Volunteer recognition: Bernardo Batiz-Lazo

July 31, 2009

Bernardo Batiz-Lazo is a business historian with a deep interest in the dissemination of research. Quite naturally he became editor of NEP-HIS and quickly, in 2000, took the responsibility for the whole NEP project until 2007. He is still very much involved, still editing NEP-HIS, which is the mailing list with the most subscribers, at now over 5000. Occasionally, he has also edited other NEP reports on an interim basis.

Under Bernardo’s auspices, NEP grew tremendously. First, he made sure that every field of economics and some fields in business are covered by NEP. In principle now, every new working paper in RePEc should be picked up by at least one NEP report and announced by email and RSS. This required a substantial recruitment effort of new volunteer editors, complicated by the fact that new fields needed to be covered. Bernardo also worked hard to increase the subscriber base, not because it would increase revenue (there is none), but because of the network effects that make it more worthwhile to post papers on RePEc, and thus subscribe to NEP, etc.

While Bernardo retired from NEP leadership duties (taken over by Marco Novarese), he is still very active in the RePEc community, both in internal discussion and with NEP-HIS.


About RePEc impact factors

July 27, 2009

Impact factors have always been a popular way to measure the influence of academic journals. They have been popularized by ISI, now part of Thomson. RePEc also provides impact factors, and this post is about explaining the differences between the two.

ISI takes a sample of journals and analyzes the citations across those journals. To be eligible, a citations has to appear within two years of the publication of the cited article, the cited article must be printed (not forthcoming, a working paper or a manuscript), and the cited article must be among the analyzed journals (286 in Economics). ISI is currently experimenting with a five year window, in addition to the existing two-year window.

RePEc considers all publications listed in its bibliographic database. Thus, it also considers other publication forms than journal articles: close to 1000 journals and 2600 working paper series. It imposes no time window, citations of any age qualify. In most cases, a citation of a working paper will count towards its published form once the article is included in RePEc, possibly after the original citation (condition: at least one author has both versions in his/her RePEc profile). This implies that working paper series and book series can also have impact factors. RePEc is thus more comprehensive.

However, the pool of citations RePEc is drawing from is different. It relies very much on working papers (who can later be published), as they are typically openly accessible. Some publishers also provide references in the bibliographic metadata, but not all. One implication of this is that RePEc is more current as it includes citations to and from research that is not yet published. As research gets published, this data gets updated. But as references from many journals are missing, RePEc citation data must still be treated as experimental. Whether these omissions matter remain to be seen. After all, impact factors always have to be considered in relative terms, not in absolute terms, and if omissions were not biased, they would not matter.

Another major difference is that RePEc excludes self-citations. This is an important issue as some journals, explicitly or implicitly, encourage authors to cite other articles published within the two year window in the same journal. Thus, just as self-citations are excluded for authors, they are excluded for journals. And this can matter a lot.

Finally, the impact factor is determined by divided the eligible citations by the number of eligible articles. ISI determines itself what articles are eligible for the denominator, and this can even be negotiated with the publisher. In RePEc’s case, if an article (or a working paper) is listed, it counts without adjustment.

RePEc also publishes variations on the “simple” impact factor: recursive impact factors, where every citation counts with the impact factor of the citing publication, this favors impact over numbers; discounted impact factors, where the impact of a citation decays with time (regardless of the age of the cited item; and a combination of the two, discounted recursive impact factors. Finally, there is now also the h-index. All variations have a different story to tell about the publication, and RePEc offers the reader the choice.


Moving time is time to update RePEc data

July 19, 2009

Summer is when most academics move to new affiliations or responsibilities. It is thus a good time to detail what needs to be done for RePEc data to remain accurate. There are close to 30’000 contact details listed in RePEc, yet only 466 have expired email addresses. You can help keeping this list short.

Registered authors

If your email address changes, log in at the RePEc Author Service with your old address, then click on “Contact details” to amend your email address and any other contact details. Note: do not create a new account with your new email address. This would create a duplicate, and then links to and from your profile would disappear once the old account is deleted. Remember also to amend your affiliation(s) if necessary.

Note that starting next month, authors with obsolete email addresses will not count towards their affiliation’s ranking. This is under the assumption that if the email address is not valid anymore, it must be because they have moved.

RePEc archive and series maintainers

If your email address is changing, or if there is a new person in charge, amend your series and/or archive templates. These are the *seri.rdf and *arch.rdf files in the root of your archive. There is no need to email us, as we extract from your templates the addresses for the monthly emails. However, if your RePEc archive moves to a new location, we obviously need to know about it.

Editors

Editor data is provided at two locations: by the RePEc Author Service and by the relevant publishers. In the first case, an email address change is handled as for a registered author. If you are not an editor anymore (and your editorship is listed in your RePEc profile), you can remove this by logging in at the RePEc Author Service: click on “Research” then “identified”, check your old journal, and approve the removal. To add a journal you now edit to your RePEc profile, either look at the suggested research items (if your publisher put in your name in the RePEc data), or do a manual search with the journal title.

Your publisher may also provide directly your name and your email address to RePEc. Your can see this on the listing of your journal on EconPapers or IDEAS. There you see also a technical contact. This is where you need to email to request a change in the listing.


RePEc in June 2009

July 10, 2009

What’s up at RePEc? We are happy to see an ever increasing popularity of our services, which has manifested itself last month with a record number of newly participating archives, 26, or one every working day: Univesidad de San Andres, Universität Marburg (II), Intervention, University of Florence (II), Bucharest University of Economics (III), University of Warsaw, Lucian Blaga University, University of Queensland (II), Universidade Federal de Goias, Banque de France, National Bank of Poland, Griffith University, University of Malaya, Associazione Rossi Doria, Superintendencia de Valores y Seguros, Basque Institute of Competitiveness, Bancaria, Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, University of Buckingham Press, Sacred Heart University, Cahiers d’Économie Politique, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, University of California Riverside, Osaka University, Asociación Española de Historia Económica, Red Iberoamericana de Economía Ecológica.

In terms of traffice, we counted 725,569 file downloads and 2,588,500 abstract views. This allowed us to break the mark of 40 million downloads since we started counting this. As usual, many details are available at LogEc.

In terms of thresholds, we are proud to announce the following for June 2009:

60,000,000 article abstract views
40,000,000 downloads
15,000,000 article downloads
650,000 items available online
450,000 listed journal articles
250,000 book chapter downloads
10,000 listed book chapters
10,000 online book chapters


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