New linkages with RePEc

October 23, 2014

In my previous post, I have alluded to the fact that the value of RePEc comes from linkages between identified elements. In the next post, I will set out a working example of linkage usage in the CollEc project. In this post, I’m discussing a direction for future work. It’s about creating new linkage type. Much of this is already implemented at SocioNet. SocioNet is a RePEc service that originated in Russia in the 1990s. They hold RePEc data and combine it with local data.

Recently, login data from the RePEc Author Service has become available to other RePEc service via a protocol known as openID. Soon RAS-registered users will be able to login to SocioNet without having to create a SocioNet account, just simply by using their RAS account. SocioNet then knows that you are an identified author. When you are logged into SocioNet in this way, SocioNet knows that you have written a bunch of papers, that I will now call “your papers”. Based on the knowledge of your authorship, it can assume that you know your work and the surrounding literature. It can give you get a personalized web interface based on RAS data. In that interface you will be able to conveniently supply further details about your work.

First, SocioNet can enquire about the role of your collaborators in a given research paper. In conventional abstracting and indexing data, all contributors to a paper are placed into a list of authors. But usually, the co-authors each have different roles in the papers writing process. You can indicate the roles using a simple controlled vocabulary.

Second, using SocioNet you will be able to provide linkages between papers. One of the linked papers has to be yours. The other paper may be yours, but it may not be.

Let’s look at cases where you wrote both papers that you want to link. One thing you may want to tell users is how papers relate to each other. So you can say that one paper is an abridged version of the other, that a third paper is a development of the fourth. Eventually, such relationships could be picked up by RePEc services to create commented links between your papers. This is particularly useful if you have a version of a paper you don’t like any more. You can point users to a better version of the paper.

When you only wrote one of the papers, the other paper has to be on the reference list of one of your papers. In that case you can bring in a vocabulary containing terms like “develops model from”, or “uses software from” or “uses data from”. There are two aspects to these document to document relations.

One is that guessing the context of a citation is really difficult using the automated ways in which the citation is actually being produced. If users can take a small amount of time to classify citations according to a simple menu than we would be able to get more valuable information about the structure of ideas across papers.

The other is that building relationship with sources of data and software would advertise the data and software and promote the sharing of these resources. RePEc already works with software.  It would be great if it could work with datasets, i.e. as and when reusable datasets would be considered as publications in their own right, then users could point to a dataset used in the publication right in the metadata. It could then be possible to create a list of all the publications using a certain dataset. That would be a great way to unify papers on a certain topic and of course, to promote the dataset maintenance as an additional academic endeavour.


How to follow what is new in economics research

February 20, 2014

RePEc offers various tools to keep abreast of latest research developments in economics. Keep in mind that due to the unusually long refereeing and publication process in this field, following what is coming out in journals is often not the best way to keep current. The research frontier is advancing with working papers, and this is why RePEc puts a special focus on those. Note that all resources below are free, as always for RePEc services.

NEP

NEP (New Economics Papers) offers email lists and RSS feeds that disseminate approximately every week the latest online working papers across over 90 fields. Field-relevance is determined by volunteer editors who pick the appropriate papers among all working papers newly listed on RePEc during the previous week. Note that if you think a topic is not appropriately covered, you can volunteer as editor of a new report.

MyIDEAS

MyIDEAS allows you to follow new additions to JEL codes, author profiles, series and journals. This is done through the creation of an account on the IDEAS website. Once logged in, you can add the relevant items while navigating the site.

EconPapers Search

EconPapers allows to limit the search results to documents added recently to RePEc. Use the “Modified last” selection at the bottom left of the search form. One can also limit the list of items by JEL code and recency here.

IDEAS Search

Similarly, IDEAS allows to restrict search results to specific years. When looking up by JEL code, items are sorted with the most recent first.

EconAcademics

EconAcademics follows the latest discussion of research on the blogosphere. While it does not necessarily mean this is the most recent research, it is often the case.


About lost economists

January 30, 2014

A major component of RePEc is the RePEc Author Service, which allows economists to create an online profile of their works as they are indexed in RePEc. There are several benefits to this. For users, cross-links between profiles and abstract pages allow to discover easily what else the authors have written. For authors, they obtain download statistics and citation alerts, and a link they can refer people to their profile. As for departments, authors can count towards their rankings. So far, about 40,000 authors have registered.

Unfortunately, RePEc loses contact with some of the registered economists. The principal reason is that they move to a different address and neglect to amend their contact details at the RePEc Author Service. This is currently the case for about 500 economists, and we encourage notification to RePEc so that we can reconnect with them. A list of such authors is available here.

Sadly, we also lose contact with some economists because they pass away. While we obviously do not want to send them their monthly statistics, we still want to keep their profiles as they continue to provide information to users. This is why volunteers take over maintenance of those profiles. But before doing so, RePEc needs to be alerted that someone has passed away. Thus, do not hesitate to contact the RePEc Author Service administrator in this regard. A list of known deceased and registered economists is here.


1.5 million documents in RePEc

January 17, 2014

The number of documents indexed in RePEc has recently surpassed 1.5 million. About 900,000 are journal articles, 560,000 are working papers and the rest is distributed across books, book chapters and software components. The number of documents available online is approaching 1.4 million. All this is contributed by over 1,600 archives, ranging from the major commercial publishers to small research centers.

I do not think we expected that many documents related to economics to be listed when RePEc was started. And yet, the number of additions keeps increasing. One would have expected all the low-hanging fruit to have been picked since 1997, but no, they keep coming. Fortunately, RePEc is completely scalable, so we are ready for the next half million. Some RePEc services (those using the RePEc data), however, start struggling a little bit with the mass of data. We expect that some efforts will be dedicated to back-end work for these services.

And if your institution or publisher is still not participating in RePEc, here are instructions. If you are an individual from an institution that does not want to participate, you can upload your works at MPRA and they will be included in RePEc.


IDEAS now has a fantasy league

October 28, 2013

Following a successful beta testing, a fantasy league is now live on IDEAS. It all started with an April Fool’s post on this blog that many found to be a great idea. We will see now whether this is true.

As we do not have a publishing season, and publishing is very slow in economics, the rules had to be adapted from the standard fantasy leagues in other “sports.” They may need to be amended in the future, but players will be alerted well ahead of any changes. And if you are uncomfortable with being traded in a fantasy league, you can opt out.

Have fun playing!


A proposed RePEc fantasy league

August 22, 2013

Back on the 1st of April (Fool’s Day) of this year, I introduced the RePEc fantasy league. While this post was to be more on the humorous side, many people took it seriously. And interest for the league is unabated, with several people recently asking about it. So I guess there is sufficient demand, and it looks like it could be fun to play with economists. Hence, I want to make a proposal, ask for comments, and let people vote whether such a fantasy league should be run.

Here is the proposal. As the publishing output of economists is rather slow-moving and there is no defined season for play, the league is set up for continuous entry and play is on an infinite horizon. A set of rules has been drafted, and I welcome comments about them, especially from those who are more used to play in this kind of league.

For those who are worried that they could be virtually subject to trades, there would be the ability to opt out from being played with.

Beyond fine-tuning rules, there is also the question whether such a league should be run at all. Below is a poll that will be open for a month. Feel free to vote.


EconomistsOnline closing

July 18, 2013

This guest post was written by Kieron Jones.

The Nereus Steering Committee has reached the decision that Economists Online (EO) should close on 01 January 2014. This follows a period of consultation and discussion, and reflects the portal’s costs of on going maintenance, progress made in content acquisition, preferences of economics research users and usage figures. All EO services will continue to be available and updated for the rest of 2013.

The research made available through the NEEO project and subsequent EO portal will still be accessible via individual repositories and RePEc services. Some of the additional functionality offered by EO can still be retained or made available. For example:


  • The RePEc archive of publications from participating EO partners will cease. However, individual institutions can liaise directly with RePEc if they wish their material to still be available through RePEc services. Instructions are available here.
  • Publication lists for EO researchers will be discontinued. A number of options are available. EO can provide participating institutions with an export of researchers’ lists, institutions may maintain a research publications service or authors may wish to create their own lists using RePEc or Google Scholar.
  • Usage statistics will no longer be available. Options are available for DSpace repositories and through the paid service OA Statistik.
  • With regard to the discontinuation of the Nereus Dataverse Network, institutions can create their own archive in the DVN. Links can then be connected to articles residing in repositories.

If you would like further information, please contact the Economists Online helpdesk.


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