The h-index has received an enormous attention for being an indicator that measures the quality of researchers and organizations. We investigate to what degree authors can inflate their h-index through strategic self-citations with the help of a simulation. We extended Burrell’s publication model with a procedure for placing self-citations, following three different strategies: random self-citation, recent self-citations and h-manipulating self-citations. The results show that authors can considerably inflate heir h-index through self-citations. We propose the q-index as an indicator for how strategically an author has placed self-citations, and which serves as a tool to detect possible manipulation of the h-index. The results also show that the best strategy for an high h-index is publishing papers that are highly cited by others. The productivity has also a positive effect on the h-index.
h-Index; Self-citation; Manipulation; q-Index; Simulation