"For the few scientists who earn a Nobel Prize, the impact...of their research is unquestionable. For the rest of us, how does one quantify the cumulative impact of an individual's scientific research output?"
J.E. Hirsch 2005
Due to common researcher names, name changes, cultural differences in name order, and inconsistent use of middle initials, it can be difficult to accurately calculate measures of personal impact. Numeric codes can help identify individual researchers.
ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID)
ResearcherID (Clarivate Analytics)
By registering for a unique identifier, you can potentially connect a diverse array of your scholarly output, including journal articles, datasets, patents, and online comments.
Author-level metrics are citation metrics that measure the bibliometric impact of individual authors. H-index is the best known author-level metric. Since it was proposed by JE Hirsch in 2005 it has gained a lot of popularity amongst researchers while bibliometics scholars proposed a few variants to account for its weaknesses (g-index, m-index are good examples).
Google Scholar calculates not only h-index, but the i10-index for authors with a public profile which must created by the author.
The i10-index is simply the number of articles with at least 10 citations.
In Google Scholar, searching for an author will pull up the profile as the first result if they have a Google Scholar profile. Clicking on the profile will bring you to their profile page, which includes both metrics, as seen below.
Your productivity as a researcher can be measured by your total number of articles, and the impact of your research can be measured by the total number of times your articles have been cited. The h-index (AKA Hirsch index) is a combined measure of both productivity and impact. An index of h means that your h most highly-cited articles have at least h citations each.
The h-index is more informative than total number of articles (which ignores how well those articles have been received by other researchers) or total number of citations (which can be inordinately influenced by a small number of highly-cited articles and therefore not an accurate reflection of productivity).
One caveat about the h-index is that it correlates with the length of a researcher's career (i.e., researchers who have been publishing for longer tend to have higher h-indices). It can also be inflated by self-citation. In addition, the h-index ignores the order of authorship, which is very important in some disciplines. Additionally, because different disciplines have different publishing practices, the h-index should not be used to compare researchers across different disciplines. Average impact scores vary widely from discipline to discipline.
Some contents of this guide were re-used with permission from the University of Pittsburgh's University Library System Bibliometric Services, Jennifer Elder at Emory University, and Rachel Borchardt at American University