What the H!? What Is an H-Index, and What Does It Say about Authors Anyway?

Guest post by Monica Moore, Scholarly Communications Librarian, and Cheri Smith, Psychology Librarian, Hesburgh Libraries.

 

As a member of the scholarly community, you may occasionally hear people mention the term “h-index.” The h-index is a number assigned to individual scholars that measures both their scholarly output and scholarly impact. It is a calculation based on the number of papers a scholar has published, and how often those publications have been cited. The “h” stands for Dr. Jorge E. Hirsch, a physicist from UCSD, who, in 2005, recommended using this calculation to measure impact.

This is the formula for calculating an index:

 

However, the easiest way to understand it is to think about actual examples. If an author has published 20 papers, and 10 of those papers have been cited 10 times, then the author has an h-index of 10. If an author has published 100 papers, and all of them have been cited at least 100 times, then the author has an h-index of 100.

 

How is the h-index used?

 

Many universities, including Notre Dame, use the h-index as a part of the promotion and tenure process. It is most heavily used in the sciences and social sciences, as these are the disciplines that are most likely to generate publications that are frequently cited. Works of fiction, poetry, or art are not typically cited, so their impact should be measured in other ways. If you are in a science or social science field, it is a good idea to keep track of how often people are citing your work. You can set up a profile for yourself in Google Scholar, Web of Science or Scopus, and attach it to your ORCiD so that your publications are disambiguated from other publications from authors with names that are similar to your own. This way you can easily help colleagues, employers, or potential employers see the measurable impact you’ve had in your discipline.

 

Where can you find the h-index for an author?

 

In order to calculate an author’s h-index accurately, you would have to have a list of all of the author’s publications and know the number of citations to each of those publications.

There are several resources you can use to make this easier: Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar. While Google Scholar is a freely available resource which indexes content on the open web, Web of Science and Scopus are library subscription indexes that are available to all University of Notre Dame faculty, staff, and students. Google Scholar requires the individual researcher to set up a profile to track their publications and calculate their h-index, while Web of Science and Scopus provide a report based on the author name entered.

 

Web of Science: h-index

 

Let’s say we’re interested in finding the h-index for Jane Goodall. In Web of Science, we can do an author search for her publications, using the Author dropdown menu from the Web of Science search page, and find the Jane Goodall that we’re looking for by disambiguating by an affiliated organization or through another author identifier such as an ORCiD. Once we’ve done that, we can click on the “Create Citation Report” option on the right-hand side of the screen to get her h-index:

 

 

Scopus: h-index

 

In Scopus, we would use a similar process for finding the h-index of an author: from the Search menu, we would search for the author name, disambiguate by organization or another author ID, and click on the author name details to bring up their h-index information:

 

 

You can see that the h-index in Scopus is different from what is in Web of Science. Why is this?

Title lists, subject area, and time period coverage can vary between these two resources, which will affect the h-index calculation. For an overview of the differences between Scopus and Web of Science, you can view this guide from Boston College, or learn more about the Web of Science content coverage policy or the Scopus content policy.

Another variable to be aware of is the author name itself, and any variations associated with it. While things like affiliation can help to disambiguate author names, it’s always better to search by some type of author identifier if one exists for that author. The primary example of an author identifier that is system-neutral is the ORCiD. Both Web of Science and Scopus allow for searching by the author’s ORCiD, and both Scopus and Web of Science allow for the exclusion of self-citations in articles before calculating the h-index.

 

Google Scholar: h-index

 

Unlike Web of Science and Scopus, Google Scholar requires the author to set up a profile in order to track the author’s h-index; however, you can check to see if one is available for an author in Google Scholar by searching for their profile from Google Scholar, as shown below:

 

 

In the above example, we can see that there is a profile for “jane goodall,” but not the same “jane goodall” that we saw in Web of Science or Scopus. If it had existed, we might have seen another, different h-index number since the pool of publications and citation information could also be different from what is used by Web of Science and Scopus.

 

Things to consider…

 

The h-index is actually just one method of measuring scholarly impact collectively known as citation indicators, and it’s not without its critics.  The difference in title coverage for the tools that generate the h-index number is one of the biggest issues, along with the need for researchers to maintain and keep up with their publication profiles in Google Scholar or monitor their citation analysis information in Scopus or Web of Science. Retracted papers that are still cited and self-citations can distort the h-index unless these are not excluded in the calculation of it. The article “Multiple versions of the h-index: Cautionary use for formal academic purposes,” provides a good overview of these and other questions related to the h-index.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about the h-index is that is just one measure of scholarly activity and impact. For more information on h-index concerns and other methods of measurement, check out this information at ImpactStory, and stay tuned for another blog entry on Altmetrics!

 

Need to Knows post-arrival at ND

We asked our incoming group of grad students what info they wanted about campus after they’ve arrived in South Bend. I’m a third year grad student, and I still had to think hard about some of these questions! We all need a bit of refresher sometimes!

What is ND Roll Call?

ND Roll Call (previously known as Web Enrollment) is a required process which informs the University that a student is attending a particular semester. It’s different than adding courses to your schedule. You will receive an email when it is necessary to complete ND Roll Call. http://registrar.nd.edu/students/ndrollcall.php

How do I get an ID Card?

To obtain your University of Notre Dame Campus ID Card you will need the following:

(1) Your valid government-issued photo ID (driver’s license, passport, or state issued ID card) and

(2) your ndID number (begins with ’90’) or netID (alpha-based prefix to your @nd.edu account).

Please bring both to the Campus Card Office located in 423 Grace Hall (Campus Map) during the hours of 8:00am – 5:00pm, Monday through Friday.

How do I register my bike?

Register your bicycle with NDSP and display the tag visibly on the bike. Registration is free and can be completed in person with your bicycle at Hammes Mowbray Hall, by flagging down an officer or at one of several registration events held throughout the year.

How do I obtain a parking pass?

Start by asking your department secretary as some departments issue parking permits under some circumstances. If needed, head over to the Parking Office located on the first floor of Hammes Mowbray Hall.  The hours are Monday through Friday, from 8:00am until 4:45pm. E-mail: parking@nd.edu Phone: (574) 631-5053

How is pay distributed?

Most students are paid on the first and fifteenth of the month. You can get the details here: http://controller.nd.edu/payroll-services/payroll-schedules/  The easiest way to receive your pay is to set it up through direct deposit. If you get direct deposit at least once a month, you can get a free account from a popular local bank called 1st source.

Where do people hang out around South Bend?

Popular places include- Chicory Cafe, The General (a coffee shop), South Bend Brew Werks, and Crooked Ewe. You often find people hanging out on the river walk located along the Saint Joseph River.

When do you register for classes and find out TA assignments?

For most grad students, registering for classes is not a competitive process. You can go on to Insidend to register for classes. In general, you will want to consult your department’s director of graduate studies (the DGS) for details on schedule formulation. The procedure for TAs is specific to the department, so contacting your DGS is a good way to get the latest updates on that as well.

How do International Students get a bank account?

This will depend largely on the particular bank. You will at least need to have a lump sum to open the account. Popular banks an international student may want to establish an account with include 1st Source, Notre Dame Federal Credit Union, and WellsFargo. 1st Source is located in the Lafortune student center on campus.

Transportation and Housing Questions ANSWERED!

Do you want to know how to get around South Bend? Curious about housing options? Check out these videos made by our very own Graduate Student Orientation Ambassadors!

 

 

Check out our other videos here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbYLYa78rLlXziPJsLUPJJQ

Get up to the date information by checking out our other social media channels:

  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/NDGradLife
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NDGradStudentLife/
  • Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ndgradlife/

Do I need an Indiana Driver’s License?

Question:

I am an incoming graduate student from out of state. Do I need to get an Indiana driver’s license and vehicle registration? Thanks!

SALMON SAYS:

According to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, only those who claim legal residency must obtain an Indiana driver’s license or vehicle registration.  As stated on their website:

For the purposes of obtaining a driver’s license, learner’s permit, or identification card, the following persons living in Indiana solely for any of the following reasons are not considered to be residents of Indiana:

  • Educational purposes
  • Active duty in the Armed Forces
  • Temporary employment

If you plan to become a legal resident of the state of Indiana you can learn more about obtaining your license and registration online at: http://www.in.gov/bmv/2341.htm

Q: Can you tell me about your campus?

Salmon Says:

According to the About section on the University of Notre Dame website: “The University of Notre Dame was founded in November 1842 by Edward F. Sorin, a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, a French missionary order. It is located adjacent to South Bend, Indiana, the center of a metropolitan area with a population of more than 300,000. Chartered by the state of Indiana in 1844, the University was governed by the Holy Cross priests until 1967, when governance was transferred to a two-tiered, mixed board of lay and religious trustees and fellows. Notre Dame has grown from the vision of Father Sorin, who sought to establish a great Catholic university in America, and has remained faithful to both its religious and intellectual traditions. Over the years, Notre Dame has been a place where the Catholic Church could do its thinking. The first national study of Catholic elementary and secondary education was done at Notre Dame, as was the most extensive study of Catholic parish life and a landmark historical study of the Hispanic Catholic community in the United States. One of America’s leading undergraduate teaching institutions, Notre Dame also has been at the forefront in research and scholarship. The aerodynamics of glider flight, the transmission of wireless messages, and the formulae for synthetic rubber were pioneered at the University. Today researchers are achieving breakthroughs in astrophysics, radiation chemistry, environmental sciences, tropical disease transmission, peace studies, cancer, robotics, and nanoelectronics.

Notre Dame always has been heavily residential, with about four in five undergraduates living on campus. Students come to Notre Dame to learn not only how to think but also how to live, and often the experiences alumni carry from residence hall communities at Notre Dame remain vivid over a lifetime. The University always has attracted scholars who are interested in teaching and scholarship, men and women who know that a Notre Dame education is more than what is taught in classrooms and laboratories. Notre Dame has a unique spirit. It is traditional, yet open to change. It is dedicated to religious belief no less than scientific knowledge. It has always stood for values in a world of facts. It has kept faith with Father Sorin’s vision.”

For more information, feel free to explore nd.edu!

 

Planning a Vacation

Question: I want to plan a family vacation for May or June 2015. When does Notre Dame’s spring 2015 semester end and summer 2015 session begin?

Answer: The registrar’s office maintains the university’s current and future academic calendars, which include the dates for the first and last day of classes, semester breaks, and exams:  http://registrar.nd.edu/calendar/future.php.

Students planning a 2015 summer vacation should keep the following dates in mind:

April 29, 2015 – last class day
May 8, 2015 – last exam day
May 11, 2015 – grades due (for those teaching/grading courses)

June 15, 2015 – summer classes start

However, before booking time away from campus (whether for work or pleasure), graduate students should consult their faculty advisor or director of graduate studies. Graduate students may have additional responsibilities in their department besides coursework, and it is important that students let their PI, advisor, or department know about their plans ahead of time.

Have a great vacation!

Hateful Behavior, University Policies, and Resources on Campus

Several anonymous posts have recently been submitted to this blog with troubling concerns about hateful treatment and language. I do not know and cannot respond to the unknown author’s specific experiences.  However, I think it provides an opportunity to acknowledge the ideals for which we strive as well as the avenues of support, healing, and reconciliation when we fall short.

As stated in the student handbook, du Lac: A Guide to Student Life:

“In keeping with Catholic tradition, we seek to create a community that honors the human dignity of each member and that is characterized by a love of truth, active care and concern for the common good, and service toward others.” (http://studenthandbook.nd.edu/community-standards/)

duLac explicitly delineates that some “actions and behaviors are clearly inconsistent with the University’s expectations for membership in this community,” including:

  • Abusive or harassing behavior, including unwelcome communication
  • Behavior which causes a serious disturbance of the University community or infringes upon the rights and well-being of others
  • Willful damage to the reputation or psychological well­-being of another

(http://studenthandbook.nd.edu/community-standards/standards/)

The 2012 document, Beloved Friends and Allies, further specifies:

The University affirms the Church’s position that persons who identify as gay or lesbian “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (CCC, 2358). (http://grc.nd.edu/lgbtq-allies/beloved-friends-and-allies-pastoral-plan/)

If you or someone you know has experienced discrimination, harassment, or assault, please know that help is available.  There are many resources on campus to assist you which include, but are not limited to:

If you have witnessed or been the target of hateful speech or behavior, please contact one of these organizations – not only to provide you with needed support, but to help create a world free of such violence and intolerance.

What’s living on campus like?

QUESTION:

What is on-campus living like for graduate students? Is it similar to undergraduate on-campus resident life?

 

SALMON SAYS:

Notre Dame has four facilities comprising two residential communities for graduate and professional students. (http://housing.nd.edu/graduate/)

While both communities strive to provide the same strong sense of connection and support experienced in our undergrad halls, and are held to the same standards of conduct, living on-campus as a post-baccalaureate student is very different than as an undergrad.  Here are some of the key differences:

  • Students live in individual apartments & townhouses, not dormitories, which allows for greater independence and autonomy.
  • Evening quiet hours are observed all year long to provide an environment conducive to scholarly success.
  • Registered guests may stay with you, with written permission of all roommates.
  • You get to park right outside your front door!

If you would like more information about living on campus, please be in touch directly with hall staff:

Nhat Nguyen, Rector, Fischer O’Hara-Grace (nnguyen3@nd.edu)
Nathan Elliot, Rector, University Village (nelliot1@nd.edu)

Challenging Aspects of Adjusting to Graduate Studies

QUESTION:

What do you think are the most challenging aspects of adjusting to graduate studies and what advice would you offer a new grad student?

 

SALMON SAYS:

Adjusting to graduate studies as a new grad student, like adjusting to any new situation in life, can be challenging.  Navigating the transition from student to scholar requires confidence, discipline, passion, curiosity, tenacity, and resilience. What each student finds most challenging, however, will vary based on their situation and personality, and may change as they progress through the key milestones of coursework, comps, research, and writing.

My advice as you begin this journey is this: never be afraid to ask questions or to seek help along the way!  Ask your advisor about specific expectations. Ask your program director about milestones, deadlines, and funding.  Look for opportunities for professional development and training.  Talk honestly with your peers about the things you find exciting and frustrating about your work.  Make friends with people outside your discipline to inspire new perspectives.  And if you are struggling, don’t suffer in silence – find someone you trust and ask for help.

At Notre Dame, we have a rich constellation of services and resources to support the success and wellness of our graduate students.  The links below are just a few:

http://graduateschool.nd.edu/professional_development/
http://gradlife.nd.edu/
http://ucc.nd.edu/
http://sao.nd.edu/groups/categories.html#Graduate

Additionally, there are several helpful online resources for graduate students.  I recommend:

http://gradresources.org/