RePEc relies completely on volunteer work, and some of them do work that is invisible from the outside. One of those is Christian Calmès, Associate Professor of Economics at the Université du Québec en Outaouais (Canada) and the “enforcer” on NEP. NEP is a collection of mailing lists that distribute announcements of new working papers in currently 87 fields. Those announcements are vetted by volunteers editors, who decide which papers are relevant for their fields. Subscribers expect to receive timely messages about once a week, and Calmès makes sure editors do their job. If necessary, he relieves them of their duties (after some warning). On occasion, this has meant that he had to take over managing a list, in the absence of an available volunteer. Currently, he manages NEP-BEC (Business Economics), NEP-BAN (Banking) and NEP-REG (Regulation).
Volker Schallehn is librarian at the University of Munich, but not your normal librarian. He has always been very active in open access, the free dissemination of research. For example, he has set up the institutional archive for the University of Munich, now one of the larger ones in the world, and doing so got so familiar with EPrints that he contributed code to this open-source project, along with a German translation of its interface.
His involvement with RePEc started when we were looking for a successor to the Economics WPA, which was holding papers for authors whose institutions or publishers were not (yet) participating in RePEc. Ekkehart Schlicht had the idea to add another repository to those Volker was already managing, hoping to exploit returns to scale. Volker agreed, seeing the broader mission in this initiative. Thus in 2006, the Munich Personal RePEc Archive was born, which now houses over 11,000 works and continues to grow steadfastly.
RePEc works thanks to a large number of volunteers, most of them toiling in anonymity. One who spends a lot of time on the project is Venus Khim-Sen Liew, currently Associate Professor of Economics at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak in Malaysia. Among many other professional responsibilities, he is editor at MPRA, the RePEc service that allows authors to upload their works to be indexed on RePEc, for those who do not benefit from a local RePEc archive. MPRA needs editors to ensure some quality control to make sure that submissions are of academic nature and satisfy copyright requirements. Venus is in charge of submissions in Malaya and in particular helps with those in English, of which a considerable number (over 9000) have been accepted so far, and much of it is the result of Venus’ work.
If you are interested in helping with RePEc as well, check out the volunteer opportunities.
RePEc is allowing free access to its services, to readers, authors and publishers. Why? Because we want that research be disseminated the most widely possible and in the most democratic way possible. Everyone should have the same chance at getting read, no matter where the author is located. And everybody should be able to access research, no matter what the means and the location.
Of course, we cannot make research completely free, as some publishers keep their material gated. But whenever possible, we offer alternative, open access versions to gated material. Those versions may not be the latest ones, but they are usually close enough and usable by readers.
But how can we make all those services available for free? For one, we have volunteers who are willing to devote some of their spare time for the cause. Also, the running of RePEc is decentralized to the furthest extend possible. For example, the actual indexing is done by the publishers (following these instructions). As they are the ones who benefit the most from being listed, they are willing to comply with our requirements. Thus the data input is costless to RePEc, and then the collected data is made available to those who would like to build a service with it. Again, volunteers create and manage these services at no cost to RePEc.
For the first time, RePEc will have a booth in the exhibition hall of a major meeting of economists. This will be January 3-5, 2010, in Atlanta, at the annual meeting of the Allied Social Sciences Association. ASSA encompasses, among others, the American Economic Association, the American Finance Association and the Econometric Society. About 8000 economists attend this meeting.
Meet us at booth 509-B (towards the back of the hall) in the International Hall of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis to chat with RePEc volunteers, ask questions or make suggestions. We will offer advice on how to set up a RePEc archive so that your institution can also participate in the wider dissemination of research that RePEc promotes, along with over 1100 others. Documentation will also be available.
This RePEc booth is sponsored by EconLit.
On 2009-11-10, the Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas took over mutabor, the machine that makes CitEc, from the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia. The RePEc community is grateful to Fernando Ferrer, who helped running the machine at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia. We cheer Rodrigo Aragón Rodríguez who will be helping to maintain the machine at its new location.
CitEc is the citation analysis project within RePEc. At the time of this writing, it has analysed 230.279 documents, finding 5.130.205 references and 2.176.994 citations. The software side of the project is maintained by José Manuel Barrueco Cruz.
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.