Openness of Economic Data and Code

August 9, 2013

The publication of an article or a working paper is only part of the scientific process. Scrutiny by the scientific community during the peer-review process and later through replication attempts and extensions of the original work should be part of it. Unfortunately, very little of that is happening in economics. Indeed, a significant hurdle is that very often the computer code and/or the data used for the analysis are not disseminated. While some journals now make this a requirement for publication, there is otherwise very little incentive for researchers to make this available. In part, this is also a question of culture, as we are not used to cite datasets, for example, and prefer to acknowledge their use in a footnote.

To change this culture and push for making code and data more readily available, the Open Knowledge Foundation and put together a set of Principles on Open Economics. Read them and sign on if you think you are willing to endorse them.

On the RePEc front, we are working to get datasets indexed as well. If interested in participating in this, contact me.

RePEc in July 2013

August 4, 2013

Some news from NEP: There is a new report, NEP-NPS (Nonprofit and Public Sectors), and a new NEP blog, NEP-ARA (Economics of the Arab World). The NEREUS project announced that is will be closing the Economists Online RePEc service at the end of the year. There are a few newly participating RePEc archives: ToKnowPress, Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Universitatea Creştină “Dimitrie Cantemir”, Oklahoma State University, Akadémiai Kiadó, Sciences Po. But despite this small crop, a lot of new material was added to RePEc, 6600 papers and 10500 articles. We counted 470,265 file downloads and 1,939,170 abstract views last month.

The thresholds we reached:
5000000 matched citations
300000 cited articles
3000 indexed software components
400 RePEc-wide H-index

RePEc in June 2013

July 3, 2013

What is new this month? We introduce two new ranking criteria, breadth of citations for registered authors and strength of students for authors, institutions, and regions. The latter ranking for institutions comes to an evaluation of graduate programs and is based on information provided by users to the RePEc Genealogy.

We welcomed a series of new RePEc archives: Society for the Study of Business and Finance, Xiamen University, University of Belgrade, American University of Sharjah, National School of Political and Administrative Studies, Serbian Association of Economists, Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, University fo Amsterdam (III), Lifescience Global, IPAG Business School, Istanbul Bilgi University. We counted 500,656 file downloads and 1,942,807 abstract views. And we passed the following thresholds:

2500000 cumulative abstract views for book chapters
1400000 listed works
250000 JEL-coded working papers
7000 books available online
1000 contributors to the RePEc Genealogy

Little known RePEc features

June 29, 2013

Since 1997, RePEc services have found various ways of disseminating the bibliographic metadata collected with the RePEc projects. As the data and the types of data have expanded over the years, services were able to add more and more features, some of which are not well known. The purpose of this post is to highlight some of them. A broad introduction to RePEc services was recently posted here.

When a bibliographic item or an author is mentioned on Wikipedia with a link to a RePEc service, a link to the Wikpedia article in provided on the relevant IDEAS page.

The same applies to blog posts that have been identified through the blog aggregator for economic research.

A large number of viewership statistics are available at LogEc. This includes statistics for individual papers and articles, authors, series and journals. For the latter, this includes total readership as well as most popular items within a series or journal. For authors, one can also find the most read authors by country.

All RePEc services offer search functions, But if you do not know what to look for, you can look at a random item.

Publishers provide all bibliographic metadata to RePEc. Sometimes, their data contains errors that prevents the publications to be indexed appropriately, if at all. This can be checked here.

On IDEAS, one can export bibliographic information in various formats for various lists: publications of an author, references of an item, citations of an item, and citations of an author.

It possible to track additions to author profiles, JEL code, series, and journals with MyIDEAS.

MyIDEAS also allows users to flag items they run across IDEAS and keep them in their account. They can then be annotated, sorted into folders and exported in various bibliographic formats.

There is a Facebook plug-in that allows you to display you last three publications. Install it from here. Update: I am told this functionality cannot be obtained on Facebook anymore.

One can obtain a compilation of the publications of all members of an institution. Find th link on the institution’s page at EDIRC, where there is also a link to the publication list of the institution’s alumni, if applicable.

You can also create a list of publications for a custom group of people. See the current lists or create your own here.

If you want to make public a reading list for a topic or a course syllabus, you can create this here.

A few editors have started to determine the most important works in their research area. See RePEc Biblio, where you can volunteer to contribute, too.

Economists are very interconnected through co-authorship. You can explore this co-authorship network at CollEc, where you can also find how far removed from each other any two economists are (“degrees of separation”).

An important part of RePEc is citation analysis. Unfortunately, this fails for some documents, either for technical reasons or because publishers do not furnish relevant data. One can help our citation project CitEc through this form.

RePEc tries to match different versions of the same work. The conditions are that 1) at least one co-authors has all versions in her RePEc profile, and 2) the titles are very similar. When the process fails, for example when the titles are different, users can help through this form

Matching citations to items listed in RePEc is a very complex process, for example because there are many citation formats and because authors do make mistakes in the references. When matches are too uncertain, authors can help. They should click on the “citation” link in their RePEc Author Service profile and accept or reject proposed matches.

A new project tracks where and when an economist got his final degree, and who his advisor was. The data collection is crowd-sourced, so you can participate in the data collection here as well. See the RePEc Genealogy. Collected data will soon be used to evaluate graduate programs.

Unfortunately, we have cases of plagiarism. When relevant authorities do not deal with such cases, afflicted authors can turn to the RePEc Plagiarism Committee, which evaluates cases and possibly names and shames them.

And finally, for economics departments and publishers that do not yet participate and index their publications in RePEc, instructions are available.

RePEc in May 2013

June 3, 2013

Following a recent poll, RePEc will be introducing two new rankings: one that measures the breadth of the citations to his work, and the other measuring the strength of an advisor’s students, and the same for economics departments. The latter indicators will be drawn from the data collected by the RePEc Genealogy, and users are invited to contributed to this crowd-sourced initiative to make it more comprehensive before the first release of the rankings.

Newly participating archives are: Higher School of Economics (II), University of Finance and Administration (Prague), Constantin Brancoveanu University, University of Tehran, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Institute for New Economic Thinking, Ursinus College, Carocci Editore, Freie Universität Bozen, Masaryk University. Traffic is lsowly sliding in the usual Summer lull, with 603,305 file downloads and 2,479,017 abstract views in May. This adds up to over 40 millions paper downloads since we started counting, although this does not cover all sites that use RePEc data.

We traditionally conclude by reporting some statistical thresholds we surpassed over the last month. Here they are for May 2013:

40000000 cumulative paper downloads
2500000 cumulative book abstract views
1250000 indexed items available online
500 graduate departments listed in RePEc Genealogy

RePEc in April 2013

May 3, 2013

The statistic of the month is that over half a million items in RePEc are cited at least once, according to the CitEc citation analysis project. Speaking of citations, some changes to the way RePEc rankings are performed are currently up for vote, and a new ranking of economists by cohorts has been released. The latter exploits graduation data collected in the RePEc Genealogy. As for traffic, it was good, with 657,370 file downloads and 3,138,554 abstract views during last month.

An unusually large cohort of new archives joined us last month: World Intellectual Property Organization, IPEA (II), University of Windsor, Hyperion University, Warsaw School of Economics (II), INRA (VIII), Kharkiv National University of Economics, University of Sakarya, Institute for Social and Economic Change, University of Barcelona (III), ESADE Business School, KASBIT, Institut Ekonomskih Nauka, Centre of Excellence for Scientific and Research Journalism, Université d’Evry Val d’Essonne.

And the thresholds we passed were:

12000000 references extracted
3000000 downloads through NEP
500000 cited documents
40000 issued NEP reports
1000 books with extracted references
250 book series

Proposed changes to RePEc rankings up for vote

April 29, 2013

The RePEc rankings are a popular feature of RePEc. As we gather more information about the profession, we can also refine the criteria that are used for those rankings, as well as add more of them. With this post, we seek from our users their opinion about a few potential changes. For each proposed change a poll is attached, which we hope will help in deciding what to do.

Regarding citation counts

Citation counts are the basis for a series of criteria used in ranking authors and departments. Our citation project, CitEc, uses references from open access material, or those offered directly by publishers in their metadata, or from user contributions. But citations may also appear elsewhere and count be counted. One source is Wikipedia, which has a little less than 3000 references pointing to items in RePEc. Another is the RePEc Biblio, a curated bibliography of the most relevant research in an increasing number of topics (1100 references, but it is just starting). And a third one are blog post indexed on, the blog aggregator focusing on economic research (8000 blog mentions so far). The question here is whether references listed on Wikipedia, the RePEc Biblio or should count as citations for ranking purposes. All these citations are already listed on the relevant IDEAS pages, but they have so far not counted towards any statistic. As usual, self-citations would not count, as much as possible. For this poll, we want to distinguish whether they should count for the ranking of economists and institutions on the one hand, and journals and series impact factors on the other hand, or both.

Regarding breadth of citations

Citation clubs bias how we try to measure the impact of someone’s research. We have already some criteria that try to measure the breadth of one citations, the number of citing authors, and the same weighted by the citing author’s rank. Another way to measure breadth is to measure how widely an author has been cited across fields. For this, we can measure in how many NEP fields an author is cited. To this effect, the analysis is of course limited to working papers that have been disseminated through NEP, which has currently 92 fields. Again, self-citations are excluded, and this new criterion would only apply to author rankings.

Doctoral advisors and programs

The RePEc Genealogy is a crowd-sourced project that gathers informations about who studied under whom, where and when. From this information, one could determine who is the best dissertation advisor and which doctoral programs are the strongest. Some preliminary rankings are already available in this regard, based on the data that has been gathered so far: 1869 advisors and 499 programs at the time of this writing. It is expected that these numbers would significantly increase once a ranking would be incorporated. Instead of the h-index currently computed, it would be calculated in the same way that institutional rankings are determined: by adding up the scores of the relevant student for each criterion, and ranking within each criterion and then aggregating criterion ranks. As one can expect that only a fraction of authors and institutions can be ranked this way, all the others would be ranked right after the last author or institution with a student. It is to be expected that this ranking would matter mostly for the top ranked authors and institutions. Note that a ranking of economists by graduating cohorts is going to be first released in early May.

Exclusion of extremes

For author and institution rankings, the various criteria are aggregated after excluding the best and worst criterion. This was introduced when there were about 25 criteria. Now, there are 33 for authors and 31 for institutions. Depending on the outcomes of the votes above, there may be even more. Thus one may want to exclude even more extreme scores to avoid taking outliers into account. How many extremes should be excluded on each end? The status quo is one.

Questions or concerns?

Feel free to post a comment below!

RePEc in March 2013

April 4, 2013

What is new this month? Nothing much to report, for once, except that as MyIDEAS usage is expanding, we are now going to alert series and journal maintainers, editors and authors about how many people are following them. But as promised, we will not be revealing who it is. And, of course, we started fantasy leagues.

During the month, we counted 668,431 file downloads and 3,065,876 abstract views. Almost 500 authors registered, proving that there is still a large potential for growth in the RePEc Author Service. And we welcomed the following new archives: Institute of Accounting and Finance Kiev, Grantham Research Institute, Akroasis, Valahia University, Harvard University Press, Kobe University (II), Universidad de Guadalajara, University of Primorska, Ecological University of Bucharest, Duke University (II), Masaryk University, School of Oriental and African Studies, Gdansk University of Technology.

Finally, we reached the follow thresholds:
1000000 cumulative abstract views through Socionet
150000 cumulative downloads through Socionet
15000 listed books
6000 listed online books

Introducing the RePEc fantasy league

April 1, 2013

Fantasy (or rotisserie) leagues allow player to manage team members from a real-life competition to compose optimal teams. Fantasy leagues organize their own competitions and are popular in a variety of sports throughout the world. RePEc now has its own fantasy leagues, which allow players to manage economics departments. Specifically, there are two leagues.

Scratch league

Department owners in this league pick faculty members from the pool of authors registered in the RePEc Author Service and create departments from scratch. They need to keep a topical balance and all start with the same budget. Simulated departments are evaluated using the same criteria that underly the ranking of real life institutions.

Extant league

Here, department owners start from an existing department and then trade its faculty to improve it. Simulated departments are evaluated by comparing them to the existing ones they started from. Only economics departments are available for this league.


Both leagues work with separate markets for economists. Initial prices are based on current ranking scores of the registered economists. All currently registered economists are part of this market, and one can ask to be excluded from this market after log in.


Rules follow standard fantasy league rules. A few specificities for economists:

  • Departments in the scratch league require that economists work in a balanced set of fields. These are based on which topical NEP mailing lists disseminated their working papers.
  • One cannot short an economist.
  • Newly registered economists are added to the pool with an initial price corresponding to their ranking after the release of new monthly rankings (between the thrid and fifth day of the month.
  • Fantasy league rankings are not public.
  • A department owner cannot add him/herself to a department. If member of the original department in the extant league, he/she has to immediately trade him/herself.
  • One can play at most one department in each league.
  • Legues do not follow a seasonal schedule, they are continuously open.
  • Rules may be adjusted if the need arises.


A compendium of RePEc services

March 12, 2013

Since its formal founding 16 years ago, RePEc has grown into a large collection of various services. Users are aware of some, but not all of them. This is an attempt to collect all services that use RePEc data. RePEc is in fact just a way of organizing and collection bibliographic data in economics. Publishers index their works and put it in the public domain through RePEc. Service then use this data in various ways, in part by enhancing it. All linked services are completely free to users and managed by volunteers.

Browsing and searching the database

These are the most basic functions you would want to do with a bibliographic database. Several services provide this. The most popular are IDEAS and EconPapers. Others include Economists Online and Socionet. What distinguishes these services is that they report usage statistics (see below). Yet others that use RePEc include: EconLit, EconStor, Google Scholar, Inomics, Microsoft Academic Search, OAISter/WORLDCAT, Scirus and Sciverse. Shop around and use the one that is the most to your liking!

Curated material

While most the services above provide the complete RePEc bibliographic data, it is the user who has to sift through the material to find what she needs. A few services act as facilitators by helping users with the help of editors who sort and curate the material. NEP disseminates through email and RSS feeds the latest working papers across over 90 fields. The new RePEc Biblio determines the 10-20 most relevant papers in a growing number of fields and sub-fields. identifies economic research currently being discussed in blogs.

Specifically for authors

Some services are especially geared towards authors. The RePEc Author Service allows them to create a portfolio of all the works listed in RePEc. Other services then can link from the works to the profiles, and authors can get statistics and new citation notifications. CollEc analyses co-authorship networks and allows, for example, to find how many steps removed from each other any two authors are. The RePEc Genealogy allows to see who graduated where and when and who was the advisor. Finally, the RePEc Plagiarism Committee handles potential plagiarism cases and votes on them, in particular whether to name and shame offending authors.


Several RePEc services report traffic on their website, which allows to compute a host of statistics, which are displayed at LogEc. Those, along with citation numbers, allow to compute a large number of rankings of authors, institutions, and papers, including impact factors for serials.

And more

As already mentioned, there is a citation analysis project, CitEc, which uses complex algorithms to extracts references from pdf files and match them with RePEc content.

MyIDEAS allows a user to track other authors, JEL codes, journals or working papers series, as well as build a personal bibliography while browsing on IDEAS. The Socionet Personal Zone also provides some of these functionalities.

EDIRC is a directory of economics institutions with plenty of links to affiliated authors and alumni, as well as compilations of their publications.

Finally, for those authors who do not have the benefit of their local institution participating in RePEc with its publications (see instructions), the Munich Personal RePEc Archive (MPRA) allows them to upload their papers to be included in RePEc.


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