How Many Citations Is Good for a Professor (Answered 2023)

How Many Citations Is Good for a Professor? (Answered 2023)

A professor is the one who is responsible for teaching the students and helping them with other work like research. Although it may look interesting do you know how much hard work you need to do to become a professor? To become a professor not only you will have to give time for your studies but also have to work on different projects like publications, research, etc. One such factor that helps in becoming a professor is the citations done for your papers. Thus here we will help you to know more about the citations and also will find out how many citations is good for a professor.

Quick Takeaways 

  • Citations are a way of giving credit to the certain work from which you have taken help.
  • There is no fixed number of citations as you may get selected with a citation less than the other candidate.
  • The best way to know the number of citations required for becoming a professor is by h-index. If you are a fresher, the h-index should be 3-5. Whereas, if you already have gained the experience then the h-index should be around 10-12.

However, you must read till the end so that you get a better understanding of how many citations are good for a professor.

How Many Citations Is Good for a Professor? (Answered 2023)

What are citations?

Citations are a way of giving credit to the certain work from which you have taken help. It means when you are writing a research paper you have taken help from various published papers. In such a scenario citations refer to the way of giving credit to the papers he used as a reference for your final paper. However, if we talk about citations for a professor it means how many people have used your paper for their research. In short, it means how many citations do you have received from other people.

How many citations is good for a Professor?

There is no specific number of citations that are good for a professor. It will depend upon the institution you are applying to and also will depend upon the subject you are researching about. Further, there may be some processes that have been written on the 5 papers but have over 100 citations. On the other hand, there may be professors who have written 40-60 papers but have around 10 to 15 citations. Therefore there is no fixed number for the citations required by the professor. However, one factor that may help you to determine the right number of citations required for a professor is the h-index.

What is h-index?

How Many Citations Is Good for a Professor? (Answered 2023)

The h-index refers to the number of publications which are done by a professor and are cited by other professors at the same time. Suppose you are a professor with six publications which have been cited by other professors for 9, 8, 7, 5, 4, 2 and 1.  In such a case your h-index number will be four as your four publications have been cited for 4 times.

However, if you look in numbers there are five such numbers that appear equal to 4 or more than 4 times. Here you may think that each index should be 5 which is wrong. It is because, for the h-index, the number should be equally repeated. Thus if there were a 5 instead of 4 your h-index number would be 5.

What is a good h-index number?

As a new adjunct professor, your h index number should be between 3 to 5. However, if you are thinking of applying to a tenured position then your h-index number should be higher. You must try to have a H-index number around 8 to 12 numbers. On the other hand, if you are thinking of becoming a full-time professor then your age index number should be between 15 to 20. Further, if you already have 20 years of experience in research work then your h index must be at least 20 to call it a good score.

How Many Citations Is Good for a Professor? (Answered 2023)

If it is around 40 then it will be known as an outstanding score and around 6 years will be truly exceptional. One important fact that you must remember is that the more your age index number, more will be the more opportunities you will be getting. However, the number of publications you made may also help you in getting the professor job role.

How many publications should a professor have?

Well, it will depend upon how much experience you have or may also depend upon when you are starting. If you are a fresher then having 5-10 citations is good for a professor less than that? However, if you are a person who already has experience or has already been in the research field for a long time, then you must have at least 17-20 publications.

How important are citations when applying for jobs or promotions?

How Many Citations Is Good for a Professor? (Answered 2023)

When your research paper is cited it reflects how many people have read your and use your paper for their research work. When your paper is cited by most people, then it depicts the reliability of your work. The more citations you get, the more will be your impact. There are many professors who have written a lot of publications that still not have received many citations.

In such a case if you have received a lot of citations for your publication then of course it will make a great impact on the institution. Additionally, there are people who think that a letter of recommendation plays a more crucial role than citations which is wrong. However, you must remember that there are many other factors that will determine whether you will be hired as a professor or not. There are many candidates who have more citations and more applications than you may have. 

But they may have done work in collaboration with other students whereas you may have done the whole work alone by yourself. In such a case you may get preference over the other candidate. Therefore we can say that citations play an important role in getting a professor position but definitely it is not the only factor in getting hired. 


Citations are the process of giving credit to the person whose publication you have used for help. If you are applying for a position of a professor, there will be no fixed number of citations for becoming a professor. However, if you really want to know the perfect number of citations then you must consider h-index. Your h-index should be around 3-5 which is generally considered good for a fresher.


Is 1,000 citations good for a professor?

Having 1000 citations is a superb score as it reflects high knowledge and also reflects the efforts made by you to write a paper.

Is 20 citations a lot?

It may not be a good score for most of the departments. But there may be a few departments like computer science which may put you in the top 10 ranks.

William Christie
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