Find answers to Overton’s frequently asked questions

Access to Overton



Is ‘Registry Org Registry’ (RoR) used for institutional data?
Yes, but not for everything. We get our affiliation data from Open Alex and Open Alex uses RoR. 
Before Open Alex, we were using MS Academic which used GRiD. We are still in the process of switching our code.

So yes, we do use RoR but some of our code (especially around finding people mentions in text) is older than Open Alex and therefore it still uses GRiD.

Learn more https://help.overton.io/article/how-does-overton-know-about-author-affiliations/


Can I export more than 1K in Excel?
Unfortunately, not. We really do exports of more than 1k records with Excel as it is a limitation within the system. 

If you are exporting policy document results, an alternative would be to use the CSV option instead which will give you more rows of data. The data, however, will not be as rich as in an Excel export.


Can multiple options be selected in an individual filter?

Unfortunately no.

In terms of filtering by source we’ve got a limitation at the moment – you can only select one option per filter at a given time. The exception to this is the “Documents” filter the “Search Policy Documents” We’re actively working on allowing multiple selections but it’s not ready yet.

Policy Documents

Why can I see a different publication date for a policy document result than what is on the website where it is from?
In progress
Where does a policy document abstract come from?
Most of the time we get an abstract for a policy document from the metadata tags for the document.

Sometimes this data isn’t available. In these cases, we will check the webpage where the document is from and see if there is an abstract available. If there is no abstract on the webpage, the policy document record in Overton will not have an abstract.



What happens if a policy document has been taken down by the policy source?
With very few exceptions all of the policy documents we index in Overton are freely available online – we think it’s important that users are able to audit any results they find using the platform.

Overton provides links to the webpages where we pick up policy documents from so that users can access the full-text of the policy documents they are interested in. Over time, there is the possibility that some policy documents may be removed from the website where we found them or the link becomes inactive. In the event a policy document is no longer available online, the citations and mentions found in that document will still appear in your search results.

Overton keeps a copy of the document’s metadata so it will continue to accrue citations and provide citation matches.While we do fetch PDFs as part of our metadata collection process, we generally cannot share these or full text with users without permission from the original source.

How do I know when a source has been updated?
Most sources are updated weekly however we do have some sources which are complicated ‘pulls’ – these sources are updated monthly. 

To check when a sources has been updated, go to the “Search Policy Documents” tab and use the “from Source” filter to select the source you want to check. The publication date of the policy documents will be underneath the title.

To check a specific date range, after applying the “From Source” filter, find and apply the “Added after” and the “Added before” filters.
What kind of sources are categorised as “think tank”?
“Think tank” is a catchall category including charities and aid organisations. 
We are looking at overhauling our policy source taxonomy to something more granular in the near future.
Does Overton distinguish between geographically locations of the same organisation?
Organisations that have geographically diverse departments or offices will appear as one organisation within Overton. This is because we pull organisational affiliation data from OpenAlex. OpenAlex does not differentiate by country offices or departments within an institution. 

If you need to search for articles from your specific department or location, your best chance of success is to search using a list of publication DOIs. To learn more, see this article.