RePEc in October 2019

November 4, 2019

What is new for October? For the first time ever, we have no new RePEc archives to announce. But have now worries, there are already two new ones in November. We had a very good month for traffic, with 588,930 file downloads and 3,400,998 abstract views. And we passed the following milestones:

70,000 NEP report issues created.
1,000 first NEP reports with that many issues

How RePEc helps with Open Access in Economics

October 24, 2019

From 21 to 27 October 2019, the Open Access Week is raising awareness about free access to scholarly research. This year’s theme is “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge,” which fits nicely in the mission of RePEc. Indeed, the goal of RePEc is to enhance the dissemination of research in the field of economics, in particular through the democratization of access to economic research both for the authors and the readers. The core aspect of RePEc is an open bibliography that allows various “RePEc services” to leverage the metadata about publication in various ways, such as email lists, search engines, organized listings, and more. For an overview of some of the services, see the RePEc home page.

RePEc facilitates open access is several ways. First, all publishers are on equal footing in terms of getting their publication material indexed in RePEc. It is upon them to follow the instructions and maintain their holdings. Second, the metadata makes the distinction between gated and free access, which some RePEc services exploit in the display of the research. For example, on EconPapers, information about download restrictions is listed next to the download link. In the absence of such language, it is assumed that the article is openly accessible (click on images to see them better):


Note in the first case a prompt to search for other (open) versions, more on this later. On IDEAS, similar language is present in case of gated access:

In addition, the listing of articles on IDEAS for a journal also displays an icon about the download status. In this case, within the same issue of a journal, the first article is open, the second gated, and the third not available online.

Open access penetration in economics journals is comparatively low, though. Indeed, there is likely less need for open access due to a large number of pre-prints, called working papers or discussion papers in economics. In fact, RePEc and it predecessor projects were launched precisely to disseminate working papers, and over 900,000 of them are currently indexed. Working papers are typically in open access, with few exceptions, and it is then not surprising that when both working paper and article versions are available, the working paper is downloaded many more times.

Matching different versions of the same work is a difficult undertaking, especially as many different works have the same title. We leverage the fact that about half the indexed works are written by someone registered in the RePEc Author Service. Then if the same author has several works with a very similar title, we deem them to be different versions of the same research. And if the title changed, authors can add a link using this form.

This information in then leveraged on RePEc services. For example, on EconPapers, the working paper versions are listed right under the download link of the article (and vice-versa).

On IDEAS, there are multiple prompts about the availability of different versions. On the article listing of the journal, a green “WP” appears when a working paper version is available. Then, on the abstract page of the article, the pill for download tab mentions it again. And, finally, the working paper versions are listed right under the download link (and the article version on the working paper download link).



Working papers are pretty much where the frontier of research is in economics. Journal articles are in this respect a historical record of where the frontier was a few years prior, given the publication delays. This is why the email alerting service of RePEc, NEP, notifies about new working papers, but not about articles. Universities and policy institutions are welcome to index their working papers in RePEc, it is free and follows the same instructions as for journals. And if an author does not have access to a local RePEc-indexed working papers series, they can upload their works at MPRA.

RePEc in September 2019

October 7, 2019

Short but sweet post regarding last month. We welcomed a small group of newly participating RePEc archives: Juniper Publishers, Journal of Financial Analysis, Journal of Economic Impact, Università degli studi di Pavia. We counted 453,439 file downloads and 2,588,056 abstract views. And we passed the following milestones:

15,000 cited books

What a RePEc Author Service account is good for

October 3, 2019

A little more than 20 years ago, the RePEc Author Service was launched (then under the name of HoPEc) as a self-registering service. This allows economists to create an account with RePEc. What for? This blog post is trying to enumerate all the uses of this account that were created since.

Unique identification

Before all the other identification services for academics and researchers, we created the RePEc short-ID, a unique identifier attached to a registered person. This identifier is used throughout RePEc much in the same way other objects are identified through handles: series, journals, papers, articles, institutions, archives… They can references each other, they can be used to draw statistics (including rankings). The use is not limited to RePEc: we see it for example in Wikipedia, Wikidata, and elsewhere.

Research record

Creating an account in the RePEc Author Service also allows an economist to establish and maintain a record of their scholarly output. The RePEc Author Service tries to match works indexed in RePEc with name variations provided by the author and asks the author to validate the potential matches. Not only does this establish a research record for the person, it also allows to disambiguate homonyms or authors with the same initials and last names. The research records are public and used by other RePEc services like EconPapers and IDEAS. The RePEc Author Service also helps in the discovery of citations for CitEc, which also maintains author pages.

The records from the RePEc Author Service facilitate other data improvements in RePEc. For example, affiliation data is leveraged in EDIRC, the directory of economics institutions to provide member lists. In addition, if several works within an author’s record have very similar titles, we deem them to be different versions of each other and we can link across them in bibliographic records.

Access to personalized services

Everything on RePEc is available for free and without registration because we believe this is how you provide the widest dissemination of research. Yet, there are some enhanced services that are impossible without providing personalization. The following examples do not require one to be an author, only to have an account with the RePEc Author Service:

  • MyIDEAS allows to create a personalize bibliography while browsing IDEAS and then export it in various formats. It also allows to follow authors, serials, JEL codes or search keywords either through the website or weekly email digests.

  • MyCitEc allows an author to manage their citation profile and get alerts about new citations, including citations to other authors’ works.

  • Authors can get a personalized ranking analysis.

Authentication for other tools

The RePEc Author Service uses OpenID, which is a protocol that allows other websites to leverage the authentication on the RePEc Author Service to log in elsewhere. This is similar to using Google or Facebook credentials to identify yourself on other sites. This is used across RePEc wherever credentials are necessary to identify a person. Examples are:

RePEc in August 2019

September 10, 2019

What is new? We are launching a new initiative that aims to identify which data sets are used in scholarly works. See this blog post for details.

As usual, we welcome a few new RePEc archives each month. For August 2019, these are: African Real Estate Society (AfRES), Ministerio de Hacienda (Argentina), 50sea Journals, Bussecon International, Alkhaer Publications. We counted 392,991 file downloads and 2,259,618 abstract views. Finally, we reached the following milestones:

75,000,000 downloads through IDEAS
40,000,000 extracted references
1,200,000 items with recognized citations

New initiative to help with discovery of dataset use in scholarly work

September 1, 2019

Many of our readers will have heard of the push for evidence based policy making at the federal level in the United States. The recent Foundations of Evidence Based Policy Making Act and the Federal Data Strategy have provided social scientists in general and economists in particular with a new opportunity to highlight the value of their data and their empirical work. Similar opportunities have appeared in other countries.

A major challenge in highlighting the value of data, however, is that it is currently almost impossible to find out which datasets are used by which researchers on which topics. RePEc is partnering with a new initiative that is combining natural language processing and machine learning techniques to automate dataset search and discovery from social science and economics publications. Some authors will start receiving an email from Christian Zimmermann this month asking them to validate the results of machine learning models. They can also contribute any additional links to the corpus right away at this link.

We hope eventually to automate the search and discovery of datasets and highlight their value as a scholarly contribution in the same way we collect information about publications and citations. The results should help inform government agencies about the value of data that they produce and work with, empirical researchers to find and discover valuable datasets and data experts in their scientific fields, and policy makers realize the value of supporting investments in data.

Thank you in advance for your support!

RePEc in July 2019

August 6, 2019

As often in the Summer, only a short monthly report. We welcomed a few new RePEc archives: University Management: Practice and Analysis, AHM International, Asia University, Oslo Metropolitan University, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Russian Academy of Sciences (II). We counted 421,617 file downloads and 1,893,252 abstract views in July 2019 on the few RePEc services that provide us with statistics. And we reached a single milestone:

750,000 working papers with abstracts