Article Spotlight: Getting to Know Altmetrics

By Barnaby Nicolas, MSIS

Altmetrics is a term you’ve probably heard of, but what does it really mean?  Altmetrics is an emerging category of impact measurement premised upon the value of “alternative metrics”. They are useful supplementary measures of impact, best used in tandem with traditional measures like citation counts. In short, Altmetrics is all about illustrating the full impact of a scientific work.

PlumX , is a tool that gives researchers and institutions a more complete view of the impact of their publications by harvesting and aggregating altmetrics data in five major categories: usage, captures, mentions, social media, and citations.

In our monthly “Article Spotlight” series, we will take a closer look at highly cited articles by Mount Sinai faculty and researchers using PlumX to determine their altmetric impact. This month, we’re looking at a multi-author article with contributions by Dr. Paolo Boffetta, MD, MPH, Associate Director for Population Sciences of The Tisch Cancer Institute and Chief of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control of the Department of Oncological Sciences.  He is also the Bluhdorn Professor of International Community Medicine.

Citation: Etemadi A, Kamangar F, Islami F, Abney C, Malekzadeh R, Brennan P, Boffetta P, et al. Mortality and cancer in relation to ABO blood group phenotypes in the Golestan Cohort Study. BMC Med. 2015;13:8.

Article Summary: This large cohort study investigates the association between blood group alleles and disease incidence.


BACKGROUND: A few studies have shown an association between blood group alleles and vascular disease, including atherosclerosis, which is thought to be due to the higher level of von Willebrand factor in these individuals and the association of blood group locus variants with plasma lipid levels. No large population-based study has explored this association with overall and cause-specific mortality. METHODS: We aimed to study the association between ABO blood groups and overall and cause-specific mortality in the Golestan Cohort Study. In this cohort, 50,045 people 40- to 70-years old were recruited between 2004 and 2008, and followed annually to capture all incident cancers and deaths due to any cause. We used Cox regression models adjusted for age, sex, smoking, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, place of residence, education and opium use. RESULTS: During a total of 346,708 person-years of follow-up (mean duration 6.9 years), 3,623 cohort participants died. Non-O blood groups were associated with significantly increased total mortality (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.09; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01 to 1.17) and cardiovascular disease mortality (HR = 1.15; 95% CI: 1.03 to 1.27). Blood group was not significantly associated with overall cancer mortality, but people with group A, group B, and all non-O blood groups combined had increased risk of incident gastric cancer. In a subgroup of cohort participants, we also showed higher plasma total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in those with blood group A. CONCLUSIONS: Non-O blood groups have an increased mortality, particularly due to cardiovascular diseases, which may be due to the effect of blood group alleles on blood biochemistry or their effect on von Willebrand factor and factor VIII levels.

URL to this article on PlumX

Learn more about Dr. Boffetta’s Profile

Learn more about PlumX at Mount Sinai

2011 Journal Citation Reports Announcement

JCR 2011Journal Citation Reports, the database that provides journal impact factors and rankings of journals in a field, has released data for the 2011 edition.  Reports are also available for previous years.  Use this database to find the impact factor or Eigenfactor for any of the 10,500 journals indexed by Web of Science. This database is available through the databases page on the Levy Library website by clicking on the Web of Science link.

For help finding a journal’s impact factor, use the library journal impact factors guide.  To calculate your personal impact factor or H-index for 2011, follow the instructions in the library Individual Impact Factor guide.  As always, if you have questions about how to do this, contact us at Ask a Librarian.

Researcher ID!

Thompson Reuters has created Researcher ID, an online registry where you can build a publication list of your published research. When you sign up for Researcher ID, you'll be able to make lists public or private. You will be assigned a unique Researcher ID number that will differentiate you from other researchers who may share your name and initials. And, you can generate citation metrics including total times citated, average times citated and your h-index.

Build your profile and then add publications by importing them from Web of Science and/or reference citation software such as EndNote.

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Spring Cleaning for Authors

Citation databases create author profiles where all of that author’s citations are collected. This lets authors see all their works in one place for CV updates and metrics calculations. However, due to changes in affiliation, name format and many other reasons, there are frequently more than one profile for the same author. This is your chance to fix problems like:

  • Which name variations should be grouped together in your profile?  Which spelling variation should be used as the primary name under which all documents are listed?
  • Are all the articles listed as yours by you?  Are all of your articles listed?

You can help clean up these records and make sure that all of your articles are credited to you under one profile. It’s a good idea to suggest changes to your profile now. That way when it’s time to find every article you’ve published or check your h factor, you’re ready to go.

And, you can do it right from the databases

Here are instructions for cleaning up author records in Scopus:

1. In Scopus, click on the author search tab and search for yourself.


2. Identify your records. Place a checkmark next to each one. Then click on Request to merge authors.

3. Ensure these are the records you’d like to merge. Then click Start.


4. Select the name you would like to use as the primary name under which all documents will be listed. Then click next.


5. Review the documents listed. If you need to edit the list, click on Edit Documents.


6. Click on the red buttons to exclude articles or the green buttons to include articles. When you're finished click next.


7. Fill in your contact details and any information that may assist the Scopus folks in verifying your submission. Click Submit.


Voila! You’re finished. Pat yourself on the back. It takes about 6-8 weeks for changes to appear in the database.

New! Sciverse Scopus Database

ScreenHunter_01 Mar. 21 17.01 We're pleased to announce a new addition to our databases list: Sciverse Scopus. Scopus is a large interdisciplinary database that covers the gamut of scholarly publication. It also provides some nice tools to let you see which articles cite the paper that you are looking at, compare the prominence of different journals by looking at citation patterns, and calculate metrics like the h-index. Sounds a lot like Web of Science? Yes! You can do a lot of similar things with the two databases, though they have very different interfaces and search different content. For example:

The Web of Science record for the 1976 article by Raskin and Knittle entitled "Ice-cream headache and orthostatic symptoms in patients with migraine", from the journal Headache, shows that it has been cited by 44 other articles. Finding the record in Scopus for the same article shows only 28 citations. One reason: although you can find articles in Scopus from decades ago, citation information is only included from 1996 onwards. So Web of Science can tell you that N. Bird cited Raskin's article in 1992, but Scopus can't.

It's not only the different citation dates that are different between these two databases though: because they don't index all the same journals, you'll see differences in citation counts even in recent articles. For example, N.M. Pugno's 2007 Journal of Physics – Condensed Matter article, "Towards a Spiderman suit: large invisible cables and self-cleaning releasable superadhesive materials" shows more citations in Web of Science, while A. Taylor's 2006 Academy of Management Journal article "Superman or Fantastic Four? Knowledge and experience in innnovative teams" shows more citations in Scopus.

There are also some articles that you'll only find in one database or the other: only Web of Science can give you citation information for Hume, M (2005) "Unsinkable – Is Loretta Lynn country music's Scarlett O'Hara?" Journal of Country Music 24(2):16-23, while only Scopus can tell you about Ramakrishnan, PA (2004) "'Unsinkable' boat has foam centre" Reinforced Plastics 48(7).

The moral? Try both, and decide which you prefer. If you need citation information from before 1996, Web of Science is the way to go. If you don't, Scopus has an interface that many people find more intuitive, plus a very handy algorithm that helps with those difficult author searches (maybe another blog post on this later!). And, if you want to be as comprehensive as possible in creating a list of who's citing an article, use both, as they'll each give you slightly different results (I'd suggest adding Google Scholar to your search strategy as well!).

As with all our resources, please let us know if you have questions or comments. Happy searching!

Web of Science Classes

ScreenHunter_01 Nov. 16 14.32 Need to find Impact Factors, highly cited papers, or papers that aren't in PubMed? Web of Science is the place to go. It can be a fussy database to use though – not all of its features are obvious, and it asks for some pretty specific input formats. We're here to help! We've added a couple of Web of Science workshops to our classes schedule: the first one is tomorrow from 11:00 – 12:00 in the Library. You can register for it at

If you can't make the class, we also have a Web of Science tutorial that you can work through on your own, as well as quick guides to general searching and cited reference searching.

Impact Factors and more


The Impact Factor, a metric that the Institute for Scientific Information (now Thomson-Reuters) calculates for select journals based on numbers of recent citations to articles, is as important in modern academia as it is controversial. The Impact Factors of journals a researcher publishes in may be used, with varying degrees of weight, in decisions about promotions, tenure, green card applications and more. Critics argue that the metric can oversimplify the complexity of scholarly research and publishing and present a skewed view of what topics and journals are influential. ISI has recently provided some additions to Journal Citation Reports, the database used to find Impact Factors, to provide more information and context for the metric. New features allow the user to find a 5-year journal Impact Factor as well as the standard 2-year Impact Factor. The effects of self-citations can be seen by removing them from the calculation, and a box plot can be displayed indicating how a particular journal's Impact Factor stacks up against others in the same field. Also provided are Eigenfactor scores, a more complicated metric produced by researchers at the University of Washington. Go to Journal Citation Reports to see the new features, and take a look at some of the sources below if you're interested in learning more about the Impact Factor, the controversy, and other measures of scholarly influence.


Pendlebury, DA. The use and misuse of journal metrics and other citation indicators. Arch. Immunol. Ther. Exp. 2009;75:1-11. (PMID 19219526)

Garfield, E. The history and meaning of the journal impact factor. JAMA. 2006;295:90-93.

And more