Quantified academia

The Slow Academic

At a conference dinner a few years ago, my dinner companion asked me ‘what’s your h-index?’ At the time I was blissfully unaware of my exact number (a key indicator of my lowly academic status) so my companion googled me on the spot. Our conversation was short-lived.

For those in the dark, the h-index is a metric that measures an author’s scholarly output and citations. If you have an h-index over 100, as in the comic below, that means you have published over 100 papers that have each been cited or referenced over 100 times.


Academic work is increasingly subject to the measurement of defined metrics (e.g. specific annual targets for research funding, number of publications and citations, grant income). Early career and aspiring academics know that metrics matter. In my research with colleagues, this awareness is consistent across institutions, career stages, disciplines, roles and positions—and it is…

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