The ranking and categorizations of academic articles of a data set have traditionally been based on the distribution of their total citations. This ranking formed the basis for the definition of the h-index. As an alternative methodology, the ranking of articles of a data set can be performed according to the distribution of the average citations of the articles. Applying this same principle to the h-index itself leads to an average h-index, the ha-index: the largest number of papers ha published by a researcher that has obtained at least ha citations per year on average. The new ha-index offers more consistency, increased selectivity, and fairer treatment of younger scholars compared to the classic h-index. With its normalized time aspect, the method leads to better acknowledgment of progress. The evolution of the h-indices over time shows how the ha-index reaches its full potential earlier and offers more stability over time. The average citation ha-index partly solves the problem of the temporality of the h-index. The ha-index can also be applied to academic journals. In particular, the application of the ha-index to journals leads to more stability as they reach their limit sooner. The ha-index offers a response to the inflation of h-index levels.

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Handling Editor: Vincent Larivière

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