Volunteer appreciation: Volker Schallehn

March 15, 2010

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.


Volunteer appreciation: Venus Khim-Sen Liew

February 10, 2010

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.


Why and how RePEc is free

January 22, 2010

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.


RePEc present at ASSA meetings in Atlanta

November 27, 2009

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.


CitEc machine moves

November 11, 2009

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.


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.


Suggestion box

May 23, 2009

RePEc is entirely driven by volunteers, who are also users. Most current volunteers came to RePEc because either they wanted to help with a current project or because they had some idea they wanted implemented in RePEc. We are opening this suggestion box for several reasons: as way to encourage feedback, to encourage more volunteers to come forward and pick a suggestion, and finally have users and RePEc team members discuss the proposed suggestions.

At RePEc, we like to be open. After all, we are creating open bibliographies using open source software, and we encourage open access. RePEc is there for you, so tell us how you want it to be. So, make your suggestion in the comment section below.


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