Only two new RePEc archives last month: Eastern State Planning Center and Bicol University. We counted 467,138 file downloads and 2,530,770 abstract views. We reached some important milestones:
RePEc is all about the open dissemination of information. Most information is about publications, and as this originates with the publishers, RePEc simply relays what they provide. There is therefore not much to say about data ownership or copyright.
Things are a little different for authors. When they create a profile in the RePEc Author Service, they do so with the understanding that this profile will be public and visible on the various RePEc services. Still, there is always a private component to this data, and here is how RePEc deals with it.
Data use: Within RePEc, author data is used to publish authors profiles on CitEc, EconPapers and IDEAS. Also, the co-authorship network is analyzed on CollEc. Finally, author data is used on the RePEc Genealogy and for author and institution rankings.
Passwords: The passwords used for RePEc accounts are never kept in clear text. As should be practice with any password management, they are encrypted with salt. This prevents the reverse-engineering of an encrypted password. This means that passwords are not sent through email in clear, passwords reset by requesting a link that is sent to the registered address. If that address, is not available anymore, request a change from the administrator, who can change addresses but not passwords.
Email address: The registered author can choose not to make the email address public. It can, however, be useful to have a visible email address, so that other economists can find a way to contact the author. RePEc services try to make the public email addresses difficult to harvest by robots. RePEc does not provide email lists for free or money.
Bad email address: If emails from RePEc bounce hard (not a temporary problem or a vacation bounce, but may include when the email provider blocks RePEc emails), RePEc makes an effort to rectify the address. Then, it asks registered co-authors, students and advisors for new coordinates. A notice it also put on the public profiles. To spare the administrator these steps, it is always appreciated that authors preemptively change their address when they anticipate a move. Note that profiles with bad email addresses do not count towards the rankings scores of their affiliations.
Affiliations: The registrant is responsible for maintaining their affiliations. The RePEc Author Service administrator does not add affiliations, but removes affiliations upon request of an administrator of that institution.
Notice of death: We appreciate notices about the death of a registered author. We add a mention to the profile and maintain it should any works be published and added posthumously.
Rankings: We understand that some registered authors do not want their ranking performance revealed to outsiders. For this reason, only the top ranked authors are listed on the ranking pages. Similarly, RePEc does not reveal individual rankings to administrators.
Automatic email opt-out: Registered economists receive occasional automatic emails about newly discovered works they may have authored. They can opt out of these alerts by logging into the RePEc Author Service, go into the “research” menu and then follow the “search settings” link.
Automatic profile deletion: Should a profile have no works listed and have an invalid email address, it will automatically be deleted, as it does not appear to serve any purpose. Fraudulent, spam, and inappropriate accounts are also deleted at the discretion of the administrator, including accounts that are not in the name of a person.
Profile deletion requests: Registered authors can delete their profile in two ways: 1) log in to the RePEc Author Service and click on the “delete” button at the end of the menu; 2) request by email to the RePEc Author Service administrator. Note that a profile deletion means that RePEc services will not display the profile of this author (give them a few days for the deletion), but the works will remain, as they are under the authority of the publisher. A deleted account can be reinstated upon request (email to RePEc Author Service administrator).
What is new at RePEc? IDEAS now leverages Hypothes.is for page annotations on the site. We welcomed new participating archives: Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie, Association for Promoting of Women in Research and Development in Africa, Weik Press, African Economic Research Institute, INET Oxford, Hungarian Ministry of Finance, Intellectual Edge, Creative Space Association. We counted 389,390 file downloads and 3,239,797 abstract views in August 2021. Finally, we reached the following milestones:
8,000,000 downloads through NEP
7,500,000 book chapter abstract views
3,400,000 items available online
1,800,000 items in author profiles
With a Hypothes.is user account, you can now navigate IDEAS and highlight text and leave comments for yourself or others. The service has three modes: private (annotate just for yourself), private group (for a research team, a reading group, or a classroom), or public (anyone can see your annotations). Annotations can include tags, links, images, and even LaTeX formulas. Moderators check on comment suitability.
The Hypothes.is functionalities can be accesses though browser plug-ins (Google Chrome, others), a proxy site, or through integration in a learning management system (LMS). All use is free, more advanced features or support are available for a fee. Here is a quick-start guide.
Everyone seems to be on vacation in July, as we are seeing a serious drop in activity across the board. We recorded 417,185 file downloads and 2,245,986 abstract views and welcomed the following new archives: University of Manchester (III), Idea Publishers. And we reached the following milestone:
3,700,000 indexed research items
2,400,000 indexed articles
IDEAS has added a new feature: if an item has a DOI, an alternative link to full text has been added that uses LibKey. This allows users to leverage their library subscriptions. We also welcomed the following new RePEc archives: Nature, Université Mohammed VI Polytechnique, Transition Academia Press, Journal of Management Practices, Humanities and Social Sciences, Journal of Advanced Research in Social Sciences and Humanities, Journal of ICT, Design, Engineering and Technological Science. We counted 545,984 file downloads and 2,926,106 abstract views. And finally, we reached the following milestones:
3,600,000 indexed items
An importance project in the RePEc landscape is the RePEc Author Service. It allows economists to create an online profile of their works, built as their “recognize” the works they have authored that have been indexed in RePEc by the respective publishers.
Of course, as there are over 3.6 millions works indexed in RePEc at the time of this writing, the authors need to be helped in sorting through this large amount of data. This is done on the basis of name variations. The name is not sufficient. Indeed, publishers have many ways to name authors and it is easier to offer suggestions for authoring claims based on author names. During the the registration process on the RePEc Author Service, authors are asked to provide a list of name variations (which they can amend later) to facilitate this. But it is important to be comprehensive.
For example, say William Smith registers. The system will make automatically the following suggestions:
- William Smith
- W. Smith
- Smith, William
- Smith, W.
If the author approves this list of name variations as is, he will be a list of suggested works, first with those having authors with names corresponding to the variations. Not all may be his, as there could be homonyms. The author will also get an email whenever a new work was added to the database with one of those names.
However, this short list of names may not be sufficient. Indeed, publishers may be recording a middle name or at least a middle initial. If this is not captured in the list of name variations, the author may miss out on potential works to add to the profile. The same applies for a suffix (Jr., Sr., III). What if the author is also known as Bill or Will, which may be recorded as well, in particular for working papers?
There may be further complications due to local naming conventions. For example the French first name Jean-Claude may be abbreviated as J.-Cl. or J.-C., and similarly in Russian (Yuri, Yu.). Hispanic names often have two last names, with the second one sometimes omitted or abbreviated (Sánchez Gómez, Sánchez G., Sánchez), while in Portuguese the first of the two is sometimes omitted. Publishers sometimes includes accents and sometimes not. For all these cases, it is important to help the RePEc Author Service by providing a complete list of variations that publishers could be using.
And then there are those cases where authors change names, particularly through marriage. Anglicizing a name, adopting a religion or gender change can also be reasons to adapt the list of name variations. If one has published in a different script (Arabic, Cyrillic). that should be reflected, too.
This may sound like a lot of work for some authors, but this allows RePEc to provide more accurate suggestions. But we have noticed that many authors have a list of name variations that is too small. For this reason, we had to expand the email alerts beyond the strict name variations, or authors would not get the notices they would be expecting.
The big news of the month is that we reached major traffic milestones, with 120 million downloads and 500 million abstract views. We also had a good number of new RePEc archives: Asia-Pacific Applied Economics Association, International Journal of Business and Economic Affairs, International Journal of Business Research and Management, TAF Publishing, Polish Economic Society Johns Hopkins University Press, European Fiscal Board, Red Nacional de Investigadores en Economía (RedNIE), International Journal of Business and Administrative Studies. We also counted 639,773 file downloads and 3,233,905 abstract views. And here are the milestones for the month:
500,000,000 cumulative abstract views
120,000,000 cumulative downloads
150,000 indexed book chapters
700 RePEc-wide h-index
The cumulative number of downloads through RePEc services has just surpassed 120 million, and the numbers of views of abstract pages has reached 500 million. Before discussing how we reached these milestones, let us understand what these numbers mean.
Lots of websites use RePEc data. A list of those we know about is found on the RePEc homepage. Some of them provide detailed traffic data to LogEc. The reporting sites are currently EconPapers, IDEAS, NEP and Socionet. Previously, NetEc and Economists Online would report until they shut down. LogEc takes all that data and analyzes it to remove anything that does not look like human traffic and delete any repeats. Doubtful cases go through additional human review. Typically much over 90% is thrown out in this process.
Two metrics are used: abstract views, that is, viewing by a human of the abstract page of a paper or article on the websites of the reporting RePEc services, and downloads, that is, any clicks downloading full texts from the publishers through the reporting RePEc service, whether the download is successful or not (bad links, gated material).
There are about 3.6 million items indexed in RePEc. RePEc has existed for 24 years. If we assume that on average an item has been indexed in RePEc for 10 years, we have that on average an item’s abstract is viewed just under 14 times a year and downloaded about 3.3 times a year. Or 140 cumulative abstract views and 33 cumulative downloads.
How did RePEc traffic evolve over time? The graphs below shows that it has increased fast at the start, then ebbed considerably and is picking up again. A 2014 blog post has some conjectures about why this prolonged dip happened. With a few more years of observations since that post, we believe the cannibalization hypothesis is the most likely one: the reporting RePEc services have been there from the start, while newer RePEc services do not report traffic data. If they have taken any traffic away from the reporting ones, overall RePEc has been going up all along, we just cannot measure it.
With some delay, here is what we have to report about the month of April: We welcomed a few new archives: Wojskowa Akademia Techniczna, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, International Journal of Cyber Forensics and Advanced Threat Investigations, Journal of İbn Haldun Studies. We counted 674,225 file downloads and 3,522,965 abstract views. And here are the milestones we reached:
3,500,000 indexed works
3,200,000 indexed works available online
120,000 indexed book chapters
50,000 indexed books
1,000 seminars announced on the Economics Virtual Seminar Calendar