Skip to Main Content
[NJIT Library Logo]

Savvy Researcher: Create and Manage Your Online Scholarly Presence

Author Impact

Widely used as a surrogate measure of the impact of an author, h-index is controversial and, although it has a very simple formula, it is difficult to calculate it with high accuracy. The difficulty comes from the combination of databases limitations in content, citations accuracy, topic interdisciplinarity, and authors' name ambiguity.

h-index is readily available in Web of Science database. However, for scholars studying interdisciplinary subjects, or for those that do not have access to Web of Science database, Google Scholar may offer an acceptable substitute, although not without many caveats.

Additionally, metrics of the social media reach of publications or the peer-review activity could also contribute to creating a more comprehensive image of a scholar's academic impact.



Keep track of social media activity surrounding your papers.


Credit for Peer-Review Activity

Peer-review is a common scholarly activity that is largely under-credited. These systems track and give credit for any submitted reviews.



Traditional Metrics

  • Number of publications
  • Number of times cited
  • h-index 


How is h-index calculated?

Start by organizing articles in descending order, based on the number of times they have been cited, then determine which h papers have at least h citations.

graph with citations along the y-axis and papers along the x-axis


  • It combines quantity (publications) and impact (citations) into one measure
  • Allows for direct comparisons within disciplines
  • Allows for objectivity in characterizing the scientific output of a researcher with objectivity
  • It is better suited to evaluate the scientific output of a researcher than other performs better than commonly used  criteria


  • Early career researchers are disadvantaged
  • Citation numbers of highly cited papers are not taken in consideration
  • It is affected by limitations such as incomplete list of scholarly publications and their citation numbers, author disambiguation, etc.

Where to find h-index?

H-index is readily available within some databases or using specific tools, such as Web of Science, Google Scholar, or Publish or Perish software. The numbers will vary between different sources; however, there is no perfect source.

New Jersey Institute of Technology
University Heights, Newark, New Jersey 07102-1982
(973) 596-3206
Contact Us | Ask A Librarian |  Map & Directions | A to Z Site Index

Copyrighted 2020 | Robert W. Van Houten Library