Volunteer recognition: Marco Novarese

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?

Weathering the crisis

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!

Volunteer recognition: José Manuel Barrueco Cruz

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

Volunteer recognition: Christopher Baum

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.

NEP alerts now available through RSS

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.

Volunteer recognition: Sune Karlsson

April 19, 2008

Sune Karlsson is currently Professor of Statistics at the Swedish Business School of Örebro University. He has been involved with RePEc, as a co-founder, right from the start and is an essential part of the RePEc team, providing a large numbers of services and great expertise.

While at the Stockholm School of Economics, Sune inaugurated in 1997 S-WoPEc, the Swedish (now Scandinavian) Working Papers in Economics site. S-WoPEc was one of the founding archives of RePEc in June 1997. In 1998, he then created S-WoBA, the Swedish (now Scandinavian) Working Papers in Business Administration site. Together, S-WoPEc and S-WoBA now hold about 5,400 papers. He manages also the working paper site of the European Business Schools Librarians’ Group.

In May 2001, Sune created LogEc, which compiles usage statistics for the various RePEc services and displays them. Two months later, he added EconPapers to his portfolio, now the second most popular service displaying the data collected by RePEc.

Sune does also a lot of behind-the-scene work: a syntax checker for RePEc archive maintainers, which includes a URL checker also used for the NEP project (for which he also provided the first implementation script). He runs also the scripts that allow to recognize the different versions of the same work. Finally, he is the editor of the NEP report on Econometrics.

Without Sune’s many initiatives and his master programming skills, RePEc would not be at the point it is today.

Volunteer recognition: Thomas Krichel

February 21, 2008

Thomas Krichel is not just a RePEc volunteer, he is RePEc. In 1991, as an research assistant at the Economic Department of Loughborough University, he saw the potential that the Internet gave for the dissemination of research in Economics, but could not manage to get a hold on good data about new working papers. In February 1993, on a lectureship at the University of Surrey, he was more lucky and teamed with Féthy Mili, Economics librarian at the Université de Montréal, who contributed data on 250 series, and Hans Amman (University of Amsterdam), who let Thomas use his coryfee mailing list. Bob Parks soon joined with his Economics Working Paper Archive at Washington University. Thus the NetEc project was launched. It moved to a gopher server at the Manchester Computing Centre in 1993, and then to the web. That year, Thomas also got help in collecting data from José Manuel Barrueco Cruz, Economics librarian at the University of Valencia. But soon they realized that there was too much information out on the Internet for just the two of them to collect.

This is when Thomas suggested the creation of RePEc which would completely decentralize the data input: the publishers, who benefit the most from having their papers listed on web indexes, were to index the works themselves. With the collaboration of Sune Karlsson (SWoPEc, Stockholm School of Economics), Bob Parks and Corry Stuyts (DEGREE, Netherlands), José and Thomas then launched RePEc in June 1997. It still works under the same principles, with great success.

Thomas is still the heart and soul of RePEc. He has his hand in almost every project that is undertaken. After completing his Economics PhD at the University of Surrey, he moved to Long Island University to take a position of assistant professor in … Library Studies. Now tenured, he is an eminence grise in the online provision of bibliographic data and is pushing the RePEc concept into other fields. Within RePEc, most of his attention is currently directed towards NEP, the email notification service on new working papers.


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