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

Abstract

In this comment by Leydesdorff, Bornmann and Opthof (Scientometrics https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-019-03004-3, 2019) the authors criticize the recently proposed \(h_{\alpha }\) index (Scientometrics https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-018-2994-1, 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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    See this webpage on chimps and bonobos: https://www.eva.mpg.de/3chimps/files/apes.htm.

  2. 2.

    See this webpage on chimps and bonobos: https://knowledgenuts.com/2013/08/18/the-difference-between-chimps-and-bonobos/.

  3. 3.

    See Alpha (Wikipedia): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_(ethology).

  4. 4.

    AIP data, doctorates earned in physics in (2017): https://www.aip.org/statistics/data-graphics/number-doctorates-earned-physics-classes-1972-through-2017.

  5. 5.

    Nature news, August 1, (2016): https://www.nature.com/news/women-in-physics-face-big-hurdles-still-1.20349.

  6. 6.

    Matthew effect, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_effect.

  7. 7.

    APS Fellowship: https://www.aps.org/programs/honors/fellowships/.

  8. 8.

    John Cardy’s Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cardy.

  9. 9.

    Peter Littlewood’s Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Littlewood.

References

  1. Hirsch, J. E. (2018). \(h_\alpha\): An index to quantify an individual’s scientific leadership. Scientometrics. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-018-2994-1.

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  2. Leydesdorff, L., Bornmann, L., & Opthof, T. (2019). \(h_\alpha\): The scientist as chimpanzee or bonobo. Scientometrics. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-019-03004-3.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Leydesdorff, L., & van Erkelens, H. (1981). Some social-psychological aspects of becoming a physicist. Scientometrics, 3(1), 27–45.

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  4. Merton, R. K. (1968). The Matthew effect in science. Science, 159, 56.

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Correspondence to J. E. Hirsch.

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Hirsch, J.E. Response to comment “hα: the scientist as chimpanzee or bonobo”, by Leydesdorff, Bornmann and Opthof. Scientometrics 118, 1167–1172 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-019-03019-w

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Keywords

  • h-Index
  • Coauthorship
  • Scientific leadership
  • alpha