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Scopus Incorporates the h-index to Provide Users with a Simple Metric Indicating an Author’s Scientific Influence


Scopus®, the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature and quality web sources with smart tools to track, analyze and visualize research, today announced that the h-index will be incorporated into Scopus soon and will include visual aids to assist in interpreting consistency and relevance. The h-index, considers the publication records of an individual, the number of papers published over n years and the number of citations for each paper. The result is a single number, the “h-index”. To provide the user with additional clarity Scopus has included a set of visual aids that present a transparent overview of citation and publication patterns over time; revealing whether the h-index is dependent on a few highly cited papers or that the author’s papers have a relatively consistent volume of citations.

Jorge Hirsch, from the University of California, San Diego says “Citation counts get used for research evaluation in faculty recruiting and promotion, as well as in grant allocations. I am convinced that articles that receive large numbers of citations should be considered as significant in such evaluations, even when they are not published in highly ranked (”high impact“) journals. Partly because of my own experience of having difficulty publishing my research in highly ranked journals, I was interested in finding a simple metric that could clearly illustrate research achievement independent of the vagaries associated with publishing. This is why I developed the h-index.”

He adds, “Take my article on the h-index as an example, it was ”hidden“ in the Los Alamos preprint server and still gained a large number of citations. It goes to show that if work is unique and interesting then people will find it. It is of course also true that citation counts can contain misleading information, for instance when many co-authors or self citations are involved, so it is important that they are not considered in isolation; however they are still used and form a basic quantitative measure of a researcher’s output.”

The h-index will be automatically computed for individual authors and for collections of articles selected by the user. The metric quantifies the impact and relevance of an individual scientist’s research output by looking at the distribution of citations received by his or her publications and is seen as one of the simplest metrics available for objective analysis.

“Assessing scientific research output is moving increasingly from the traditional journal level metrics to include metrics at the author level” said Jaco Zijlstra, Scopus Director. “This new feature in Scopus will help researchers, department heads and administrators gain an unbiased impression of an individual’s research performance.”


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