, 89:607 | Cite as

An impact indicator for researchers

  • Elizabeth S. Vieira
  • José A. N. F. Gomes


The assessment of individual researchers using bibliometric indicators is more complex than that of a region, country or university. For large scientific bodies, averages over a large number of researchers and their outputs is generally believed to give indication of the quality of the research work. For an individual, the detailed peer evaluation of his research outputs is required and, even this, may fail in the short term to make a final, long term assessment of the relevance and originality of the work. Scientometrics assessment at individual level is not an easy task not only due to the smaller number of publications that are being evaluated, but other factors can influence significantly the bibliometric indicators applied. Citation practices vary widely among disciplines and sub disciplines and this may justify the lack of good bibliometric indicators at individual level. The main goal of this study was to develop an indicator that considers in its calculation some of the aspects that we must take into account on the assessment of scientific performance at individual level. The indicator developed, the h nf index, considers the different cultures of citation of each field and the number of authors per publication. The results showed that the h nf index can be used on the assessment of scientific performance of individual researchers and for following the performance of a researcher.


h index Impact indicator Normalization Individuals 


  1. Ahmed, T., Johnson, B., Oppenheim, C., & Peck, C. (2004). Highly cited old papers and the reasons why they continue to be cited. Part II. The 1953 Watson and Crick article on the structure of DNA. Scientometrics, 61(2), 147–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aksnes, D. W. (2003). A macro study of self-citation. Scientometrics, 56(2), 235–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alonso, S., Cabrerizo, F. J., Herrera-Viedma, E., & Herrera, F. (2010). Hg-index: A new index to characterize the scientific output of researchers based on the H- and G-indices. Scientometrics, 82(2), 391–400. doi: 10.1007/s11192-009-0047-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Batista, P. D., Campiteli, M. G., Kinouchi, O., & Martinez, A. S. (2006). Is it possible to compare researchers with different scientific interests? Scientometrics, 68(1), 179–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bonzi, S., & Snyder, H. W. (1991). Motivations for citation—a comparison of self citation and citation to others. Scientometrics, 21(2), 245–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brooks, T. A. (1985). Private acts and public objects—an investigation of citer motivations. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 36(4), 223–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brooks, T. A. (1986). Evidence of complex citer motivations. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 37(1), 34–36.Google Scholar
  8. Burrell, Q., & Rousseau, R. (1995). Fractional counts for authorship attribution—a numerical study. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 46(2), 97–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Claro, J., & Costa, C. A. V. (2010). A made-to-measure indicator for cross-disciplinary bibliometric ranking of researchers performance. Scientometrics. doi: 10.1007/s11192-010-0241-5.
  10. Cole, J. R., & Cole, S. (1973). Social stratification in science. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  11. Egghe, L. (2006). Theory and practise of the g-index. Scientometrics, 69(1), 131–152. doi: 10.1007/s11192-006-0144-7.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Egghe, L. (2008). Mathematical theory of the h- and g-index in case of fractional counting of authorship. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 59(10), 1608–1616. doi: 10.1002/asi.20845.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Frost, C. O. (1989). The literature of online public-access catalogs, 1980–85—an analysis of citation patterns. Library Resources & Technical Services, 33(4), 344–357.Google Scholar
  14. Glanzel, W., & Thijs, B. (2004). Does co-authorship inflate the share of self-citations? Scientometrics, 61(3), 395–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jin, B. H., Liang, L. M., Rousseau, R., & Egghe, L. (2007). The R- and AR-indices: Complementing the h-index. Chinese Science Bulletin, 52(6), 855–863. doi: 10.1007/s11434-007-0145-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Prathap, G. (2010). Is there a place for a mock h-index? Scientometrics, 84(1), 153–165. doi: 10.1007/s11192-009-0066-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Rons, N., & Amez, L. (2009). Impact vitality: An indicator based on citing publications in search of excellent scientists. Research Evaluation, 18(3), 233–241. doi: 10.3152/095820209x470563 (Article).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Schreiber, M. (2009). A case study of the modified hirsch index h(m) accounting for multiple coauthors. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60(6), 1274–1282. doi: 10.1002/asi.21057.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. van Hooydonk, G. (1997). Fractional counting of multiauthored publications: Consequences for the impact of authors. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 48(10), 944–945.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. van Raan, A. F. J. (2004). Sleeping beauties in science. Scientometrics, 59(3), 467–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Vieira, E. S., & Gomes, J. A. N. F. (2009). A comparison of Scopus and Web of science for a typical university. Scientometrics, 81(2), 587–600. doi: 10.1007/s11192-009-2178-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Vieira, E. S., & Gomes, J. A. N. F. (2010). Citations to scientific articles: Its distribution and dependence on the article features. Journal of Informetrics, 4(1), 1–13. doi: 10.1016/j.joi.2009.06.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth S. Vieira
    • 1
    • 2
  • José A. N. F. Gomes
    • 1
  1. 1.REQUIMTE/Departamento de Química e Bioquimica, Faculdade de CiênciasUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.REQUIMTE/Departamento Engenharia Industrial e Gestão, Faculdade de EngenhariaUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal

Personalised recommendations