Are there better indices for evaluation purposes than the h index? A comparison of nine different variants of the h index using data from biomedicine



In this study, we examined empirical results on the h index and its most important variants in order to determine whether the variants developed are associated with an incremental contribution for evaluation purposes. The results of a factor analysis using bibliographic data on postdoctoral researchers in biomedicine indicate that regarding the h index and its variants, we are dealing with two types of indices that load on one factor each. One type describes the most productive core of a scientist's output and gives the number of papers in that core. The other type of indices describes the impact of the papers in the core. Because an index for evaluative purposes is a useful yardstick for comparison among scientists if the index corresponds strongly with peer assessments, we calculated a logistic regression analysis with the two factors resulting from the factor analysis as independent variables and peer assessment of the postdoctoral researchers as the dependent variable. The results of the regression analysis show that peer assessments can be predicted better using the factor ‘impact of the productive core’ than using the factor ‘quantity of the productive core.’