I'm curious if there is information somewhere on the average H-Index through each stage of the academic ladder? While this would vary greatly by the research focus/reputation of an institution, I would love to know if there was a system for gauging a researchers impact in the field relative to their peers.
Date: 27 Feb 2013 14:17
Number of posts: 16
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I'm in a my first year of a t-t position at an R1 and mine is 8. So idea whether this is normal or not. A friend is also in his first year at another R1 and his is 10. We're both in clinical psych. FYI it's now really easy to set up to track this by setting up a Google Scholar page that will display your h-index automatically (and update it).
This is a good question. I've heard that some schools are moving towards this for hiring and promotion. I've been told that, to be competitive for a "good" R1 job (i.e. at a top-tier public institution), one needs at least a 3-5 to get hired, then around an 8-10 to be eligible (not necessarily competitive — just eligible) for tenure. Of course, as all the numbers (pubs, years post-doc, grants, etc.) continue to go up, so will this, I'm sure.
Nosek et al. has it calculated for social psych . Google Nosek et al h index.
But most people realize that your h-index as a grad student/first few years of post doc isn't a particularly accurate measure, it probably reflects how many people cite your advisor. People pay more attention to where you are publishing at early career stage unless you have a remarkably high h index/citation count.
Nosek, B. A., Graham, J., Lindner, N. M., Kesebir, S., Hawkins, C. B., Hahn, C., Schmidt, K., Motyl, M., Joy-Gaba, J . A., Frazier, R., & Tenney, E. R. (2010). Cumulative and career-stage impact of social-personality psychology programs and their members. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 1283-1300.
It is very field dependent as well - I am a developmental psychologist that got a R1 job last year and my h-index is 3. H-indexes for developmental psychologists tend to be lower than for other fields of psychology.
anon99 makes a good point. In more "medically oriented" areas of psych the h-indexes seem to be higher because of the medical journal norm to cite tons of papers, whereas there are often limits in the numbers of citations one can include in social, cognitive, and developmental psych journals. Granted this is a small sample (n = 9), but between me and my friends who are early t-t faculty (i.e. less than 3 yrs) in cognitive and social our indexes range from 7-15.
I had no idea what mine was so I did the Google Scholar-thing and the result was an h-index of 9. I was a lot more excited to see the number of citations for each pub on the screen in black and white….now that is s boost to the ego that I needed! just a word of advice since I just finished up a search (successfully!), the search committees are very savvy about the internet. Even if they don't tell you, they have "googled" you and searched your name online. In my case, it meant that the search chair (and likely everyone else) knew about my dual career issue well before my interview…..though no one mentioned it at all and everyone was totally professional. They found out because of an article from our graduate institution about married couples graduating on the same day. And let's just say that I graduated from grad school a number of years ago so that stuff stays online forEVER. Everything has worked out well, but I think it is safe to assume that search committees are using everything at their disposal.
re: googling candidates, at a recent meeting with a senior job candidate, I mentioned the person's excellent teaching reviews on ratemyprofessor. They were quite literally shocked. But, their reviews were some of the best I've ever seen on the site, and they had a huge n or review to boot! Still, I agree: expect that they've googled you.
In addition to h-index not being that meaningful in your early career stages while people are simply citing your advisor, it can also be skewed depending on whether you were first author on the paper. I have an h-index of 8 but several of those are papers in which I was not first author, but was involved on a project that was ultimately high profile. I only have three first-authored publications, so my h-index from those is…3.
I am a first year faculty member at a liberal arts college. My publication record was NOT competitive for R1s in last year's search and probably will never be, but I wanted to do the liberal arts college thing anyway so it worked out great. My record is also not competitive for elite liberal arts schools, though, so I'm at a place with a 3:3 load.
I'm curious why folks think H-indexes aren't relevant at early career stages? Are publications important for their own sake or because they direct future discovery? Your H is the scientific footprint left by your earlier work. True it will be hard to judge any one paper's lasting impact in the short term and in press/prep papers can win a committee over. However, if i have two qualified candidates then I will bet on the researcher with a high H coming out of a post-doc. Particularly if there is a big gap in impact. If you publish over the course of grad school and work a 2-3 year post-doc that gives your peers almost half a decade to cite your earlier work. If your papers haven't been noticed by that point you might be headed for academic irrelevancy. True you can argue that most papers don't get cited (or even read) but those researchers don't get the competitive jobs.
If you want a job make discoveries, get cited (H-index), and land grants.