Why are some authors not appearing in the People tab?

If a name doesn’t return any matches or fewer citations than expected in the People tab there may still be other information about that author’s works in the database

Data based on citations gets into the People tab after a two-step process:

  1. We extract scholarly references from policy documents and map them to DOIs
  2. We find affiliation data for those DOIs from the OpenAlex bibliographic database

For a person or article to appear in the People tab both steps must be completed successfully and return data.

This happens for the large majority of – but not all – authors and articles.

However, if an author’s work appears in the database but we weren’t able to find affiliation data for it then it won’t be associated with that author’s name in the People tab. In the worst case none of the author’s works will have affiliation data, and their name may not appear at all.


Unfortunately we might miss some references, or be unable to match them to a DOI: you can read more about this on the How are scholarly references matched in policy documents? page. In particular books aren’t always matched, as they often lack DOIs – this is something we’re working on.

Furthermore, it’s hard to get affiliation data for some papers. You can read more on the How does Overton know about author affiliations? page. As a rule of thumb around 80% of the papers cited in policy have affiliation data associated with them, but this is unevenly distributed with larger publishers & journals tending to have higher %ages and smaller publishers and societies having lower %ages.

What can I do instead?

The gold standard way to find information about a set of articles in Overton is to use the “Search by DOI, ORCID, PMID or ISBN” button on the Scholarly Articles tab.

To get a more complete picture of a researcher’s policy footprint we’d suggest combining two searches:

  • First, get a list of the researcher’s articles as DOIs and run them through the “Search by DOI [..]” button. This will show you all of their articles that have been cited in policy at least once, and allow you to view the citing policy documents, create a report, export to Excel and so on
  • Secondly, search for the researcher’s name being as broad as possible (use initials instead of full first names). A search for “A Smith” will match “Alison Smith” and “Alison B Smith”. For more detailed tips see Searching names in Overton
  • If necessary, filter the researcher names that come back using the “With Affiliation” filter in the sidebar of the People tab, so that you’re only viewing researchers with that name from your own institution
  • Use the “Only people mentioned” filter in the sidebar to ignore citations to articles – which you already have from the first bullet point, above – and see just where that researcher has been mentioned by name in policy documents

Longer term fixes

If your institution has a well supported CRIS or institutional repository we may be able to pull in affiliation data from there to supplement and/or replace the data we get from OpenAlex. Please contact your account manager for more details.

Updated on February 7, 2024

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