The main indicators of scientific activity of the researcher and the organisation

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Scientometrics is a multifaceted and interesting field that studies an array of scientific information, analysing it with the help of certain bibliographic indicators. This allows to understand the pace at which each of branches of science are developing, helps to build a strategy for the development of scientific thought, prospects, and breakthroughs.

Scientometric indicators of the researcher and the scientific organisation

In this article we will approach the subject of the main scientometric indicators that characterise the work of scientists and scientific organisations, help assess their activities, and create ratings. 

Total number of publications

This is an important indicator in the scientometrics, which is obtained from databases over a certain period of time and shows the total number of scientific publications indexed in Scopus or Web of Science. It helps form a general idea of the activities of the researcher and the organisation.

Citation index

Science Citation Index (SCI) is a key indicator in the scientometrics, which includes the full number of links to articles in the Web of Science and Scopus. It demonstrates the importance of scientific article and is calculated based on previous publications. SCI is actively supported by the international scientific community and shows the total number of references to publications in periodicals over time, calculated in Scopus and Web of Science. Developed by American scientist Eugene Garfield in 1960.

SCI performs a wide range of functions

– helps researchers and scientific organisations with search for information, identification of the relevance of materials and important research;

– simplifies the search for links between scientific publications to identify the structure of fields of knowledge and review their development;

– allows the research society to evaluate the scientific material and activities of the author, as well as the organisation where the researcher works.

Average citation

This figure indicates the average number of citations per 1 publication. It helps identify the quality of scientific material, the work of researchers and organisations. It is calculated as follows: the total number of links is divided by the total number of articles.  

Hirsch index and its modifications (g-index and i-index)

it helps with a comprehensive assessment of the researcher's publications and their citations. It was proposed by American physicist Jorge Hirsch in 2005.

The biggest advantage of the index is that it is easy to calculate. It helps to identify the magnitude that describes the importance and scale of a researcher's contribution to science, as well as to compare researchers and their articles.

Two researchers that have the same h-index value can be compared in terms of their scientific contributions, even if their total number of publications and citations may differ. But if two researchers have the same number of papers and citations, but different h-index, then the one who has a higher h-index should be a more authoritative researchers with more interesting articles.

H-index appears in databases Scopus, Web of Science, and others. There are many controversial issues regarding this index, and it needs to be improved, but so far it actively serves as an indicator that is used when assessing the researcher's article.

Method of calculation

To get h = 3, you need to have 3 articles, each of which has at least 3 citations.

The main scientometric indicators of a researcher and scientific institution: total number of publications, citation index, Hirsch index, i-index, g-index


In attempts to improve the Hirsch index, it was proposed to use its analogue – g-index. It is calculated based on the distribution of citations: articles are sorted in order. It helps to support low-citation publications with more popular articles.

Method of calculation

To get G = 3, you need to have at least 3 articles, each cited at least 32 times.

G-index and H-index

G-index takes into consideration that some of the most cited articles of a certain researcher may have a high rating, whereas h-index almost does not do the same. Their values in biology and medicine will be higher than in physics and chemistry. The indicator in humanities, technical and mathematical research will be even lower.


It is calculated only for a scientific organisation, factoring in the Hirsch index of the scientists who work in it.

Method of calculation

A scientific organisation has an index i if at least i scientists from this organisation have an h-index of at least i.

As is evident, scientometrics began its active development a long time ago and at this time has created many tools that help all participants in the scientific and publishing process to performance monitoring, strategical thinking, and understanding the directions to steer their further research.

If you have any questions about scientific and publishing work, our company Scientific Publications – Publ.Science will be happy to help answer them. Contact our specialists via chat to communicate.

As a reminder, we have recently released a video podcast "How to improve the Hirsch index".

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