An agent-based model for the bibliometric h-index

  • Georgia Ionescu
  • Bastien ChopardEmail author
Regular Article


We model a virtual scientific community in which authors publish and cite articles. Citations are attributed according to a preferential attachment mechanism. From the numerical simulations, the h-index can be computed. This bottom-up approach reproduces well real bibliometric data. We consider two versions of our model. (1) The single-scientist is controlled by two parameters which can be tuned to reproduce the value of the h-index of many real scientists. Moreover, this model shows how the h-index grows with the number of citations, for a fixed number of articles. We also define an average h-index that can be used to compare the scientific productivity of institutions of different sizes. (2) The multi-scientist model considers a population of scientists and allows us to study the impact of removing citations from the low h-index researchers on the community. Simulations on real bibilometric data, as well as the predictions of the model, show that the h-index eco-system can be strongly affected by such a filtering.


Statistical and Nonlinear Physics 


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Copyright information

© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computer Science DepartmentUniversity of GenevaGenèveSwitzerland

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