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Research Publishing & Impact: Author Metrics

About Author Metrics

Author metrics are used to track how often an author's work is cited, and demonstrate the reach and impact of a researcher's work, for use in grant applications, tenure, promotion and performance reviews. An author's impact is frequently quantified in terms of the number of citations to their publications. Master Author metrics terminology, then use Author metric terms and key measuring tools for authors and collaborators to measure your impact. 

Author metrics are also used to discover key researchers in the field, track the work of colleagues and identify potential collaborators. 

One of the biggest challenges to tracking and analysing an author's impact is having a correct, complete publication list for that author. Consider establishing your author profile linking all your publications to a persistent author identifier - see more information in Researcher Profiles & Networks

Author metric terms

The author h-index was proposed by J.E. Hirsch in a 2005 article, which measures a researcher’s impact based on the number of citations to their work.

h-index = number of papers (h) with a citation number ≥ h.  

Example: If an author has an h-Index of 9, it means that out of the total number of published documents by that author, 9 of those documents have been cited 9 times.    

Keep in mind that the name you publisher under may impact on your h-index; search for every variation of your name used in your publications.

Learn more about the h-index using:

Note: The h-index is not widely used outside the Sciences, nor for early-career academics. 

Harzig's Publish and Perish Manual explains the g-index is calculated based on the distribution of citations received by a given researcher's publication.

For example: A g-index of 20 means that and academic has published at least 20 articles that combined have received at least 400 citations. 

 It was suggested in 2006 by Leo Egghe (See: Theory and practise of the g-index).

One of the main advantages of the g-Index is the inflated values of this index helps give credit to lesser cited or non-cited work whilst attributing credit for highly-cited papers.

The i10-Index, used solely by Google Scholar, was introduced in July 2011.  It calculates the number of academic publications an author has written that have at least ten citations from others.

i10-Index = the number of publications with at least 10 citations.  

Learn more:

Note: In order to use the i10-Index authors must have a public Google Scholar profile (See: Google Scholar Citations). 


  • It is worth remembering that the key measuring tools (databases) only gather data from the journals they index. Some are more comprehensive and cover more disciplines than others, so it is best to use more than one method to track citations and evaluate the author impact. Also note that other material, such as abstracts or conference papers, are generally not included. 
  • Calculating the h-index: Web of Science, Scopus or Google Scholar? This guide from MyRI discusses the pros and cons of using each database to calculate the h-index.
  • Author naming inconsistencies can lead to missed citations and in some cases multiple entries, so author must check their entries in the databases carefully. See the Researcher Profiles page for more information on author name ambiguity and attribution.
  • h-index citation counts do not necessarily reflect research impact in the Humanities, as mentioned above the key measuring tools are not always comprehensive in their coverage in the humanities discipline.
  • Many of the measuring tools are skewed towards STEM (Science, technology, engineering, medicine) research.
  • Web of Science counts the number of papers published, therefore favours those authors who publish more frequently and are more advanced in their careers, not early-career researchers. 
  • Like other tools, the citation counts do not measure the number of times a work has been read or accessed (see Altmetrics

For more information see York University Libraries' Limitations of Bibliometrics 

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Key measuring tools for authors and collaborators

Scopus is a multidisciplinary database from Elsevier, referencing journal articles, books and chapters. Citation information goes back to 1996, however, data from 1970 are being added.

Use Author Search to generate a Citation Overview and the Analyze author output page, to analyse the publishing output of an author or a group of matched authors using the h-index.

The h-graph displays the h-index for a single author, multiple authors, or a group of selected documents. The h-index is based on the highest number of papers included that have had at least the same number of citations.

Learn more:

Use Author Search and click Create Citation Report to view the h-index and other analytics.

Researchers can use ResearcherID to manage author names/citations; see Researcher Profiles for more information.

Learn more: 

Learn more:

Register for MyCitations to create an author profile, track your citations, and generate metrics.

Note: Unless you have Google Scholar citation profile Google Scholar does not calculate h-index (but you can use Publish or Perish).

Learn more:




Contact your Subject Librarian for access to SciVal.

See Citation Metrics: Alternative Metrics as it applies to authors.

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Increase your Author impact

As an author you can make your work more discoverable and visible by:

  • creating a researcher profile
  • archiving your work in a research repository to make it more accessible, and/or
  • joining a research network or community to maximize your research impact.
  • See the Researcher Profile & Networks page

Track your work

Keeping up to date: Using RSS feeds and email alerts to track recent research - set up citation alerts for your own publications, and for other authors worldwide in your subject/research areas.