Welcome to Day 8 of the U-M Library Research Impact Challenge!
Yesterday we used The Metrics Toolkit to explore a wide range of approaches to talking about scholarly impact. Today we narrow our focus to indexes of scholarly research and how they can be used to analyze citation data and calculate quantitative measures of research impact.
Let’s get started!
The U-M Library Research Guide on Research Impact Assessment (Health Sciences), written and maintained by U-M Library informationists Tyler Nix and Judy Smith, provides a clear introduction and context for citation-based research impact metrics. Applicable well beyond the health sciences, this guide will provide the backbone of today’s challenge.
Today’s challenge focuses on on just one metric, the h-index. Created in 2005 by physicist Jorge Hirsch, the h-index is intended to be a measure of both the productivity and the impact of an individual author. A scholar has an index of h when they have published h papers, each of which has been cited at least h times. (Sugimoto pp. 100-101, 2018). The h-index is hotly contested and known to be problematic, and yet it is commonly used and a metric you're likely to encounter without even seeking it out. This is why we've chosen it as the focus for today's challenge.
Follow the instructions below, adapted from the U-M Research Guide on Research Impact Assessment (Health Sciences), to locate an h-index for the same author in Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. If your publications have been indexed in all three places, we recommend that you search for your own name. If not, search for a scholar whose work you have used in your research. Here's how to do it:
The h-index always depends upon the data source from which it was calculated. When reporting an h-index, you will always want to indicate the data source.
The Google Scholar h-index will often be higher than the h-index from other sources. This is because Google Scholar is more inclusive than Scopus and Web of Science, indexing many more types of material than peer-reviewed research articles.
The h-index inherently favors scholars with longer careers, who have had the time both to publish more work and to accrue more citations.
The h-index will not adequately represent the work of scholars whose publications are not all indexed in the data source being used.
Congratulations! You've completed Day 8 of the Research Impact Challenge! Tomorrow we'll explore the emerging field of altmetrics, including tools you can use to keep up-to-date on when your work is mentioned on the web, in the media, in a syllabus, in policy, and more!