Journals have long been ranked in order of relative “importance” by their journal impact factor (IF), but that system has come under increasing criticism. There is a more general debate on the validity of the impact factor as a measure of journal importance and the effect of policies that editors may adopt to boost their impact factor (perhaps to the detriment of readers and writers).
The h-index, originally described in 2005 by it’s namesake Jorge Hirsch, is a measurement that aims to describe the scientific productivity and impact of a researcher. The index is based on the set of the scientist’s most cited papers and the number of citations that they have received in other publications. The larger the number of important papers, the higher the h-index, regardless of where the work was published. It relies on citations to your papers, not the journals, which is a truer measure of quality.
A researcher’s h-index can be calculated manually by locating citation counts for all published papers and ranking them numerically by the number of times cited. However, Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar can also be used to calculate an h-index.