We all know the h-index, the number of papers by a given author that have been cited at least that many times. For instance, if you have 52 papers cited at least 52 times but the 53rd most-cited paper is only cited 52 (rather than 53 times), your h-index is 52. This index is widely used to assess the performance of academics and has sometimes been praised but much more widely vilified.
- Dan Bolnick came up with the name "n-index"
- This analysis was done completely in fun and is not meant to single out anyone one way or the other (except for Rowan). Moreover, none of us consider this to be a useful index in any way; merely something that entertained us briefly while drinking beer.
- Previous authors have calculated and discussed the n-index or something like it. However, we had more fun ignoring this literature and exploring the ideas ourselves.
- The data presented here will not be accurate. First, they are a non-random selection of the people who happened to be standing around supplemented by our friends, people who write papers about the merits of self-citation, and more senior folks who we could use to better populate the range of parameter space. The small number of people included in the analysis are simply an indication of how long my computer battery lasted. Second, because Web of Science does not have a unique identifier for people, at least one person in the analysis is a combination of several people. However, we did confirm that at least all of the highly cited papers were for the people in question. Third, we searched only for last name plus the initials. If someone left an initial off some of their papers, we would miss it. We would also miss papers if someone changed their name. Fourth, no formal stats were conducted – nor do I recommend wasting your time to do so.