Learning III: Travails of Citation Counts

So, the anvil went clunk, right? Well, it wasn’t so bad after that except for a little soreness, life with times cited went on…

One of the secretaries thought she could shorten her agony by asking her department’s academics to submit the counts to her. She came to me one day. “Eh, I don’t know why he submitted his citation count so high leh? 600 over! Got so much, meh?” “He didn’t limit to tiered journals lah.” I said. “Oh. So how, ah?” It was more of a question of how she was going to placate protesting academics.

So, tell me how good are you? If you have like only 1 article published in your entire academic career and it has 100 citation counts but the next guy has 100 articles and he gets only like 1 count for each article. The proverbial “So how, ah?” pops up.

By then, I was working myself into quite a tizzy. So, it was most fortunate to have a dear colleague find time to relieve my tizzy-ness despite managing two libraries. It seems there is this little thing called the H-index. Now, according Thomson, H-index shows “the productivity of the authors based on publication and citation records”.

So I ran a search in Scopus for the 600-over-count academic and his H-index was 5. Basically it means he has published 5 papers that have 5 or more citations each. Now, let’s compare him with another academic who has 265 counts and get this – her H-index is 9.

Saving gutless me from any tirades spluttering out of Prof 600-over-count or any highly-cited academic, I would quickly say – check out the disadvantages of H-index listed in Thomson’s site.

And like any measures of quality, relying on just one ain’t enough.

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