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Testing the Calculation of a Realistic h-index in Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science for F. W. Lancaster


This paper focuses on the practical limitations in the content and software of the databases that are used to calculate the h-index for assessing the publishing productivity and impact of researchers. To celebrate F. W. Lancaster’s biological age of seventy-five, and “scientific age” of forty-five, this paper discusses the related features of Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science (WoS), and demonstrates in the latter how a much more realistic and fair h-index can be computed for F. W. Lancaster than the one produced automatically. Browsing and searching the cited reference index of the 1945–2007 edition of WoS, which in my estimate has over a hundred million “orphan references” that have no counterpart master records to be attached to, and “stray references” that cite papers which do have master records but cannot be identified by the matching algorithm because of errors of omission and commission in the references of the citing works, can bring up hundreds of additional cited references given to works of an accomplished author but are ignored in the automatic process of calculating the h-index. The partially manual process doubled the h-index value for F. W. Lancaster from 13 to 26, which is a much more realistic value for an information scientist and professor of his stature.