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Measuring Research Impact: Author Impact

What is Author Impact?

An author's impact on their field or discipline has traditionally been measured using the number of academic publications he or she has authored and the number of times these publications are cited by other researchers.

There are a few ways to measure an author's impact:

  • Document Counts - the number of publications an author has authored.
  • Citation Counts - the number of times an author’s publications are being cited by other researchers.
  • h-index - an index to measure both the productivity and impact of the published work of an author/a researcher. The h-index is based on the highest number of papers included that have had at least the same number of citations. The value of h is equal to the number of papers (N) in the list that have N or more citations. Thus, if the h-index for an author is 10, it means that of all his published articles, at least 10 have been cited 10 or more times.

The following sections show you how to find citation metrics for an author using

Author Metrics in Scopus

Scopus can be used to obtain a range of metrics relating to an author and their work, including document counts, citation counts and h-index of an author. 

Example: Find document counts, citation counts and h-index of an author in Scopus

  1. Access Scopus and click the Author Search tab.
  2. Enter Author's last name and first name.
  3. Click Search.
  4. On the result page, select the target author by including all possible variants, then click on the name of the author to open the author details page, you can find document countscitation counts and h-index of an author. 
  5. Click "View Citation Overview" to obtain an overview of citations for this author.
  6. For further information, please go to Scopus Online Tutorials.

Author Metrics in Web of Science

Web of Science can be used to obtain a range of metrics relating to an author and their work, including document countscitation counts and h-index of an author. 

Example: Find document counts, citation counts and h-index of an author in Web of Science

  1. Access Web of Science and search by Author.
  2. Enter author name.
  3. Click Search.
  4. On the result page, select Create Citation Report (on the right of the page). This will take you to the author citation report page with graphs showing citation patterns and a calculation of the author's h-index.
  5. For further information, please go to Web of Science Online Tutorials.

Author Metrics in Google Scholar

Both Scholarometer and Publish or Perish draw their data from Google Scholar, which provides a comprehensive source of citation data across many subject disciplines.

Example 1: Scholarometer


Scholarometer works as a browser extension for Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. In Chrome extension, click on the Scholarometer icon (an orange 'S') on the right side of the address bar. In Firefox extension, select View > Sidebar > Scholarometer from the menu. 

1. Searching by Google Scholar ID

Scholars can create their own Google Scholar profiles. You can access a Google Scholar profile by a URL such as The part in blue is the ID of the profile. If an author has a Google Scholar profile, you can use their ID to search as shown below. To create your profile, visit

Before you can submit your query, you must also tag it. The tags themselves are controlled using predefined categories derived from the indexes of Web of Science. As you begin to type in your tag (such as “cell biology”), you will see certain tags have a golden key next to them. These are the controlled tags and you must choose at least one to complete your query. You may also add additional tags of your own devising. 

Several metrics are offered as the “impact analysis”, plus an index specific to the controlled tag you selected. 

2. Using the Name Search / Advanced Search​

Using the name search / advanced search interface, when you have multiple names in a field, quote them and separate them by a single whitespace. For example, suppose you want articles by Tang Benzhong or Tang BZ of HKUST but not Tang B. You would fill the form as shown below. 

Example 2: Publish or Perish


Publish or Perish is a software program that retrieves and analyzes academic citations. It uses Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search to obtain the raw citations, then analyzes these and presents the following metrics:

  • Total number of papers and total number of citations
  • Average citations per paper, citations per author, papers per author, and citations per year
  • Hirsch's h-index and related parameters
  • Egghe's g-index
  • The contemporary h-index
  • Three variations of individual h-indices
  • The average annual increase in the individual h-index
  • The age-weighted citation rate
  • An analysis of the number of authors per paper.

Author Impact Analysis

To perform a basic author impact analysis:

  1. Select Query > New Google Scholar Query or New Google Scholar Profile Query;
  2. Enter the author's name in the Authors Name field or Profile Name field, e.g. Ben Zhong Tang;
  3. Click Lookup or press the Enter key.

The program will now contact Google Scholar to obtain the citations, process the list, and calculate the citation metrics, which are then displayed in the Results pane. The full list of results is also available for inspection or modifications and can be exported in a variety of formats.

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