How to use Web of Science to calculate your h-index
Web of Science is a database with millions of articles and citations. This data can be used to calculate all sorts of bibliographic metrics including the h-index. Unfortunately, Web of Science is not free, but your institution might have a subscription to it. If so, you'll have access to it when you're on the campus network. When you're off campus, take a look at our off-campus access database to see if your institution is listed.
➡️ Learn more: What is the h-index?
The h-index was designed for evaluating authors, but it can also be used as a guiding metric when researching a new area. Technically, any set of papers can be given a h-index and it is fairly easy to apply it to a set of search results and use the h-index as a guideline for gaining a broad introduction to the major discussions in the field. But first, let's explore the most efficient way to calculate the h-index of an author.
Step 1: Go to the Web of Science search form
- Go to: https://webofknowledge.com/.
- Change the drop-down option from Topic to Author. The default search space, the Core Collection, is usually the best option as it includes both journals and conference proceedings.
- Note that the conference proceedings only go back to 1990.
- Changing the search space to a more specific domain database only makes sense if you get too many false positives in your search results and picking the right ones becomes cumbersome.
- If you or the author you are researching has a ResearcherID or ORCID entry then go with this ID and change the drop-down option to Author identifier.
If you are sure that the author's name is the same on all publications, then provide as much information as you can because it will help to get only relevant entries. Let's take for example the well-known physicist Stephen W. Hawking. The problem is that he might go by Stephen Hawking, Stephen W Hawking, or just by SW Hawking. That's something that needs to be explored on an individual basis. In this tutorial, I tried "Hawking SW". Yes, the last name goes first!
Step 2: Screen the search results and create a citation report
The next step is to screen the search results to see if they really list the author we have been looking for. You can use various filters in the left-hand panel to trim down your results. "Web of Science Categories" and "Organizations-Enhanced" are the most useful ones. But don't worry if some false positives are left; we can remove them in the next step.
Once you have filtered the search results accordingly, all you need to do is click on "Create Citation Report".
Step 3: Assess the Web of Science h-index
By now, a new page will have been opened that displays all sorts of bibliographic metrics including the h-index.
Troubleshooting: what to do when there are articles that were wrongly assigned
At the bottom of the page, you will find a list of all publications that have been included in this analysis. If you need to remove some false positive hits, then simply select the checkbox of the entry and then hit the "Go" button. The h-index calculation will update immediately.
It's not just authors you can calculate an h-index for on Web of Science
Yes, the h-index was originally defined as an author-centric measure, but it can also be used to explore research topics in general. For example, if researching the topic of "ageism" on Web of Science, the h-index can be determined easily by following the steps described before and creating a citation report. For the search term “Machine Learning” the regular way does not work as the search yields more than 10,000 results. You can still calculate a h-index, but it requires some manual work. First change the "Sorted by" dropdown menu to "Times Cited -- highest to lowest", and then scroll to the point at which the times cited is less than the rank.
➡️ Learn more: How to calculate the h-index manually
➡️ Learn more: How to calculate the h-index using Scopus
➡️ Learn more: How to find your h-index in Google Scholar
Frequently Asked Questions about using Web of Science to calculate your h-index
🤨 What is an h-index exactly?
An h-index is a rough summary measure of a researcher’s productivity and impact. Productivity is quantified by the number of papers, and impact by the number of citations the researchers' publications have received.
😝 How do I check my h-index on Google Scholar?
Google Scholar can automatically calculate your h-index, read our guide How to calculate your h-index on Google Scholar for further instructions.
😶 How do I check my h-index on Scopus?
Even though Scopus needs to crunch millions of citations to find the h-index, the look-up is pretty fast. Read our guide How to calculate your h-index using Scopus for further instructions.
🤕 Why as an h-index relevant?
The h-index is not something that needs to be calculated on a daily basis, but it's good to know where you are for several reasons. First, climbing the h-index ladder is something worth celebrating. But more importantly, the h-index is one of the measures funding agencies or the university's hiring committee calculate when you apply for a grant or a position. Given the often huge number of applications, the h-index is calculated in order to rank candidates and apply a pre-filter.
🧐 Is calculating my h-index on Web of Science free?
Unfortunately, Web of Science is not free, but your institution might have a subscription to it. If so, you'll have access to it when you're on the campus network. When you're off campus, take a look at our off campus access database to see if your institution is listed.