An Otolaryngologist’s Guide to Understanding the H-index and How It Could Affect Your Future Career

David C. Moffatt, Puja Shah, Alex E. Wright, Kenneth Zon, Harold S. Pine

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: The h-index is a measure of research output and contribution that shows strong correlation with academic promotion in medicine. The purpose of this article is to clearly explain how h-index scores are calculated and how otolaryngologists can effectively and advantageously use these scores for their career development. Data Sources: PubMed. Review Methods: We performed an up-to-date PubMed literature review describing the design of the h-index and how to use it effectively along with its role in academic medicine, including otolaryngology. Conclusions: H-index scores are used as a metric for scientific output that considers the number of publications and the number of times each is cited. Search engines can automatically calculate h-index scores for one’s work. Studies also revealed significant positive correlations that the h-index has from fellowship involvement, which could be beneficial for career advancement in academic medicine. Implications for Practice: Aspiring academic otolaryngologists should create a research profile to link and calculate the h-index for publications, submit to well-read high-impact journals for increased viewership and citations, and expand on foundational and personal research topics. Future studies should evaluate faculty and resident awareness of h-indices in the otolaryngology department to see how we can further address any underlying barriers. Otolaryngologists with the knowledge and tools necessary to maximize h-index scores and produce high-quality research in modern-day medicine not only provide potential advantages in career development but also bring significant contribution to the field of otolaryngology and patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOTO Open
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • academic medicine
  • academic otolaryngology
  • fellowship training
  • h-index
  • research productivity
  • scholarly impact

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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