Important upgrade for the RePEc Author Service

February 28, 2012

The RePEc Author Service just underwent a major upgrade. One important aspect of it is the treatment of multiple affiliations. There are also other changes of a more cosmetic nature that should help users avoid some common mistakes as well as some administrative and management improvements that a typical user would not notice.

Multiple affiliations

The most requested change was to allow authors with multiple affiliations to either select an order of importance for the affiliations or to select weights for each. This has become important for the rankings, as authors are allocated to their respective affiliations. Some weighting scheme had to be put in place, and the one in place so far was guessing the probability that a particular affiliation is the main one. The risk of error is of course large. With the revision, authors now have to chose the proper weights themselves. This now applies to any authors changing affiliations, and any new registrant. Anybody getting on the affiliation page also has to choose weights. These weights will be enforced for the March 2012 rankings released in early April 2012. Note that weights are public information.

Clearer claim choices

This change has actually been in place for a few weeks. When authors were offered choices of research items to claim as theirs, quite a few got confused and did the exact opposite of what they wanted to do: claim works of others and refuse their own. The form is now much clearer, with green and red backgrounds for the choices. Our observation so far has been that the error rate has been dramatically reduced.

Better action alerts

When an author logs in, he/she will immediately see whether research items or citations are waiting to be claimed. Bright red numbers are then present next to the relevant links. This features will gradually roll in as author accounts are refreshed.

Avoid duplicate entries

Upon registration, there is now a check to avoid someone to register again. Indeed, when moving or changing email address, it is much better to update an existing account than create a second, none the least because this preserves links throughout the RePEc system. Of course, it is still possible that a homonym is registering, so the check can be bypassed.

Name variations

Research items are linked to authors using the name variations they supply. During registration, the system makes suggestions that a registrant can amend (for example: Adam Smith; Smith, Adam; A. Smith; Smith A.). Unfortunately, it was noticed that a not insignificant share of users was deleting valid name variations, in particular to keep just one. The system was then unable to link them with appropriate results. It is now impossible for a new registrant to have less than four name variations.

Better treatment of deceased authors

Unfortunately, some authors pass away, and by now the list has become significant. Instead of leaving those accounts orphaned, they are now aggregated into a master account that can manage them. Indeed, a deceased author may still have new works added to RePEc, and have new citations discovered. Such an account continues to provide useful information and should not be deleted. By the way, this is an opportunity for volunteer to get involved in helping RePEc.

Better monitoring

There is now also better monitoring of the activity on the RePEc Author Service to prevent abuse and errors. This also releases more time for the administrator to deal with other tasks.

Problems?

Should anything appear amiss, do not hesitate to contact the administrator listed on the RePEc Author Service website.

PS: Secure HTTP

The site is now also served under secure http (https), to increase the security of transactions.


New IDEAS layout rolled out

February 16, 2012

One of the main RePEc services, IDEAS, inaugurates today a new layout. The old layout was about a dozen years old and suffered from clutter, given all the new features that were gradually added to the site (and more coming). It is also designed to facilitate navigation, especially for the newcomer who may not be familiar with all the functionalities. Finally, we hope it will direct requests for corrections to the relevant people. There have also been some improvements in the invisible part of the site to make able to accommodate even more material.

As the site contains about 1.4 million pages, it is sure that there are going to be some imperfections. If you notice anything, let me know!

And another service, EDIRC, a directory of Economics institutions, is getting a new layout as well.


RePEc in January 2012

February 3, 2012

We made much progress in RePEc, at least contentwise. There are now over 5000 series covered in RePEc, among them 3300 working paper series and 1400 journals. We welcome a series of new participating archives: University of Otago, Rosenberg e Sellier Editori, Universität Mannheim, Hacettepe University, Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel, Centre for European Policy Studies, Versita, and Universidade Técnica de Lisboa. We counted 599,360 file downloads and 2,026,510 abstract views during the month. For articles, this pushed us over 25 million downloads. There is a new NEP report on Transport Economics. And we reached the following benchmarks:

25000000 cumulative article downloads
700000 items with abstracts
700000 items listed in author profiles
300000 items with references
15000 listed book chapters
5000 listed series


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