Saturday, March 23, 2013

Quantifying Research at the Journal Level: The h5-Index

Try this:

1. Go to Google Scholar
2. Click on metrics
3. Click on your preferred scholarly discipline on the left-hand side

Once you get to your chosen field or subfield, what you'll find is a list of the top journals in that field ranked from highest to lowest in terms of their respective h5-indexes.


The h5-index works similarly, but not identically, to the individual h-index I discuss in the last post that you can use to quantify the work of an individual scholar. The difference is that a journal's h5-index indicates the h-index for the entire journal over the last 5 years. An individual scholar's h-index demonstrates the number of articles, h, with at least h number of citations. A journal's h5-index demonstrates the largest number of articles, h, for the entire journal over the last 5 years that have been cited at least, h times.

So, if your favorite journal has an h5-index of 10, then that means the journal has published 10 articles over the last 5 years that have all been cited at least 10 times. Now, the most-cited article may have been cited 50 times, but the tenth most-cited article will only have been cited 10 times. Of course, we could lower the h5-index ranking to 8 and include more articles, but remember the h5-index is the largest number of articles from the journals over the last 5 years with the most possible citations.

The Google Scholar metrics thus rank journals in your field according to how much they are being cited. These metrics, then, give you a sense of which journals are having the greatest impact on your field as a whole, on individual scholars' works, and thus on your formation as a knowledge worker.

So far the posts in this series have been purely informative, avoiding interpretation of these metrics as much as possible. Beginning with the next post, however, I want to offer some useful ways of thinking about this data that will be geared towards non-sleazy strategies for making this information work for you.

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