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Titel / Title Do researchers know what the h-index is? And how do they estimate its importance?
Author / Autor Kamrani, P., Dorsch, I., & Stock, W. G.
Source / Quelle Scientometrics, 126(7), 5489-5508.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-021-03968-1
Language / Sprache English / Englisch


Abstract. The h-index is a widely used scientometric indicator on the researcher level working with a simple combination of publication and citation counts. In this article, we pursue two goals, namely the collection of empirical data about researchers’ personal estimations of the importance of the h-index for themselves as well as for their academic disciplines, and on the researchers’ concrete knowledge on the h-index and the way of its calculation. We worked with an online survey (including a knowledge test on the calculation of the h-index), which was finished by 1,081 German university professors. We distinguished between the results for all participants, and, additionally, the results by gender, generation, and field of knowledge. We found a clear binary division between the academic knowledge fields: For the sciences and medicine the h-index is important for the researchers themselves and for their disciplines, while for the humanities and social sciences, economics, and law the h-index is considerably less important. Two fifths of the professors do not know details on the h-index or wrongly deem to know what the h-index is and failed our test. The researchers’ knowledge on the h-index is much smaller in the academic branches of the humanities and the social sciences. As the h-index is important for many researchers and as not all researchers are very knowledgeable about this author-specific indicator, it seems to be necessary to make researchers more aware of scholarly metrics literacy.

Keywords. H-Index, Bibliometrics, Researchers, Genders, Generations, Knowledge Fields, WoS, Scopus, Google Scholar, M-Index, Metrics Literacy



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