Name: Policy mentions
Can apply to: Primarily research outputs such as journal articles and books
Metric definition: The number of times a research output has been cited in policy documents from government bodies or NGOs.
Metric calculation: The total count of citations to a research output in the policy sources being tracked by the metric provider. Each provider tracks differing manually-curated lists of policy bodies.
Data sources: Governmental and non-governmental policy documents
Appropriate use cases: Policy mentions can be used to demonstrate how research has influenced policy or the course of action in a particular field.
Limitations: Research and researchers may influence policy and decision making in indirect ways that are not always trackable via policy citations (Konkiel, 2016). One study found that “less than 0.5% of the papers published in different subject categories are mentioned at least once in policy-related documents” (Haunschild, 2016). In Altmetric, only those books, book chapters, and journal articles with DOIs can be tracked in policy. It is unknown if PlumX has similar restrictions.
Inappropriate use cases: Policy mentions should not be used as a direct measure of a research output’s effect on practice.
Transparency: In relevant providers, one can access the full-text of the policy mentions. However, all providers keep their full list of tracked policy sources private.
Timeframe: Altmetric has been tracking policy mentions since 2013. Plum Analytics reportedly began tracking policy mentions in 2016, though no publicly available documentation can confirm this.