My H-index: 33. April 11, 2007Posted by dorigo in internet, news, personal, physics, science.
I learned about the existence of the H-index only a couple of weeks ago, while sharing a wedding lunch with my cousin Andrea Rinaldo, professor of Hydraulic Engineering. According to Wikipedia,
The h-index is an index for quantifying the scientific productivity of physicists and other scientists based on their publication record. It was suggested in 2005 by Jorge E. Hirsch of the University of California, San Diego.
The index is calculated based on the distribution of citations received by a given researcher’s publications. Hirsch writes:
- A scientist has index h if h of his Np papers have at least h citations each, and the other (Np – h) papers have at most h citations each.
In other words, a scholar with an index of h has published h papers with at least h citations each. Thus, the h-index is the result of the balance between the number of publications and the number of citations per publication. The index is designed to improve upon simpler measures such as the total number of citations or publications, to distinguish truly influential scientists from those who simply publish many papers. The index is also not affected by single papers that have many citations.
So, having learned about the crucial importance of my H-index for my career, I went on to try and find a place where I could get my own. I thus found a site which features a simple interface and tried it out.
The result ? My H-index is 33. That means I have 33 papers with at least 33 citations. Good ? Bad ? Hmmm. Wikipedia warns about comparing h-indices between scientists in different fields of research, due to differences in citation conventions. So I tried the names of a few colleagues who have been active in the last 12 years. Here is the verdict (for the years 1996-2007):
- Dario Bisello (my boss): 35.
- Giorgio Bellettini (the patriarch of the italian CDF community): 34.
- Alessandro Bettini (a professor in Padova, former director of the Gran Sasso labs): 10.
- Franco Simonetto (a professor and CMS colleague in Padova): 26.
- Fabio Pistella (president of CNR, whose appointment has been criticized for his scarce scientific productivity ): 3.
- Lubos Motl (a very vocal promoter of string theory and a professor in Harvard): 14.
- Andrea Rinaldo (my cousin, director of the Department of Hydraulic Engineering in Padova): 23.
- Edward Witten (the stellar string theorist): 68.
All in all, I think I can meaningfully say I discovered three things… First, I do not really score that bad! And second, I think the H-index is as useful in discriminating the most valuable scientists as their shoe size.
But third, and most important to me: I found out that the most cited paper I signed is “First Observation of the All-Hadronic Decay of tt Pairs“, PRL 79 (1992), 1997 – which boasts 490 citations. The exciting thing is that I did co-edit that paper – it is the one to which I directly contributed with my work as a undergraduate student and then PhD student, between 1992 and 1996 (and Patrizia, my colleague, would be unhappy if I did not mention here that the analysis was also the basis of her PhD thesis!). Something to be proud about, for once!