Steinn reports a new metric for research productivity that some people are using: the “H-number”:

The H-score, takes all your papers, ranked by citation count; then you take the largest “k” such that the kth ranked paper has at least k citations.

So, you start off with a H-score of zero.

If your 5th highest cited paper has 5 citations but your 6th highest cited paper has 4 citations then your H=5.

If your 10th highest cited paper has 11 citations, but your 11th highest cited paper has 9 citations, then your H=10.

And so on. High H is better.

Yeah, that’s just what we need, another quasi-objective number for junior faculty to obsess over…

My score is 7, by the way, which not coincidentally is the total number of papers I’ve written that have non-zero citation figures recorded by the Harvard-Smithsonian abstract service. That’s out of a total of 12 articles published in paper journals or proceedings– 13 if you count the forthcoming PRA (which is moderately likely to take the H-score to 8 in a year or two), so I think that’s not too shabby.

I would guess that these figures are probably significantly lower for experimentalists than theorists, as it takes longer to perform an experiment than to model one. I’m too busy this morning to try to figure out what the typical figures for an experimentalist would be, though.