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In 1955, Garfield created the Science Citation Index, a database containing all of the cited references across the most highly respected scientific journals, thereby capturing the sprawling web of connections among texts.More appealing, however, was the possibility of tracking the scholarly influence of oneself and others over time and across fields, and identifying the most highly cited scientists, papers, journals and institutions.The first – another brainchild of Garfield's – is impact factor (IF), which offers a putative indication of an academic journal's quality based on the average number of times its articles were cited during the previous two years.Another notable measure is the h-index – conceived by the physicist Jorge Hirsch – which aims to measure scholars' productivity and impact. H-index accounting is straightforward: If a researcher publishes 20 papers that have each been cited at least 20 times, she has an h-index of 20 . Indeed, citation data have become the vital statistics of academia, with researchers routinely including IF data and h-indexes – along with raw citation scores generated from sources like Thomson Reuters' Web of Science (Garfield's database), Elsevier's Scopus and Google Scholar – on their curricula vitae.Likewise, several annual university rankings – including the CWTS Leiden Ranking, the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities, QS World University Rankings and the World University Rankings – rely on publication and citation data in their calculations.
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