Scientific article
Open access

Authorship and citation patterns of highly cited biomedical researchers: a cross-sectional study

ContributorsPerneger, Thomasorcid
Published inResearch integrity and peer review, vol. 8, no. 1, 13
Publication date2023-09-05
First online date2023-09-05

Background: Scientific productivity is often evaluated by means of cumulative citation metrics. Different metrics produce different incentives. The H-index assigns full credit from a citation to each coauthor, and thus may encourage multiple collaborations in mid-list author roles. In contrast, the Hm-index assigns only a fraction 1/k of citation credit to each of k coauthors of an article, and thus may encourage research done by smaller teams, and in first or last author roles. Whether H and Hm indices are influenced by different authorship patterns has not been examined.

Methods: Using a publicly available Scopus database, I examined associations between the numbers of research articles published as single, first, mid-list, or last author between 1990 and 2019, and the H-index and the Hm-index, among 18,231 leading researchers in the health sciences.

Results: Adjusting for career duration and other article types, the H-index was negatively associated with the number of single author articles (partial Pearson r -0.06) and first author articles (-0.08), but positively associated with the number of mid-list (0.64) and last author articles (0.21). In contrast, all associations were positive for the Hm-index (0.04 for single author articles, 0.18 for first author articles, 0.24 for mid-list articles, and 0.46 for last author articles).

Conclusion: The H-index and the Hm-index do not reflect the same authorship patterns: the full-credit H-index is predominantly associated with mid-list authorship, whereas the partial-credit Hm-index is driven by more balanced publication patterns, and is most strongly associated with last-author articles. Since performance metrics may act as incentives, the selection of a citation metric should receive careful consideration.

  • Citations
  • H-index
  • Hm-index
  • Publications
  • Research assessment
Citation (ISO format)
PERNEGER, Thomas. Authorship and citation patterns of highly cited biomedical researchers: a cross-sectional study. In: Research integrity and peer review, 2023, vol. 8, n° 1, p. 13. doi: 10.1186/s41073-023-00137-1
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ISSN of the journal2058-8615

Technical informations

Creation09/21/2023 1:31:17 PM
First validation05/27/2024 3:16:24 PM
Update time05/27/2024 3:16:24 PM
Status update05/27/2024 3:16:24 PM
Last indexation05/27/2024 3:16:45 PM
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