including the h-index and several variations on it, such as the g-index.

Need Help Managing your Profiles?

Check out the Scholarly Profiles Tools libguide here!

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