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.
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.
March 18, 2009
In our continuing series featuring RePEc volunteers, we present today Marco Novarese. He is assistant professor at the faculty of Law, University of Piemonte Orientale (Italy) and he directs the NEP project within RePEc. NEP disseminates new working papers though email and RSS in currently 84 different fields, each staffed by an editor who sorts what is relevant among all new items. Marco edits the NEP report on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics, but more importantly heads the entire project. His responsibility is to solicit and recruit new editors, encourage the creation of new reports (volunteer if your field is not covered) and monitor the project.
Before heading NEP, Marco’s responsibility was to check that the data sent to NEP editors for appraisal is clean and does not contain obvious misfits (papers that are not new, for example). Not having found a volunteer to do this, he is still on the hook. Maybe you can help him out?
February 25, 2009
The news are filled with reports of financial difficulties and funding is being cut left and right for all sorts of programs. How is RePEc affected? On the revenue side, we are happy to report that it is stable, at zero. On the expense side, we seem to be unchanged, at zero as well. RePEc is completely run by volunteers so that it does not rely on funding and can provide its services for free to everyone.
That does not mean that there are no risks. RePEc services also rely on hardware and hosting services. So far, we have managed to find sponsors for those. We have little slack, though. If a machine were to fail, or a host were to give up a slot, we would have to scramble for solutions. We are therefore always on the lookout for new opportunities. We even have a new project currently looking for a home. If you are interested in any capacity, do not hesitate to contact us!
January 25, 2009
José Manuel Barrueco Cruz was one of the first volunteers to participate in RePEc, and he is still very active nowadays. As a librarian at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Valencia (Spain), he noticed in 1994 Thomas Krichel‘s efforts with WoPEc and volunteered to help him gathering links to online working papers. When the links became too numerous to manage, they devised the system that underlies RePEc nowadays. José wrote the scripts that allowed to gather the metadata from the various publishers and to display the collected data for the now defunct WoPEc and BibEc websites. He also generously adapted these scripts for the launch of IDEAS.
His major endeavor since 2002 is CitEc, the citation analysis of documents indexed by RePEc. As detailed in previous posts, this is no simple undertaking. First, the references need to be properly extracted from documents. Second, the matching process is made more difficult by the many ways in which references are listed. Finally, the data in RePEc is now so large that important computing resources are necessary, something José found at the neighboring Polytechnical University of Valencia. And the evaluation of institutional archives has now become the subject of his doctoral thesis in library science, while he is concurrently working and teaching at the library for social sciences of the University of Valencia.
Beyond his involvement in documenting research in economics, José is also active in two other projects: DoIS (Documents in Information Science) and E-LIS (Eprints in Library and Information Science). No wonder that he was finalist for the European Business Librarian of the Year award in 1999
September 24, 2008
Christopher (Kit) Baum is Associate Professor of Economics at Boston College and one of the early volunteers in RePEc, gradually taking important responsibilities. He opened at Boston College one of the first RePEc archives, first with the department’s working papers, soon complemented by a large collection of Stata routines. Once commercial publishers started to get interested in having their publications indexed on RePEc, he took the initiative to negotiate with several of them data transfer protocols, many of which he still maintains and hosts. He is also the person answering to the central RePEc email, which in particular corresponds with maintainers of new RePEc archives. He is also the administrator of the RePEc home page and of this blog.
Quite obviously, Kit has become an essential, if not overburdened part of the RePEc team. Without him, RePEc would not have grown, both in the number of archives and also in terms of the coverage of the large commercial archives. He is also very active and influential in the internal discussions among RePEc volunteers, where policy questions are argued and emergencies are resolved.
Kit is an atypical volunteer in RePEc in that he does so much. There are many other opportunities for volunteers to get involved in RePEc, large and small. Just ask or propose.
August 13, 2008
NEP (New Economics Papers) is an email service that alerts subscribers to new online working papers in their area of interest. About 80 fields are currently available, and the roughly weekly emails are sent free of charge. While the RePEc team thought email dissemination was sufficient, there also appears to be demand for RSS feeds as for this and other blogs. This is now available, and the RSS feeds can be subscribed to by clicking on the relevant field report on the NEP home page.
This new feature was added in typical RePEc fashion: David Hugh-Jones inquired with Marco Novarese why there was no RSS feed, Thomas Krichel encouraged David to set it up, and two days later, it was up.
If you think new features should be added to RePEc, we always welcome suggestions, especially if you are willing to do it yourself… much like many of the available NEP editors have been volunteers who just wanted a particular field to be covered.