UTS Library

Author Metrics

Author metrics are used to examine the career of a researcher. Most often, this is done by looking at the citation counts on articles and collating them in various ways to demonstrate different principles.

Total citations and average citations

Two of the simplest measures are also two of the most popular; simply total the number of citations across all published works of an author, or average them out. This is considered to demonstrate the author’s overall academic impact.


The aim of the h-index is to measure both research outputs as well as academic impact. This way, someone who publishes a lot, but does not have much impact will not have a high score because of volume alone, and someone who has published only one paper with a lot of citations does not get an unfair advantage.

Your h-index is the number of publications you have, cross referenced for how many times those publications have been cited. You could have only 10 papers, but if each of those papers had been cited 10 or more times, your h-index is 10. If you have 80 papers, but only 5 of those have been cited 5 or more times, your h-index is 5.

Shortcomings of the h-Index are that it does not perform well in disciplines that publish less frequently, and it favours late-career researchers over early-career researchers. In addition, it discounts the impact made by very high citation count papers. (As far as the h-Index is concerned, a paper with thousands of citations is worth exactly as much as a paper with one citation more than your current h-Index.)

g-Index and other h-Index variants

Attempts have been made to accommodate some of the weaknesses in the h-Index. For instance, the g-Index is an attempt to account for large-citation papers in its analysis. The m-Index, defined as the h-Index divided by the numbers of years that have passed since the first published article in the set, is an attempt to balance the playing field between early and late career researchers. While these indices do not have the popularity of the h-Index, they are worth knowing about.