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Research Impact

Tools and support to assist with measuring research.

H Index

The h-index  is a method of measuring the productivity and impact of a researcher's work. It was developed in 2005 by Jorge Hirsch, a physicist at the University of California in San Diego.  Hirsch’s aim was to qualify the impact and quantity of an individual scientist’s research output. 

Note: some grant schemes do not allow the use of h-index in grant applications, e.g. NHMRC. Refer to scheme-specific rules to determine what information should be included. Funding rules change from year to year.

Key Tools

Web of Science, Scopus and Publish or Perish (using data from Google Scholar) can be used to calculate an h-index. (See limitations box on right.) 

  • Web of Science - multi-disciplinary citation database of peer-reviewed literature with tools to track, analyze and visualize research. 
  • Scopus - multi-disciplinary citation database of peer-reviewed literature with tools to track, analyze and visualize research. 
  • Publish or Perish - software program that retrieves and analyzes academic citations. It uses Google Scholar to obtain the raw citations, then analyzes these.

A researcher's h-index can be calculated manually by locating citation counts for all published papers and ranking them numercially by the times cited.

See also Calculating the h-index: Web of Science, Scopus, or Google Scholar?  A useful guide from MyRI discussing the pros and and cons of using each.


A researcher has an index of h if h of their papers have been cited at least h times each. 


Databases such as Web of Science (WoS) and Scopus that can be used to calculate h-indexes are selective in their journal coverage and some disciplines are better covered than others. Conference proceedings and monographs are not well covered. 

Unless you have Google Scholar Citation Profile Google Scholar does not calculate h-index. but it can be used with Publish or Perish software.

The data from Google Scholar used in Publish or Perish often includes duplicates (pre-prints & post-prints) and it can be difficult to distinguish between authors with the same initials. Manual editing of search results is often required, see instructions

The Scopus h-index, what it's all about Part 1.

The Scopus h-index, what it's all about Part 2.

Image source:

Google Scholar Universal Gadget  - which enables users to search for the total number of citations of author(s) using Google Scholar (GS) data. It provides citation counts, number of cited publications and h-index. See note on site regarding inaccuracies with GS data.

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