Using the H-Index to Measure Research Performance in Higher Education: A Case Study of Library and Information Science Faculty in New Zealand and Australia
As academia increasingly turns to bibliometric tools to assess research impact, the question of which indicator provides the best measure of research quality is highly debated. Much emphasis has been placed on the value of the h-index, a new bibliometric tool proposed in 2005 which has quickly found favour in the scientific community. One of the first applications of the h-index was carried out by Kelly and Jennions (2006), who found a number of variables could influence the h-index scores of ecologists and evolutionary biologists. To test these findings, this study calculated the h-index scores of New Zealand and Australian researchers teaching in the field of library and information science (LIS). Publication and citation counts were generated using the Web of Science (WoS), where a number of limitations with using the database to calculate h-index scores were identified. We then considered the effect that gender, country of residence, institutional affiliation, and scientific age had on the h-index scores of LIS researchers in New Zealand and Australia. The study found a positive relationship between scientific age and h-index scores, indicating that the length of a scientist's career should be considered when using the h-index. However, analysis also showed that gender, country of residence, and institutional affiliation had no influence on h-index scores.