Does the h-index measure by Google Scholar differ from the one Scopus reported?

H-index is a popular expression among researchers and scholars. It is a metric that calculates the research influence of a researcher based on the number of citations of their publications. h-index is the number of articles (h) that have at least h citations each and is a representative of a combination of quality and quantity of research output. The philosophy behind the h-index is to compare different researchers fairly and unbiasedly. So, in this article, we explain the importance of the h-index for researchers, the specifications of h-indexes provided by google scholar and Scopus and their limitations, and finally show you are differences between h-indexes calculated by google scholar and Scopus.

What is the importance of the h-index in scientific fields?

Despite the widespread use of the h-index for scholarly evaluation, it has strengths and limitations, and it is essential to be aware of these while using it as a metric. It is also suggested that you use multiple data sources and metrics to have a more comprehensive and balanced perspective of your research and publication impact.

 The importance of the h-index metric can be as follow:

  • It brings an estimation of importance, significance, and how much it affects different areas of science.
  • Using this metric, researchers can predict their future achievements and potential for recognition.
  • The h-index allows researchers to estimate their performance and recognize their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Research institutes, publishers, funders, and other service providers can utilize the h-index to evaluate the quality and productivity of scholars and assign resources accordingly.
  • Scientific communities can measure researchers in their specific field of research and between disciplines.

On the contrary, this metric may suffer from limitations and challenges like:

  • It may be insensitive to some types of publications that have lower citation rates than journal articles. Some examples of such publications are books, chapters, and conference papers.
  • This metric does not consider a specific timeframe like newness, the age of publications, or the career stage of scholars.
  • It is affected by self-citation, duplicate citation, or citation habits that vary among disciplines and cultures.
  • The metric estimation is highly dependent on the source of publication data like Web of Science, Scopus, or google scholar. The different sources of publication data may have different coverage and criteria for inclusion.

H-index provided by google scholar

one source of publication data used to produce the h-index is google scholar. This publication data produces the metric based on the most cited articles of a researcher and the number of citations they have given in other publications. Google Scholar calculates the h-index by finding the number of papers, h each has at least “h” citations. In addition, google scholar introduces another metric, i-index, that displays how many authors’ articles have 10 or more citations.


google scholar provides a comprehensive and free database that covers different scientific fields and publication types like journals, books, conference articles, theses, preprints, and gray literature. It is also counting citations from unverified publications, self-citations, and duplicate citations. So, it usually brings more coverage and citation count compared to other databases like Web of Science and Scopus.


Despite the advantages mentioned above, the h-index by google scholar has some limitations and challenges, including:

  • Google Scholar can’t give you a clear and consistent criterion for adding or removing publications and citations.
  • It does not allow users to filter or narrow down their search results by publication type, source or language.
  • It does not allow users to analyze or visualize citation data.
  • It may be influenced by errors, inconsistencies, or inaccuracies regarding publications and citations’ metadata or citation information.

How can you get your H-index from google scholar?

To get your h-index from google scholar, you must create a profile there and give details about yourself, including name, email, and password. After that, you should select your research field, keywords, and publications. You can also choose that make your profile public or private. Once you create your profile and add your publications, your h-index, and I-index will be displayed in the “cited by the box” on the right side of your profile page.

H-index provided by Scopus

Scopus is a verified and subscription-based database that covers mainly peer-reviewed journals, books, and conference proceedings in science, technology, medicine, social science, and arts and humanities. This database excludes citations from unverified publishers, self-citations, and duplicate citations. This means that Scopus usually has less coverage and citation count compared to google scholar while it has higher quality and accuracy of citation data.

The h-index provided by Scopus is based on the author’s most cited literature and the number of citations they have given in other publications. The metric is calculated by finding the number of articles (h) that each has at least h citations. It is noteworthy that Scopus represents a co-authorship-adjusted individual h-index, which considers the number of co-authors for each publication.

how can you get your h-index from Scopus?

Like google scholar, to get an h-index from Scopus, you need to have a profile in Scopus. You can find this metric by searching your name in the author tab on the website and selecting the relevant variants and documents. You can also use a temporal parameter to filter your search.

However, this database faces some limitations and challenges, including:

  • Scopus can’t cover all publications and citations in all fields or languages, specifically literature published before 1996 or those published outside common sources.
  • Scopus doesn’t consider a specific time period like the newness or the age of publications or the career level of the researcher.
  • It is influenced by errors or variations in the metadata or citation information of publications and citations.
  • The h-index by Scopus may not show the true impact of publications that have high social or useful practical relevance but a low academic citation rate.
  • It may not show the real impact of publications that have high social or helpful importance but low academic citation rates.

How are these different?

The h-index provided by google scholar is somehow different from the one provided by Scopus since they use different sources of publication data, areas of focus, and criteria for inclusion. The difference in h-index between these databases can vary depending on the research field, publication history, and the researcher’s citation pattern. It has been said that the h-index for a researcher in google scholar is about 2.45 times their Scopus h-index. In addition, these databases are different regarding the field of study. For example, the average ratio of the h-index of google scholar to Scopus for natural sciences and engineering is 1.68, while it is 1.77, 1.85, and 2.36 for medical sciences, agricultural sciences, and social sciences, respectively.


Google Scholar and Scopus are two valuable and verified databases for researchers to use so they can evaluate their research impact in their field of study. The h-index is a metric that gives such information regarding research impacts. However, the h-index provided by each database is different. So, it is vital to be fully aware of the strengths and limitations of each database when you want to use it to measure the h-index.

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