, Volume 76, Issue 3, pp 577–588 | Cite as

Beyond the Durfee square: Enhancing the h-index to score total publication output

  • Thomas R. AndersonEmail author
  • Robin K. S. Hankin
  • Peter D. Killworth
Open Access


An individual’s h-index corresponds to the number h of his/her papers that each has at least h citations. When the citation count of an article exceeds h, however, as is the case for the hundreds or even thousands of citations that accompany the most highly cited papers, no additional credit is given (these citations falling outside the so-called “Durfee square”). We propose a new bibliometric index, the “tapered h-index” (h T), that positively enumerates all citations, yet scoring them on an equitable basis with h.

The career progression of h T and h are compared for six eminent scientists in contrasting fields. Calculated h T for year 2006 ranged between 44.32 and 72.03, with a corresponding range in h of 26 to 44. We argue that the h T-index is superior to h, both theoretically (it scores all citations), and because it shows smooth increases from year to year as compared with the irregular jumps seen in h. Conversely, the original h-index has the benefit of being conceptually easy to visualise. Qualitatively, the two indices show remarkable similarity (they are closely correlated), such that either can be applied with confidence.


SAHA Citation Count Publication Output Career Progression Additional Citation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Andrews, G. E. (1984), The Theory of Partitions. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Ball, P. (2005), Achievement index climbs the ranks, Nature, 448: 737.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Batista, P. D., Campiteli, M. G., Kinouchi, O., Martinez, A. S. (2006), Is it possible to compare researchers with different scientific interests? Scientometrics, 68: 179–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bornmann, L., Daniel, H.-D. (2005), Does the h-index for ranking of scientists really work? Scientometrics, 65: 391–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cronin, B., Meho, L. (2006), Using the h-index to rank influential information scientists, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 57: 1275–1278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Egghe, L. (2006), Theory and practise of the g-index, Scientometrics, 69: 131–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hirsch, J. E. (2005), An index to quantify an individual’s scientific research output, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102: 16569–16572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Holden, C. (2005), Random samples: Data point — Impact factor, Science, 309: 1181.Google Scholar
  9. Jin, B. H. (2006), H-index: an evaluation indicator proposed by scientist, Science Focus, 1: 8–9.Google Scholar
  10. Kostoff, R. N. (2007), The difference between highly and poorly cited medical articles in the journal Lancet. Scientometrics, 72: 513–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Liang, L. (2006), H-index sequence and h-index matrix: Constructions and applications, Scientometrics, 69: 153–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Oppenheim, C. (2007), Using the h-index to rank influential British researchers in information science and librarianship, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58: 297–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Opthof, T. (1997), Sense and nonsense about the impact factor, Cardiovascular Research, 33: 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Opthof, T., Coronel, R., Piper, H. M. (2004), Impact factors: no totum pro parte by skewness of citation, Cardiovascular Research, 61: 201–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Redner, S. (2005), Citation statistics from 110 years of Physical Review, Physics Today, 58: 49–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Saha, S., Saint, S., Christakis, D. A. (2003), Impact factor: a valid measure of journal quality? Journal of the Medical Library Association, 91: 42–46.Google Scholar
  17. Schreiber, M. (2007), Self-citation corrections for the Hirsch index, Europhysics Letters, 78: 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Seglen, P. O. (1992), The skewness of science, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 43: 628–638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. van Raan, A. J. F. (2004), Sleeping beauties in science, Scientometrics, 59: 467–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Vanclay, J. K. (2007), On the robustness of the h-index, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58: 1547–1550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Vinkler, P. (2007), Eminence of scientists in the light of the h-index and other scientometric indicators, Journal of Information Science, 33: 481–491.CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas R. Anderson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robin K. S. Hankin
    • 1
  • Peter D. Killworth
    • 1
  1. 1.National Oceanography CentreUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

Personalised recommendations