This article introduces the Impact Factor squared or IF²-index, an h-like indicator of research performance. This indicator reflects the degree to which large entities such as countries and/or their states participate in top-level research in a field or subfield. The IF²-index uses the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) of research publications instead of the number of citations. This concept is applied to other h-type indexes and their results compared to the IF²-index. These JIF-based indexes are then used to assess the overall performance of cancer research in Australia and its states over 8 years from 1999 to 2006. The IF²-index has three advantages when evaluating larger research units: firstly, it provides a stable value that does not change over time, reflecting the degree to which a research unit participated in top-level research in a given year; secondly, it can be calculated closely approximating the publication date of yearly datasets; and finally, it provides an additional dimension when a full article-based citation analysis is not feasible. As the index reflects the degree of participation in top-level research it may favor larger units when units of different sizes are compared.