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Citations, Altmetrics and Researcher Profiles: Researcher metrics

A guide to the key tools for measuring and describing your research performance, as well as setting up and managing your research profiles

Researcher - specific metrics

Citation of a researcher's publications is commonly considered evidence of research quality and engagement. Citation metrics which may be useful when describing your overall research performance are your:

  • h-index 
  • Total number of citations 
  • Average citation count per article
  • CNCI (Category Normalised Citation Impact) for your set of Web of Science - indexed publications (see the Web of Science tab)
  • Percentile In Subject Area average for your set of Web of Science - indexed publications (See the Web of Science tab)


The h-index attempts to measure the productivity and citation impact of an author. Proposed by J. E. Hirsch in 2005, "A scientist has an 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."

For example, a researcher with an h-index of 15 has, of their total number of publications, 15 papers which have been cited at least 15 times each. To gain an h-index of 16, they need 16 papers that have received at least 16 citations and so on.

h-index limitations and considerations

Although it is still widely used, you should be aware that the h-index:

  • is not permitted to be included in National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grant applications.
  • should not be compared across disciplines due to different citing practices. 
  • does not take into account a researcher's career stage
  • is not sensitive to highly-cited papers

The table demonstrates how two researchers can have the same h-index of 4, despite very different patterns of citation of their work.

 Researcher A      Researcher B  
Papers rank by citation  Citations   Papers rank by citation  Citations 
1 10   1348
2 8    2  159
3 6    3  50
4 5    4  4
5 4    5  4
6 0    6  3


  • Both researchers have an h-index of 4. It cannot be 5 because they do not have 5 papers with at least 5 citations.
  • Neither researcher can have an h-index of more than 6, as they each have 6 papers in total.

Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of the h- index:

Canadian Institute for Knowledge Development. (2020). H-index, Good or Bad? Canadian Institute for Knowledge Development. Retrieved 27 June 2022 from
Ding, Jingda, Chao Liu and Goodluck Asobenie Kandonga, ‘Exploring the Limitations of the h-Index and h-Type Indexes in Measuring the Research Performance of Authors’ (2020) 122(3) Scientometrics 1303

Locating your h-index and total citation numbers

Your h-index can be located using Web of Science or Scopus, and from your Google Scholar profile if you have one. When quoting your h-index, always include the source of the h-index figure. We recommend that in grant, tenure and promotion applications you use one source consistently rather than "cherry pick" the best figure for each publication.

To ensure that each database can provide citation information that is accurate and comprehensive, set up and manage your profiles in these databases. See the Researcher profiles tab for instructions.

Click on the Scopus, Web of Science and Dimensions tabs in this table to learn about other author - specific metrics which are available in these databases

To locate analysis of your outputs in Scopus:

1. Log into Scopus via OneSearch.

2. Perform an author search for your name and select from the result's list.

3. The Metrics overview provides your Scopus h-index, total number of citations in Scopus and a citation trend graph.

4. Select the Citation overview link to view a table showing the citation data for all of your Scopus-indexed publications.

5. Select the Analyze author output link for additional analysis.


More information about the Scopus

Web of Science provides a suite of metrics on a researcher's author record. To locate your author record :

1. Log in to Web of Science from OneSearch.

2. Perform an author search by your name.

3. Link to the Citation Report for your work, and an Author Impact Beamplot that provides a normalized citation percentile for all of your papers compared to others of the same age, category and document type.

Use Incites (benchmarking and analytics) for more advanced citation analysis and benchmarking metrics based on Web of Science data, such as: 

  • Category Normalised Citation Impact (CNCI) metric for all of a researcher's Web of Science - indexed publications or a subset.

This metric is an average of the CNCI received by all of the researcher's Web of Science publications or a subset. See the Research output metrics tab for more information about the CNCI and:

  • Average of the percentiles (in subject area) for all of a researcher's Web of Science - indexed publications.

See the Field-weighted metrics tab on the Research output metrics page for information about this metric


More information about Web of Science

Dimensions provides citation metrics and analysis by author.

More information about Dimensions

Note that the free version of Dimensions does not provide access to all of the options in the full version but does allow you to see total citations and analyse by field of research, co-authors and journal.

There are other indicators of research quality and esteem that may provide additional evidence of your research capacity. These may include:

  • Conference paper presentation
  • International engagement
  • Influence on industry/government/public policy/community/cultural organisations
  • Successfully acquitted research grants/ projects
  • Awards and prizes
  • Holdings in libraries
  • Partnerships
  • Editorships
  • Research Fellowships
  • Membership of learned academy
  • Membership of statutory committee
  • Patents
  • Registered Designs
  • Plant Breeders Rights
  • NHMRC and ARC endorsed Guidelines
  • Research Commercialisation Income


 Except for logos, Canva designs or where otherwise indicated, content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.