The first author h-index (hfa-index): levelling the field for small and large institute medical and science scholars
Recent editorials and debates in the literature have highlighted the h-index measurement scale for researchers and how it can be used as a measure of their contributions to the medical and scientific community [1–5]. Indeed, in many University Institutions, the h-index (or h-factor) is being employed for assessment of regrading applications and for individual academics impact. So like it or not, it is here to stay and play. Whilst the debate will continue, it is definite that there are factors which can weight the h-index value to either advantage or disadvantage the researcher. Baldock  quite elegantly pointed out how subtle ways of citing papers can occur to benefit one’s h-index. This is inevitable. However, one area where substantial improvements could be made to the h-index may lie in the area of enhancing the h-index score by weighting first author papers or a hfa-index. This may not be practical if a large proportion of journals used alphabetical listings for authors. However this practice is not common and a well established researcher would normally publish in multiple journals reducing this overall effect. Upon investigation, according to the ISI Journal Citation Reports 2009, of the top 20 journals ranked in the subsection of ‘‘Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging’’, no journals used alphabetical name order convention.
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