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Research Impact

This guide outlines the resources and support available for ACU researchers to track their research impact.

What is the h-index?

The h-index is a measure of the number of publications published (productivity) as well as how often they are cited (impact). 


The index was first proposed by J. E. Hirsch in 2005 and is defined as:

A scientist has index h if h of his/her Np papers have at least h citations each, and the other (Np-h) papers have no more than h citations each.

If your h-index is 15, you have 15 papers cited 15 times or more.

If your h-index is 25, you have 25 papers cited 25 times or more.

 Researcher    Researcher  B
Paper rank Citations   Paper rank  Citations 
1 10   1348
2 8    2  159
3 6    3  50
4 5    4  4
5 4    5  4
6 0    6  3

Both researchers have an h-index of 4It cannot be 5 because they do not have 5 papers with at least 5 citations.

Limitations and considerations

  1. Citation patterns vary across disciplines. Only compare the h-indexes of researchers within the same discipline.
  2. A h-index is related to the set of results in an individual citation database, and will therefore depend on the discipline coverage in the database. Always provide the data source and date along with the h-index. 
  3. To create a true h-index based on all unique citations to your publications from all sources, you will need to calculate it manually
  4. The h-index is not an effective measure for early-career researchers, as their papers have not had time to accumulate citations.
  5. Individual highly cited papers may not be accurately reflected in an h-index, as this measurement ignores the number of citations beyond what is needed to achieve a certain h-index.

Where can I find my h-index?

The h-index is easily available if you have a Researcher Profile (Researcher ID, or a Scopus Author Identifier, or a Google Scholar Profile).

Find your h-index in:

1. Library databases (ACU username and password required) 

  • Web of Science  - Create a citation report. Tutorial.
  • Scopus  -  Search for the publications of an author, research group, or institution and calculate the h-index. You can access an h-index  from the author details, the analyze author output and the citation overview pages. 

2. Free websites/software:

  • Google Scholar My Citations. Google Scholar searches academic publishers, professional societies and pre-print archives. Beware - some non-scholarly publications may be included.
  • Publish or Perish (uses Google Scholar to obtain citation information). Tutorial refer to Module 2.4.1.