Response to comment “hα: the scientist as chimpanzee or bonobo”, by Leydesdorff, Bornmann and Opthof

  • J. E. HirschEmail author


In this comment by Leydesdorff, Bornmann and Opthof (Scientometrics, 2019) the authors criticize the recently proposed \(h_{\alpha }\) index (Scientometrics, 2018) on the basis that “\(h_{\alpha }\) inherits most of the disadvantages of the h-index”, that it “can be extremely unstable”, and that “The empirical attribution of credit among co-authors is not captured by abstract models such as h, \(\bar{h}\), or \(h_{\alpha }\)”. I refute their arguments and present further evidence that \(h_{\alpha }\) is a useful and essential complement to the h-index.


h-Index Coauthorship Scientific leadership alpha 


  1. Hirsch, J. E. (2018). \(h_\alpha\): An index to quantify an individual’s scientific leadership. Scientometrics. Scholar
  2. Leydesdorff, L., Bornmann, L., & Opthof, T. (2019). \(h_\alpha\): The scientist as chimpanzee or bonobo. Scientometrics. Scholar
  3. Leydesdorff, L., & van Erkelens, H. (1981). Some social-psychological aspects of becoming a physicist. Scientometrics, 3(1), 27–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Merton, R. K. (1968). The Matthew effect in science. Science, 159, 56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego La JollaUSA

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