H-Index and Its Variants: Which Variant Fairly Assess Author's Achievements

H-Index and Its Variants: Which Variant Fairly Assess Author's Achievements

Rosy Jan (University of Kashmir, Srinagar, India) and Riyaz Ahmad (University of Kashmir, Srinagar, India)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/JITR.2020010105
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H-index is an accepted norm to rank scientists and makes them eligible for various professional benefits. However, taking into consideration the associated flaws of the h-index, a diversified set of parameters have been proposed by the scientific community to rank authors in a better way. Imaginary case studies and datasets are used to find out the practical and actual utility of the proposed indicators. To analyze the individual behaviour of each index, these indices are comprehensively evaluated on an extensive data set. This study emphasizes the scrutiny of the h-index, some of its variants, and extensions to rank authors. There appears to be a correlation between high citation rates for a published researcher and the award of prestigious accolades. Thus, the inclusion of a researcher in the list is based on high citation rates and the authority has claimed a direct connection between the citation rates and prestigious awards. In this context, the work initiated to find out the h-index and its variants for the selected researchers incorporated in the hall of citation laureates from the field of medicine. It is clear from the correlation analysis that there is a difference in the degree of correlation between the h-index and its variants. The A-index is weakly correlated, and M-Quotient is strongly correlated with h-index. Thus, most of the h-index variants are merely mathematically and arithmetically modified and does not add any new information as these are highly correlated and are based on the h-core. Thus, more useful and reasonable approaches could be developed for multidimensional and contextualized evaluations of scientific performance rather than cocooning them with mere numbers.
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A lot of discussion and debate surrounds the h-index, since the time it was evolved; despite the fact that it is an established norm for the evaluation of research excellence and other related benefits. The indicator was proposed by a person from an entirely different field – a physicist, Jorge Hirsch, not ever published any paper on bibliometrics proposed an indicator, the h-index. This opened up a new research front in bibliometrics. “A scientist has index h if h of his/her Np papers have at least h citations each and the other papers have no more than h citations each” (Hirsch, 2005). The new index has been viewed favourably in the academic community and may be readily calculated using automated features found in Web of Knowledge or Scopus citation databases and additionally for Google Scholar (GS). H-index does not take into account any normalization of citation impact regarding the publication year and the subject area; it cannot be used to compare individuals who have published in different subject areas and publication years. Furthermore, the indicator cannot be used to compare people with different academic ages as the expected values for publications and citations are different depending on the age. These two and other limitations inhibit the use of the indicator in research evaluation almost entirely, as the scientists, as a rule, have neither published in similar subject areas and publication years, nor have a similar academic age (Bormann and Marx, 2011; Alonso, Cabrerizo, Viedma and Herrera, 2009; Glänzel, 2006; Huang and Chi, 2010; Ball, 2007; Rousseau, 2007). Better indicators have been proposed for comparisons across subject areas, publications years and ages (Bornmann and Marx, 2011). We can count more than 100 indicators potentially applicable at individual author level. The no. of variables seems high given the fact that it's the same variables that are manipulated through different algebraic and arithmetic formulas. H-index is taken as a base and produces these indices with some behavioural enhancements in order to overcome its limitations. With so many indicators and so much widespread use, it is important to examine these indicators and make a co-relational analysis with the alternatives to h-index. The sample population was taken from Clarivate analytics, Hall of Citation Laureates. The list pertains to likely Nobel Prize winners in Medicine, Chemistry, Physics, and Economics. There appears to be a correlation between high citation rates for a published researcher and the award of prestigious accolades. Finally, choosing one-tenth of one percent (0.1%) of the highest impact papers winnows the analysis to the topics and people most likely to be selected by Nobel selection committee.


The work is set to fulfil the following objectives

  • To determine the total number of publications (TNP) and a total number of citations (TNC) of each citation laureate with specific focus on calculating h-index and other selected variants.

  • To ascertain the degree of correlation of the h-index with selected variants.

  • To find out which variant fairly assess the author’s achievements.

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