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Celebrating the Life

Counting Your Citations



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. 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.


The Quick Method: General Search

This method is easiest and works fine for most purposes. Its drawbacks include:

  1. Connect to Web of Science.
  2. Open the Citation Databases menu in the lower part of the window, and de-select all but "Science Citation Index Expanded" and (optionally) "Conference Proceedings Citation Index- Science".
  3. Enter your last name and first initial, followed by an asterisk (*) in the Author search box. If you always use a middle initial on your papers, include it as well [jones ab*]. Click Search.
  4. Unless your name is very unique, the results will include papers by other persons with the same name and initials. To increase precision, click the "Institutions" tab under the Refine menu and select any/all institutions that you have been affiliated with. Important: the form of entry of institution names varies. Be sure to view the entire list, sort it alphabetially, and select from that to make sure you get them all. Then click Refine.
  5. Once you have a results list that looks fairly accurate, click on Create Citation Report. The Citation Report ranks the results in descending order of citations received, and provides a year-by-year summary of citations, a sum of Times Cited, an average citations-per-article figure, an option to remove self-citations, and the h-index for this set of articles. Browse the entire report, and mark and remove any entries that don't belong there.
  6. To avoid having to repeat the above process every time you want to see your citations and h-index, consider registering for a ResearcherID within Web of Knowledge. This allows you to claim a unique ID number for yourself and then attach it to all your publications. After that, you can get regular updates and reports, and avoid the Author Name problem when you want to look yourself up.

A More Thorough Method


Google Citation Tools

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. Google's article and citation metadata are also problematic, and there is no way to resolve author name conflation.