We should not be determined by numbers. Sometimes we work long and hard on a project that is important and the analysis is thorough, but the paper resulting from that project does not get its proper recognition. Sometimes, by sheer luck, we stumble on something that gets lots of views. Such is the plight of the scientist today.
Nevertheless, one metric that “attempts to measure the productivity and impact of the published work of a scientist” is the h-index (Wikipedia). The definition: “A scientist has index h if h of his/her Np papers have at least h citations each, and the other (Np – h) papers have no more than h citations each.” So in decreasing order of citations, where your your nth paper meets your nth citation. Of course, the highest number your h-index can be is actually the number of papers you publish. Criticisms include skews to large collaboration projects and self-citation manipulation.
But… how do you actually calculate this h-index?!?!?! Interested? Watch the video below (make sure to have a fast internet connection to watch it in HD, otherwise you won’t be able to discern the fonts):