Overton’s data in bullet points

Briefly covers Overton’s data and how it differs from other policy tracking systems

  • Overton is the world’s largest database of policy documents (documents written primarily for or by policymakers”) and the relationships between them.
  • We systematically add sources that meet our minimum criteria and in response to user requests. We try to collect data from as many countries as possible. Our coverage is much broader than other systems which is particularly useful when looking at subjects outside of health and economics.
  • We extract topics, subject areas, authors and other metadata from each document and categorize sources by type and country.
  • We extract references from policy documents and map them to other documents in the database, scholarly articles (not yet books, unless they have been assigned a DOI) and news outlets. 
  • Our reference extraction system was built from the ground up specifically to work with policy documents and picks up many more matches than similar systems without sacrificing precision.
  • Our affiliation data comes from Microsoft Academic by default *, and other scholarly metadata is collected from Crossref and DataCite. We don’t disambiguate authors, publishers or institutions beyond what is already done by those systems (we do disambiguate journals based on their ISSN).
  • We make our data available through our web application, data snapshots and an API.

* From Q4 2021 we’re gradually phasing out use of Microsoft Academic and instead fetching affiliation data from publisher websites, CrossRef and PubMed where available.

Updated on November 23, 2021

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