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Citation Analysis & Bibliometrics: Researcher Impact

This guide is designed to help you explore and understand the world of bibliometrics, altmetrics, journal impact factors, the h-index, and other citation analysis tools.

Tracking Your Citations

Google Scholar Author Citation Profile is free and easy to use to maintain your profile for bibliometric information. You can also make your profile public, so that it may appear in Google Scholar results when people search for your name, e.g., richard feynman. On the right-hand-side of the profile, there is an option to GET MY OWN PROFILE where you will be asked to log in with your Gmail account to begin the easy process. If you have a common name, consider choosing the "Don't automatically update my profile" option -- that way Google Scholar will e-mail you to confirm that you are the author of a new paper before adding it to your profile.

Web of Science is perhaps the most well-known tool for determining citation metrics. Use Cited Reference Search to see how many times a specific work or author has been cited. Or, search for a specific title, then click on the number that follows Times Cited. You can also chose to create a Citation Alert to be notified of when a specific work is cited.

Publish or Perish is a software program that retrieves and analyzes academic citations. It uses Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search to obtain the raw citations, then analyzes these and presents the following metrics: total number of papers and total number of citations, average citations per paper, citations per author, papers per author, and citations per year, hirsch's h-index and related parameters, egghe's g-index, the contemporary h-index, three variations of individual h-indices, the average annual increase in the individual h-index, the age-weighted citation rate, and an analysis of the number of authors per paper.

Tools for Calculating Citation Impact

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- An open, non-profit, research community-led initiative that provides a registry of unique researcher identifiers and a transparent method of linking research activities and outputs to these identifiers. You will have to register for an ORCID I.D. number.
  • ResearcherID is the identifier that has been implemented by Thomson Reuters, the company that develops Web of Science. Having a ResearcherID makes it easy for researchers to input all their publications into Web of Science.  ResearcherID is working with ORCID. You can search ResearcherID to find collaborators, review publication lists and explore how research is used around the world.

The H-Index

The h-index was created by Dr. J. E. Hirsch in the paper "An index to quantify an individual’s scientific research output" in 2005. With the questions, "How does one quantify the cumulative impact and relevance of an individual’s scientific research output?"

The h-index measures broad impact of and individual’s work in an unbiased way within a discipline especially in the sciences. It is more informative than simply a total number of publications/citation. For example, if you h-index is 197, that means you have at least 197 articles that have been cited by at least 197 other articles; which is a pretty high h-index!

One thing to remember 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. Self-citation should only be done when truly appropriate.