Professor hits Fifty in Prestigious Research Index

Frank Chambers, Emeritus Professor in Physical Geography, has become the first University of Gloucestershire academic to hit a score of 50 in the prestigious research ‘h-index’ on Google Scholar.

Several different ‘league tables’ for researchers run concurrently, and the most prestigious of these is the ‘h-index’, used by Research Councils and other funding organisations, as a measure of esteem in research.

On Google Scholar, for each researcher, the total number of publications, the number of times each has been referenced (‘cited’) in other research publications, and two research indices (h-index, i10 index) are given.

Professor Chambers, whose publications span the fields of climate change, human impact on the environment and landscape conservation, said: “It can get a bit confusing, because various others – such as Web of Science, ResearchGate, ORCID – all produce a researcher’s listings of publications, but these can be incomplete, reducing the h-index.

‘In contrast, Google Scholar seems the most up-to-date and complete. It’s a bit like what happens in some sports, such as boxing and tennis, in which different organisations rank participants differently. However, unlike some elder participants in those sports, a researcher’s h-index favours those who have been many decades in the game, and it may well continue to increase with age!”

A score of 50 for the h-index means that the researcher has 50 of their publications that have each been cited 50 times. The i10-index means the number of publications that have each been cited 10 times, and Professor Chambers hit a century in the i10 index earlier in 2023.

Professor Chambers’ publications feature the development of lakes and peat bogs over thousands of years and what can be revealed from them about the nature and timing of past climate change, vegetation change and human impact, through the use of techniques like pollen analysis and radiocarbon dating.

The University of Gloucestershire’s current listing on Google Scholar, and top of the list for the University in terms of total citations, and way ahead of anyone else with over 15,000, is Emeritus Professor Mick Healey, again a former Geography Professor at the University (in Human Geography; his h-index has reached 49).

Professor Chambers, Professor Damian Maye from the CCRI (Countryside and Community Research Institute), Professor Peter Jones (Business School) and Dr Julie Ingram (CCRI) are next.

The list includes many academic and research staff, plus some research students. Not all University of Gloucestershire researchers have one, but it is very easy for academics to have one created for them and then it will be updated automatically by Google Scholar.

Professor Chambers added: “It’s taken Mick and myself nearly 50 years each to get to where we are today, but nowadays there is more collaboration in research, many more journals in which to publish, more work is published online and there are more citations, so today’s University of Gloucestershire researchers might get there earlier, and knock us off our perches. Something to aspire to!”

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