Citation lags for articles referenced in public policy documents: an exploratory study
Presented at the ASIS&T SIG/MET 2015 workshop in St. Louis, MO, USA on 7 November 2015.
Though altmetrics are commonly thought of as capturing the attention that research receives on social media (Priem, Taraborelli, Groth, & Neylon, 2010), metrics like citations to research in public policy documents are increasingly being used to understand the influence that research is having upon the public sector. Altmetric Explorer is currently the only altmetrics aggregator that tracks this information, using text mining to search the policy documents of international government agencies, NGOs, and other influential policymakers to extract citations. Currently, it is unclear how long it takes for a research article to be cited in public policy documents after the article has been published.
This exploratory study set out to determine the citation lag for articles indexed in Altmetric Explorer that have been cited at least once in public policy documents. Articles identified as having a large volume of online attention are compared to a random sample of articles to understand if articles with greater overall exposure might be cited any earlier than other articles. Other altmetrics like Mendeley reader counts and mainstream media mentions are also compared across the two groups of articles, to discover differences in types of attention both groups might receive.