Overton Blog

New paper in Science uses Overton data to explore pandemic responses

The Covid-19 pandemic saw the global scientific community come together at unprecedented speed to respond to the evolving situation. For policymakers trying to make sense of the flurry of research outputs, it was a daunting prospect.

A team of researchers at Northwestern University, USA – Yian Yin, Jian Gao, Benjamin F. Jones and Dashun Wang – decided to explore how scientific research on Covid-19 was being used by policymakers, using Overton's global database of policy documents.

Their paper, called "Coevolution of policy and science during the pandemic", was just published in Science. Among the fascinating findings are that IGOs such as the World Health Organisation tended to cite scientific research directly, while national governments tended to cite IGO intermediaries like the WHO instead of the research itself.

We're really pleased to see Overton's data being used in research that is helping to improve the quality of policymaking, especially within a live and globally important policy area such as Covid-19. Congratulations to the team at Northwestern!

For more information about how Overton's database of policy documents and policy citations can be used in academic research, drop us a message.

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.