May 23, 2007
The RSC recently published a league table showing the top-ranking, living chemists. The league is based on the so-called h-index. This parameter was devised by Jorge Hirsch in 2005 in order to measure the impact of an individual chemist’s research. Put simply, the h-index is equal to the highest number of papers that chemist has published which have gained at least that number of citations from other authors. According to the Chemistry World Blog today, thirty more chemists have been added to the league. Hirsch argued that the h-index avoids bias by combining total published papers with a citation parameter it does not reward the prolific but mediocre. The original league was created by Henry Schaefer and colleagues manually by trawling ISI citation data, but I am sure an intrepid chemical web student could create a suitable script to do the job automatically.