BEPress Journals Are Not Open Access Anymore

March 16, 2013

This is the usual story:  Once a free or reasonably priced journal is successful, it is bought, prices are raised, and access restricted. The lure of money is too tempting.

The most recent case concerns the BEPress journals that had pioneered open access in economics (well, actually quasi-open access, but this was acceptable). Aaron Edlin has sold them to DeGruyter, and quasi open access turned into gated access. The author’s rights are disregarded, of course.

We see here that well-defined property rights might bring about economic inefficiency: If a journal can be sold, it will be sold and turned into a goldmine, even if this is inefficient from an economic point of view. This can never happen to RePEc, as it is not owned by anybody. Under the presumption that open access is economically more efficient than gated access, ill defined property rights contribute to efficiency.

As an author make sure that you publish in a journal that cannot be sold, or is unlikely to be sold. Perhaps the existing free journal software should carry a clause that free use is permitted only for open access journals, and other uses are permitted only on paying a stiff fee. This would make credible to the authors that their work remains accessible and would solve the problem even with well-defined property rights, but this is unlikely to happen.

RePEc in February 2013

March 4, 2013

Last month, we have introduced yet another RePEc service, the RePEc Biblio. This is a curated bibliography of economics, wherein volunteer editors are incharge of a topic and identify the most important papers. Check it out, and volunteer as well! In other important news, we now have over half a million working papers listed, and we tracked now over 70 million file downloads through participating RePEc services (those that send us such statistics).

We also welcomed the following newly participating archives: Holistic Marketing Management, Fundatia Romana pentru Inteligenta Afacerii, Vilnius University, Universitatea Maritima din Constanta, Phoenix Yayinevi, Universitatea Dimitrie Cantemir, University of Bucharest, Istituto Regionale per la Programmazione Economica della Toscana.

In terms of thresholds we surpassed, we can mention:
500000 working papers listed
200000 cited working papers
35000 registered authors

RePEc in January 2013

February 4, 2013

We have inaugurated this month MyIDEAS, the personal space on IDEAS that allows a user to follow other authors, series, journals and JEL codes. One can as well build a bibliography and organize it in folders. Find the login at the top of most IDEAS pages or directly here.

We have also welcomed the following institutions with new RePEc archives: Otaru University of Commerce, Romanian Distribution Committee, City University (II), UNDP (II), University of Cambridge (III), Universidad de Oviedo (II), University of Cambridge (II), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Ukrainian Journal Ekonomist. Also with the over 1500 participating archives, this pushed us to over 1.2 million research items available on-line. Also, a record 610 people signed up on the RePEc Author Service. We counted 2,235,346 abstract views and 554,912 downloads from the reporting RePEc services over last month.

In terms of thresholds we surpassed, we can report the following:

1200000 items available on-line
800000 listed journal articles
750000 listed on-line journal articles

RePEc in December 2012, and a look back at 2012

January 2, 2013

Over the past month, we welcomed new archives from the following institutions: Université Nice-Sophia Antipolis, Europa-Universität Viadrina, Associazione Studi e Ricerche Interdisciplinari sul Lavoro, Feng Chia University, Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez. RePEc services served 2,235,346 abstract views and 554,912 full-text downloads over the course of the month. And we managed to pass the following thresholds:

800000 research items listed in registered author profiles
250000 working papers with extracted references
150000 articles with extracted references
1500 participating archives

A few additional words about 2013. Over the past year, we counted 26,409,738 abstract views and 7,004,655 full-text downloads through RePEc services participating in the bean counting, IDEAS served 11,473,203 unique visitors from 226 countries and territories (including 3 visits from Nauru, 7 from Saint Pierre and Miquelon, but none this year from North Korea, contrarily to previous years). RePEc added 112 new participating archives, 297 working paper series, 180 journals, 53,731 working papers, 113,336 articles, and a total of 163,479 new items available online. 3,769 authors registered, 4,141 NEP reports were issued, references were extracted and matched from 112,389 works. Beyond this, IDEAS and EDIRC went through a redesign, was relaunched as a blog aggregator for economics research, the CollEc co-authorship analysis site was opened to the public, new features were added to the RePEc Author Service and CitEc, our citation analysis site, and the RePEc Genealogy was introduced. And there are plenty of plans for 2013!

Cloud computing and RePEc

December 13, 2012

Hosting RePEc services has been both a technical and an organizational challenge. Historically, the first hosting of what was to become RePEc goes back to late 1992. Manchester Computing Center, as it was known then, agreed to create WAIS indexed Gopher for the BibEc and WoPEc projects created by Thomas Krichel. The site was converted to the web in 1993. Manchester Computing Center were a national center for academic computing, providing services the UK academic community. They were fortunately forward-looking in their outlook when they started to with NetEc. It was broadly within their remit as Thomas Krichel worked in UK academia at the time. They continued to sponsor RePEc-related sites until the end of the decade. But they were not the only one. Washington University of St. Louis, where EconWPA was living, contributed a NetEc mirror, and so did Hitotsubashi University where Satoshi Yasuda kept as server in his documentation centre for Japanese economic statistics. So generally, it was for sponsoring institutions, where a RePEc volunteer lived to take up the hosting. If they agreed, there were usually stringent conditions. Machines are locked in a facility closed after hours, there are rules on firewalls. Or when the machine was based in somebody’s office, a cleaner could unplug a cable, electricity cuts could cause damage to the motherboard, failing air conditioning would damage disks. The list may look comical now, but at the time each incident was a disaster. There was not much of an alternative. Commercial solutions were too expensive to be paid for by an individual, and project funding would come to an end.

Things are looking better now. Cloud computing has become much cheaper. In 2006, the RePEc OAI gateway, sponsored by the Central Library of Economics (ZBW) in Germany was the first sponsored RePEc service. The CollEc service has become the second sponsored RePEc service. The server runs at a hosting company. The server is a dedicated machine, with 8 CPUs. They are running 100% constantly as the calculations for CollEc are very heavy, at this time. One single sponsor covers a 50 euros a month fee for the machine. In November 2012 the ZBW sponsorship moved to a similar machine. In December 2012, the NEP service followed. It uses a similar machine. The NEP team had several offers of sponsorship and chose the one by Victoria University of Wellington, mainly because they were the first to offer. We think the CitEc service will follow suit, but we still have to find a sponsor. We also could move the main RePEc site to a similar machine. While a single site may not require the use of a powerful computer we still need backup. Case in point, in 2008 staff at the hosting company discovered that the server sponsored by ZBW did not have a stick on it. They proceeded to dismantle the machine. No data was recoverable. Fortunately Thomas Krichel kept a backup.

We expect that RePEc will be using more sponsored hosting. It is a very good thing. RePEc volunteers have spent countless hours on broken disks, falling power supply systems, loose network cable than you can shake a stick at. Using sponsored hosting can leave more time to improve service.

RePEc in November 2012

December 4, 2012

The number of the month is 50 million. This is the number of downloads that IDEAS has facilitated since inception. And it is the number of abstract views on EconPapers since its creation. These numbers were compiled by LogEc, which weeds out a considerable numbers of illegitimate downloads and abstract views, for example due to duplicates or spiders. For reporting RePEc services, LogEc reported last month 654,809 file downloads and 2,696,554 abstract views.

We have welcomed the following institutions into RePEc: Institutul National de Statistica şi Studii Economice, CEMLA, Società Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica, Fucape Business School, Fundatia Amfiteatru, Voice of Research, Université de Franche-Comté, Institut national d’étude démographiques.

All the thresholds that have been reached in the past month are:

50000000 cumulative downloads on IDEAS
50000000 cumulative abstract views on EconPapers
1300000 listed documents
400000 working paper abstracts
400000 items with references
250000 cited articles
6000 listed institutions with a published author
2500 Wikipedia links to research in RePEc

RePEc in October 2012

November 3, 2012

What happened with RePEc last month? First, like every October, institutions are at the Fall peak in producing research, as over 20,000 items have been added to RePEc. Second, our new project, the RePEc Genealogy, is off to a good start, with already over 4000 authors listed. Then, we counted 634,377 downloads and 2,462,684 abstract views through participating services. Finally, we welcomed the following new participating archives: University of Notre Dame, Yonsei University, ZenTra Center for Transnational Studies, Asian Academy of Management, Urban Institute, WWWforEurope, Universidad Adolfo Ibañez, Università di Napoli “Parthenope”, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Moscow State University, Shandong University, Regia Naţională a Pădurilor, and Universität Zürich (III)

We reached the following thresholds:
10000000 references extracted
4000000 references matched with material listed in RePEc
2000000 cumulative book abstract views
700000 articles available online
25000 authors linked in CollEc co-authorship network
10% of registered authors listed in RePEc Genealogy

RePEc in September 2012

October 4, 2012

This was an unusually busy month for RePEc. First, we unveiled various improvements to CitEc, our citation analysis initiative. Then, we launched the RePEc Genealogy, which traces through crowd-sourcing the academics family tree in economics. Almost 400 authors joined the RePEc Author Service, a pace that amazingly does not seem to slow down despite covering over 33000 published authors. And the following institutions joined RePEc with an archive: Alliance of Central-Eastern European Universities, University of Ghent, Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini, Università di Salerno, Vita e Pensiero, University of Bucharest, Australian Treasury.

And now the thresholds that have been reached during last month:
1250000 items indexed in RePEc
750000 articles indexed in RePEc
125000 articles with references
5000 RePEc items mentioned in blog posts on
5000 blog posts indexed on
600 blogs with links captured on

RePEc in August 2012

September 3, 2012

RePEc went into a slumber for the last month. Quite little to report this time, except for heavy work in the background. The credentials for the accounts in the RePEc Author Service can now be used for authentication into various services, and NEP moved from SUNY Oswego to Penn State. See earlier blog posts about both events. Note also that NEP has now disseminated 200,000 working papers since its inception in 1998.

After adjustments for robots, reloads and other non-conformable traffic, we counted 441,838 file downloads and 1,714,916 abstract views from RePEc Services. Only four new archives joined RePEc: Socionet, Post Keynesian Economics Study Group, Academia Europea de Dirección y Economíe de la Empresa, and Birkbeck College (II). Finally, RePEc passed the following thresholds in the past month:

600,000 paper announcements though NEP (a paper may appear in several reports)
200,000 papers announced through NEP
3,500 working paper series

NEP now sponsored by Penn State

August 26, 2012

Since 2005 one of the main RePEc computers, the one handling New Economic Papers (NEP) has been housed at the State University of New York at Oswego. NEP handles the weekly email notifications of new working papers in about 90 field-specific reports. As part of its academic mission, SUNY Oswego kindly let the RePEc project place the machine on its network in one of its server rooms. While Bill Goffe was the local sponsor, the vast majority of the effort of running it fell to Thomas Krichel.

Bill has now taken a job with Penn State and this server hast just moved with him. Bill and the entire RePEc team would like to thank SUNY Oswego for its support over the last seven years and it looks forward to working the Information Technology in Liberal Arts group at Penn State for hosting this machine for the foreseeable future.


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