, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 121-129

First online:

An informetric model for the Hirsch-index

  • Leo EggheAffiliated withHasselt University; Antwerp University, IBW
  • , Ronald RousseauAffiliated withDepartment of Industrial Sciences and Technology, Antwerp University, IBW; KHBO (Association K.U.Leuven), Industrial Sciences and Technology

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The h-index (or Hirsch-index) was defined by Hirsch in 2005 as the number h such that, for a general group of papers, h papers received at least h citations while the other papers received no more than h citations. This definition is extended here to the general framework of Information Production Processes (IPPs), using a source-item terminology. It is further shown that in each practical situation an IPP always has a unique h-index. In Lotkaian systems h = T 1 / a , where T is the total number of sources and α is the Lotka exponent. The relation between h and the total number of items is highlighted.