7.2 Pick your metrics wisely
Publish or Perish provides you with a very wide range of metrics. If your university or government prescribed the metrics you need to use, you have little choice but to do so. However, in many cases there is more flexibility. So which metrics do you pick?
The screenshot above shows a summary of my own citation record. Fortunately, my h-index and g-index are relatively high in comparison to other academics in my field (see section on norm scores), so it is relatively easy for me to make my case.
However, if I had the choice and was applying for a professorial position, I would probably point to the fact that my contemporary h-index and my individual h-index are relatively high in comparison to my regular h-index. This would allow me to make the case that:
- Much of my work is recent. Hence my productivity has not (yet) declined and I am likely to continue making a strong contribution to the field. Academics who have published most of their impactful work long ago will have a low contemporary h-index, even though their regular h-index might be fairly high.
- My most-cited work is single-authored. This means that it is easy for me substantiate that I have made a significant intellectual contribution. It also shows that my citation record is not inflated by citations from co-authors and their networks. Academics who publish a lot of co-authored work will usually have lower individual h-indices.
Most academics going up for tenure or promotion will benefit from using the contemporary h-index when comparing themselves with current job incumbents as most of their published work will be relatively recent.
Whether it is beneficial to you to use the individual h-index depends on the number of highly-cited single-authored articles. Publish or Perish provides three implementations of the individual h-index, so feel free to pick the one that shows of your case to its best advantage!