An individual's research output

Tim Brody tdb01r at ECS.SOTON.AC.UK
Thu Sep 8 12:48:23 EDT 2005

Quentin L. Burrell wrote:

> You might have seen this flagged elsewhere, but I am sure that many
> members will have thoughts/responses/outrages at Hirsch's paper "An
> index to quantify an individual's scientific research output"
> You can find it at

I've interpreted this algorithmically as (excuse off-by-one errors):
1) Rank-order an author's papers by total cites to each.
2) Count from the highest-cited paper to the lowest, stopping if your
count is greater than the total cites to the next paper.

Hence an author's h-index will never be a higher value than their total
number of papers.

As an exercise I've run this algorithm over Citebase
( for several thousand *names*:

(aid is an internal identifier)

My 2c is the h-index benefits consistency - 'outlier' authors with few,
high impact papers or many, low-impact papers are suppressed. Given it
is an index whose range is limited to total number of papers (a few
hundred for prolific authors), I imagine this is applicable more to
authors at the end rather than beginning of careers.

(It would be interesting to apply the h-index to larger bodies -
institutions or research groups.)

All the best,

> Dr Quentin L Burrell
> Isle of Man International Business School
> The Nunnery
> Old Castletown Road
> Douglas
> Isle of Man IM2 1QB
> via United Kingdom
> <>

More information about the SIGMETRICS mailing list