Munich Personal RePEc Archive

A “citation surplus” should be added to the h-index

Da Silva, Sergio (2017): A “citation surplus” should be added to the h-index. Published in: Open Access Library Journal , Vol. 4, No. 10 (2017): e3959.


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The h-index is the largest number h such that h publications have at least h citations. The index reflects both the number of publications and the number of citations per publication. One unperceived deficiency of this metric is that it is Pareto-inefficient. A “citation surplus” would be absent and, thus, the h-index would be efficient for a researcher if all his h papers that are equal or above his h-index received exactly h citations. This inefficiency would not be of great concern if those h papers were normally distributed. However, the rank from top to bottom does not decay exponentially. The decay follows the power law known in the literature as Lotka’s law. To remedy this deficiency, I suggest the h-index be supplemented by a researcher’s citation surplus.

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