Overton Blog

Interactive data lab: Mapping the people and citations in UK policy

Where in the UK is academic engagement with policy coming from?

Mark Geddes' excellent paper "Committee Hearings of the UK Parliament: Who gives evidence and does this matter?" (OA copy here) looks at who gives evidence to House of Commons committees and their geographic distribution based on a database of witnesses from the 2013-2014 parliamentary session.

It shows a clear preference for Russell Group universities (accounting for 75% of witnesses) and for universities based close to parliament, with 37% of academic witnesses coming from London and a further 22% from the south of England.

Might this hold true more broadly?

We have pulled together citation and people mention data from Overton in an interactive data lab that you can explore. You can use the tool to select different sources of UK policy and see where the academics being cited or mentioned by that source are located.

Some findings:

  • Research from universities in London appears more frequently than those from other regions, accounting for 26% of mentions and citations in UK policy sources
  • Russell Group universities account for 59% of mentions and citations in UK policy sources

Have a play with the data yourself and let us know what you find!

If you'd like to see the full Overton platform, we'd love to show you around – get in touch to set up a demo or request trial access.

What is Overton

We help universities, think tanks and publishers understand the reach and influence of their research.

The Overton platform contains is the world’s largest searchable policy database, with almost 5 million documents from 29k organisations.

We track everything from white papers to think tank policy briefs to national clinical guidelines, and automatically find the references to scholarly research, academics and other outputs.