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Research Visibility and Impact

Author Impact

An author's impact on their field or discipline has traditionally been measured using the number of times they have published and the number of times their academic publications are cited by other researchers. Although the simplest way to demonstrate your impact is to create a list of your publications and the number of times they have been cited, numerous algorithms based on publication data have also been created. Below are some of the more common metrics and tools you can use to measure research impact.

Citation Counts

Simply put, citation counts are the number of times an article has been cited in other articles, books, or other sources. However the exact number is often difficult to determine because different sources (such as databases) search article references differently.  As a result the counts will differ from source to source.


The h-index, or Hirsch index, measures the impact of a particular scientist rather than a journal. "It is defined as the highest number of publications of a scientist that received h or more citations each while the other publications have not more than h citations each." 1 For example, a scholar with an h-index of 5 had published 5 papers, each of which has been cited by others at least 5 times. The links below will take you to other areas within this guide which explain how to find an author's h-index using specific platforms. 

NOTE: An individual's h-index may be very different in different databases. This is because the databases index different journals and cover different years. For instance, Scopus only considers work from 1996 or later, while the Web of Science calculates an h-index using all years that an institution has subscribed to. (So a Web of Science h-index might look different when searched through different institutions.)  


A newer metric proposed by Leo Egghe in 2006 in the g-index.  The g-index is an alternative for the h-index, which does not average the numbers of citations. The h-index only requires a minimum of n citations for the least-cited article in the set and thus ignores the citation count of very highly cited papers. Roughly, the effect is that h is the number of papers of a quality threshold that rises as h rises; g allows citations from higher-cited papers to be used to bolster lower-cited papers in meeting this threshold. Therefore, in all cases g is at least h, and is in most cases higher. However, unlike the h-index, the g-index saturates whenever the average number of citations for all published papers exceeds the total number of published papers.  It is worth noting that the g-index is not as widely accepted as the h-index, 

Find your h-index in Web of Science

The Citation Report feature displays bar charts for the number of items published each yea, the number of citations each year, the counts for the average number of citations per item, the number of citations per year per publication, average number of citations per year per publication, and the H-index.

For more information on building a Citation Report or read the Citation Report help page.