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A simple method for excluding self‐citation from the h‐index: the b‐index

Richard J.C. Brown (Analytical Science Team, National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, UK)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 27 November 2009




The purpose of this conceptual paper is to present a simple, novel method for excluding self‐citation from h‐index values – the b‐index.


The work described assumes that relative self‐citation rate is constant across an author's publications and that the citation profile of a set of papers follows a Zipfian distribution, and from this derives a simple mathematical expression for excluding self‐citation from h‐index values.


It is shown that this new index is simply equal to the integer value of the author's external citation rate (non‐self‐citations) to the power three quarters, multiplied by their h‐index. This value, called the b‐index, does not require an extensive analysis of the self‐citation rates of individual papers to produce, and appropriately shows the biggest numerical decreases, as compared to the corresponding h‐index, for very high self‐citers.

Practical implications

The method presented allows the user to assess quickly and simply the effects of self‐citation on an author's h‐index.


This paper provides a simple and novel method for excluding self‐citation from the h‐index and should be of interest to those interested in bibliometrics and databases of scientific literature.



Brown, R.J.C. (2009), "A simple method for excluding self‐citation from the h‐index: the b‐index", Online Information Review, Vol. 33 No. 6, pp. 1129-1136.



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