On the Measurement of Scientific Performance: Do We Really Need to Take the Distribution of Citations into Account?

Nadia Simoes, Nuno Crespo


Despite the drawbacks already pointed out and the wide set of variants suggested to overcome some of them, the -index is the most used measure to conduct author-level scientific evaluation. Simplicity is probably its main advantage and the reason for its popularity. The main goal of the current study is to propose an index that is directly linked and almost perfectly correlated with the -index but is even simpler to obtain. Our index does not require any form of calculation. It disregards the distribution of citations among the papers of the author. Instead, only the total number of papers and the total number of citations of the author are used to obtain the final score. The score of each author can be seen in the table we present in this study. Although much simpler than the -index (and other measures that account for the distribution of citations), our index produces the same general conclusions. We illustrate the application of this index with a sample of economists.



publication performance; h-index; papers; citations; economists

Full Text:



Alonso, S., Cabrerizo, F., Herrera-Viedmac, E., & Herrera, F. (2009.) h-index: a review focused in its variants, computation and standardization for different scientific fields. Journal of Informetrics, 3, 273-289.

Bornmann, L., Mutz, R., & Daniel, H. (2011). A multilevel meta-analysis of studies reporting correlations between the h index and 37 different index variants. Journal of Informetrics, 5, 346-359.

Braun, T., Glänzel, W., & Schubert, A. (2006). A Hirsch-type index for journals. Scientometrics 2006, 69, 169-173.

Csajbók, E., Berhidi, A., Vasas, L., & Schubert, A. (2007). Hirsch-index for countries based on essential science indicators data. Scientometrics, 73, 91-117.

Egghe, L. (2010). The Hirsch index and related impact measures. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 44, 65-114.

Fenner, T., Harris, M., Levene, M., & Bar-Ilan, J. (2018). A novel bibliometric index with a simple geometric interpretation. PloS One, 13, e0200098.

Franceschini, F., & Maisano, D. (2010). The Hirsch spectrum: a novel tool for analyzing scientific journals. Journal of Informetrics, 4, 64-73.

Hammarfelt, B., & Rushforth, A. (2017). Indicators as judgment devices: An empirical study of citizen bibliometrics in research evaluation. Research Evaluation, 26: 169-180.

Hicks, D., Wouters, P., Waltman, L., De Rijcke, S., & Rafols. I. (2015). Bibliometrics: The Leiden Manifesto for research metrics. Nature News, 520, 429.

Hirsch, J. (2005). An index to quantify an individual’s scientific research output. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102, 16569-16572.

Hirsch, J. (2019). hα: an index to quantify an individual’s scientific leadership. Scientometrics, 118, 673-686.

INOMICS (2019a). https://inomics.com/insight/top-economics-think-tanks-and-research-institutes-in-europe-1025250

INOMICS (2019b). https://inomics.com/top-economics-think-tanks-research-institutes-us

Leydesdorff, L., Bornmann, L., & Opthof, T. (2019). hα: the scientist as chimpanzee or bonobo. Scientometrics, 118, 1163–1166.

Schubert, A., & Schubert, G. (2019). All along the h-index-related literature: a guided tour. In Handbook of science and technology indicators; Glänzel, W.; Moed, H.; Schmoch, U.; Thelwall, M., Eds.; Springer, Cham,.

Simoes, N., & Crespo, N. (2020). A flexible approach for measuring author-level publishing performance. Scientometrics, 122, 331–355.

Todeschini, R., & Baccini, A. (2016). Handbook of bibliometric indicators: quantitative tools for studying and evaluating research; John Wiley & Sons; Weinheim.

Van Raan, A. (). Comparison of the Hirsch-index with standard bibliometric indicators and with peer judgment for 147 chemistry research groups. Scientometrics 2006, 67, 491-502.

Wildgaard, L., Schneider, J., & Larsen, B. (2014). A review of the characteristics of 108 author-level bibliometric indicators. Scientometrics, 101, 125-158.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

E-ISSN: 2008-8310

   ISSN: 2008-8302