Has your work been referenced in public policy?
Whenever we talk to people about altmetrics, we explain how the attention data we collect may be able to help identify non-traditional forms of impact. So rather than only relying on citation counts and other traditional bibliometrics, we’re also interested in finding about the impact of research in society at large.
As you might have already learned from our June press release announcing the launch of Altmetric for Institutions, we recently started tracking some highly impactful new sources of attention: policy and guidance documents. Specifically, we are now looking for references made to research papers within these documents. We’re really proud of this addition, (represented by a violet stripe in the donut) as policy documents are arguably some of the most important sources we’ve ever tracked.
How does our policy tracking work?
Policy documents are often published in PDF format. Sometimes these documents will have reference sections, which list all the articles, books, and other publications that have been cited in the text. We begin by automatically processing each PDF document, pulling out plain text and searching for possible references to scholarly articles, line-by-line. Afterwards, the references are checked in PubMed and CrossRef databases to determine whether or not they unambiguously refer to actual scholarly articles. Once a match is made, the policy document is added to that article’s details page.
Which policy documents are being tracked?
Since each website that hosts policy documents is different, we actually have to write a custom crawler for each individual policy document site. (Policy documents are not stored in the same way from source to source, and can’t be retrieved from an API, hence the need for a custom solution for each site.)
We’re aiming to track over 40 policy sites by the end of 2014. Currently, some sources that you might see on Altmetric article details pages include, but are not limited to:
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- National Institute for Care and Health Excellence (UK)
- World Health Organization
- Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)
- AWMF – Association of Scientific Medical Societies (Germany)
- European Food Safety Authority
- International Committee of the Red Cross
Have any policy sources to suggest?
Of course, our target list of policy sources is by no means complete! We’re always looking for further suggestions to improve the source so if you think there’s a particular organisation that has policy documents we should be tracking, please send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know. We’d be happy to send you some Altmetric goodies as a thank you!