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Bibliometric indicators

Common indicators

Four common bibliometric indicators referred to and provided by various citation resources include the following:

Citation Count:

The number of times a document has been cited by other documents


This value attempts to take into account both the number of documents you’ve produced, as well as the citations those documents have received.

The h-index is defined as follows:

“A scientist has index h if h of his or her Np papers have at least h citations each and the other (Np - h) papers have ≤ h citations each” (Hirsch, 2005, p. 16569).

Note: The h-index is only meaningful when compared to others within the same discipline. Researchers in one field may have very different h-indices than researchers in another as a result of different citation practices in individual subject areas.

How do you calculate your h-index?

List your documents in order of decreasing citation count.  Work your way down through the list and find the hth ranked document for which you have at least that same number of citations.

In the example below, your h-index would be 4, because four of your papers have been cited at least four times. Your h-index is not 5 because five of your papers have not been cited at least five times.

Rank Citation count
1 24
2 15
3 15
4 7
5 1
Journal Impact Factor:

Created by Eugene Garfield and Irving H. Sher, this value relates to a particular journal, not an individual researcher, and is defined below.

“A journal’s impact factor is based on two elements: the numerator, which is the number of cites in the current year to any items published in the journal in the previous 2 years; and the denominator, the number of substantive articles (source items) published in the same 2 years” (Garfield, 2005, p. 5).

For other similar indicators, such as CiteScore and Source-Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP), see the "Ratio-based indicators" section of this Scholarly Kitchen blog post.


A Google-defined metric, the i-10 index is a measure of “the number of articles with at least ten citations” (Google, 2010).

Additional Resources:

For a more comprehensive list of Research Impact Metrics, see Elsevier's Reference Card or see the Metrics Toolkit created by Robin Champieux, Heather Coates and Stacy Konkiel.

The University of Waterloo provides a great explanation of the appropriate and inappropriate use of different bibliometric parameters in their White Paper: Measuring Research Outputs Through Bibliometrics.

Texas A&M University Libraries have created a guide on Best Practices for the Use of Scholarly Impact Metrics.

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page last updated on: Friday 27 October 2017
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