According to Jorge E. Hirsch, a physics professor at UCSD and creator of the h-index, the h-index is a way to estimate the broad impact of a scientist’s cumulative research contributions. The magazine Chemistry World recently published an article on the h-index that included a link to a list of living chemists with scores greater than 50 that was constructed by Harry Schaefer at the University of Georgia and his colleague Amy Peterson.

Whether you think the h-index is a valid metric or not, you can easily see your own h-index as determined in the Web of Science. To do so, first do a general search, not a cited ref search, in Web of Science on your name. If you have used different names/initial combinations over the course of your career you will have to “or” those variants together to get a comprehensive retrieval of your publications. The author index feature is a useful option for finding all your name variants. It is located just to the upper right of the author search box. Conversely, if you have a common name and need to limit the retrieval to just your own articles, use the address field along with your name to limit by the various institutions where you have worked. Often just a zip code such as 94720 is sufficient if your work has been done at UCB and or LBNL.

Once you have your results, click the Citation Report button on the right side of the screen. The Citation Report generates graphical displays of your publications by year as well as citations in each year. It also sums your total number of times cited, calculates your h-index and lists all of your publications, sorted by times cited. If there are papers on the list which are not yours you can eliminate them by checking the check box next to those papers and then clicking on the “go” button. A new Citation Report will be generated without the papers you selected.

If you would like to fine-tune your results you can use the Analyze Results button before you use the Citation Report button. For example, you could analyze your results by document type to eliminate meeting abstracts to increase your average citations per paper or you could eliminate review articles to determine the impact of just your research papers.

Hirsch's article describing the h-index in PNAS can be found here