Skip to main content

Evaluating scholarly publications

Methods of evaluation

Evaluation tools on the university level:

Publication Forum, Research Assessment Excercise (RAE), international rankings (e.g. the Shangai list)

Tools for evaluating the impact of research groups and researchers:

Publication frequency, citations, academic networks, quality of publication channels.
Indicators: h-index, g-index

The h-index

The Hirsch-index was developed by Professor Jorge E Hirsch in 2005. The index measures the researcher’s publication effectiveness and the significance of the publications. The larger the h-index is the greater is the number of the researcher's publications that have been cited. 

The h-index is a positive total value, which is calculated as follows:
The researcher has index h if h of his/her Np papers have at least h citations each, and the other (Np − h) papers have no more than h citations each


To be observed regarding the h-index:

  • The advantage of the h-index is its stability, since a few publications that have been cited many times do not greatly affect the index value. Publications that have not been cited at all, or only a few times, do not affect the index value at all
  • The h-index varies in different disciplines, which means that researchers h-indexes of different disciplines are not usually comparable
  • The h-index is usually higher for researchers with a long career researching, than for young researchers at the start of their careers
  • The h-index can also be used when evaluating journals

Possible stumbling blocks on databases

If you are  using the name of the author or organisation as a search word, please be careful with your search. In order to find all the relevant articles, it is recommended to pay attention to the following things:

Web of Science


Publish or Perish

The initial of the first name

Affiliation information

Possible errors in the merging of author information

First name or the initial of the first name?

Large result sets

Requires a lot of manual editing

Errors in publication and author information

Further problems may be caused by:

  • Asian names, names with Scandic letters, multipart names
  • Researchers who have changed their last name
  • Names with special characters (diacritics, apostrophes)

What is altmetrics?

Altmetrics proposes a non-traditional alternative for bibliometrics. Altmetrics cover not just citation counts, but also other aspects of the impact of a work, such as how many data and knowledge bases refer to it, article views, downloads, or mentions in social media, blogs and news media.

Altmetric services to track your articles visibility online:

Some databases, such as Scopus, provide altmetric tools for tracking how many times a particular article has been mentioned in the social networks. In Scopus, the article information includes an Altmetric icon as well as an altmetric score and other altmetric indicators, such as social media mentions or readership count in Mendeley.