Policy Commons, a new product from Coherent Digital, offers access to a wide array of policy documents from leading policy experts including NGOs, IGOs, think tanks, government agencies, and educational institutions. Policy Commons reports that greater than 95% of their content is available via open access, with over 20 million pages available for free in the public domain. While that content remains available to all through Policy Common’s “freemium” model, subscribing users gain unlimited access to Policy Common’s directory, 500,000 pages of premium licensed material, and 725,000 pages of rescued content from inactive organizations.
According to its website, Policy Commons focuses on retrieving “orphan content” from old web pages and media to collect and preserve this information that otherwise might be lost. Also, through editorial curation of its organization directory, the site excludes sources that are low quality or purveyors of “fake news” items. This collection will likely appeal to policy researchers, instructors, and college students looking for content that may be difficult to access otherwise (Beach 2021).
With over 2 million titles from 10K+ organizations, Policy Commons’ documents range over 3,400 indexed topics, including many timely and relevant topics such as Black Lives Matter, COVID-19, climate change, Brexit, and gender equality, to name a few. The collection contains various document types. Among the most common are reports, articles, and books; however, maps, brochures, data sets, and other publication types appear in the collection as well.
According to Coherent Digital, the bulk of the collection is from 1947 to the present, with most material (835K+ publications) between 2016 and 2021. The collection is international, containing content from 150 countries. While the collection’s primary language is English, followed by Spanish and French, its documents include109 languages. That number is expected to increase as the collection grows.
Policy Common regularly searches institutions’ websites for new content and makes daily updates to the collection. Also, Policy Common allows users to interact with and help develop the collection by uploading content to its site. In addition, Policy Commons reports that members can work with its editors to direct the harvester to retrieve content from specific target organizations or sources. At this point, the collection is ongoing and there is no end date for acquiring new content.