To understand how translational science efforts lead to outcomes, it is common to examine publications as a key step in the translational process. The National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program aims to accelerate that process by providing support to investigators. Although it is challenging to measure the impact of such support on translational outcomes, CTSA-supported research that arises in research publications can advance translation through use of these publication in public policy and guideline documents from government health agencies, intergovernmental organizations, and other outlets. Using cutting-edge bibliometric tools, the authors evaluated how CTSA-supported research has extended its impact beyond academic silos to influence public policy literature. The authors identified approximately 118,490 publications that acknowledged receiving support from a CTSA hub, from the inception of the program in 2006 through 2021. Articles were queried in the Overton policy database, which indexes references to publications in global policy literature. The search revealed 13% of CTSA-supported articles were referenced in policy documents, significantly more than the expected proportion (10%) calculated by Overton. References came from 576 policy source outlets across 87 countries, predominantly the United States and Europe. The most frequent sources included guidelines in PubMed Central, the World Health Organization, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The authors illustrate the bridge from translational research to public policy with case studies of 6 articles based on CTSA-supported research and having notable policy impact. They found articles with greater clinical relevance, altmetric attention (i.e., nonacademic community/public attention), and academic citation influence were more likely to be referenced in policy literature. Study findings help to characterize the kinds of research that have influenced and may be expected to influence health policy in the future.
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