What’s wrong with the h-index, according to its inventor

Businessman keeps balance across risk areas

Love it or hate it, the h-index has become one of the most widely used metrics in academia for measuring the productivity and impact of researchers. But when Jorge Hirsch proposed it as an objective measure of scientific achievement in 2005, he didn’t think it would be used outside theoretical physics.

“I wasn’t even sure whether to publish it or not,” says Hirsch, a physicist at the University of California, San Diego. “I did not expect it to have such a big impact.”

The metric takes into account both the number of papers a researcher has published and how many citations they receive. It has become a popular tool for assessing job candidates and grant applicants.

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