RePEc in June 2017

July 5, 2017

There are a few novelties on RePEc this month. Three new NEP reports: NEP-BIG (Big Data), NEP-DES (Economic Design) and NEP-FLE (Financial Literacy and Education). A new ranking for institutions: Student records measured on the publications from the last 10 years. We have also a few new participating archives: University of Calgary (II), GRAPE, Centre for Economic History Research, National Association of Forensic Economics, D. A. Tsenov Academy of Economics, Tripal Publishing House, DOBA Faculty. We counted 443,596 file downloads and 1,596,970 abstract views in June 2017.

As for the milestones we reached:

40,000,000 cumulative article downloads
6,000,000 cumulative downloads through NEP
12,000 people listed in the RePEc Genealogy


RePEc Genealogy tutorial

June 28, 2017

The RePEc Genealogy is an academic family tree of economists. It provides information about where and when economists obtained their final degree, and who advised them for the final degree. At the time of this writing, over 12,000 economists are indexed in the RePEc Genealogy. The data is crowd-sourced, meaning that anybody with a RePEc account can amend records, much like Wikipedia.

Besides the curiosity factor of learning the background of economists, the assembled data is useful in several ways. One is that the data about the graduate programs is used to evaluate them. Close to 1000 are currently listed, and the research performance of their graduates is used to rank them. The data is also used by researchers for various analyses of the Economics profession.

As mentioned, the site is crowd-sourced. This tutorial shows how you can help in contributing to it (click on images for a larger view).

Logging in

Click on Make additions and changes in the side bar to get to the log-in page. This is the standard log-in procedure in RePEc and requires your RePEc Short-ID. If you do not know you Short-ID, follow this tutorial (new window).

Select a person to amend

Once logged in, you will be presented with this form:

Click on “yourself” to amend your Genealogy record. To amend someone else’s, you will need this person’s Short-ID. You likely do not know it. But if you enter parts of the name in the last field, options will be offered to you, like this:

Notice how there are several option, as there are several Richard Smith in RePEc. To ensure you have the right person, you can click on anyone’s link and it will open their IDEAS profile in a new window. Once you have the right person, enter their Short-ID in the first field and submit.

Amend a record

This is the standard form for data entry. Again, it all works with Short-IDs for people and RePEc handles for institutions. For institutions, one can either look up the handle (it always starts with RePEc:edi:) on the EDIRC directory of institutions, other enter a few letters (up to seven) relevant to the name of the institution, and a few choices will offered. Similarly, if one does not know the name of the advisor, enter the name and RePEc Short-IDs will be offered, if the person is registered. For example:

Gives you the following suggestions:

After entering the relevant handle and Short-ID, the form is completed:

Within 10 minutes the record will be created or amended on the live website. Buttons below the standard form allow you to amend further records, either by adding students that the person you just amended may have advised, or the advisor of this person, or anybody else, for examples other students who graduated from your program.


RePEc in May 2017

June 5, 2017

The past month was a big one for RePEc. First, the initiative celebrated its 20th birthday, still going strong despite its minimal funding. For more about this major milestone, see this blog post. We also reached two other major milestones: 50,000 registered authors and 8,000 listed serials.

In other news, following last month’s vote, there are a few changes to rankings. The Euclidian citation score has been added to author and institution rankings. It is also computed for serials. And aggregate scores now drop the top and bottom two scores, instead of one of each.

We also welcomed a good bunch of new participating archives: Nazarbayev University, University of Florida, Sociedade Brasileira de Econometria, Institute of Management Sciences Peshawar, DergiPark, Meisei University, Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics, Alphanumeric Journal, Noble Academic Publisher, Comenius University of Bratislava. We counted 531,041 file downloads and 1,999,763 abstract views. This bring us to the milestones we reached in the past month:

3,000,000 abstract views on Socionet
60,000 NEP reports
50,000 registered authors
8,000 listed serials
20 years RePEc


RePEc turns 20

May 12, 2017

On 12 May 1997, a group of people met at the University of Surrey at the initiative of Thomas Krichel, then a graduate student and lecturer there. The topic was to discuss Krichel’s proposal of a scheme to exchange metadata about publications in economics, in particular working papers. With its adoption, RePEc was born, and its scheme is today still powering the data collection for all RePEc services. You can find more about the history of RePEc here.

RePEc was not born out of nowhere. Since 1992, Krichel had been trying to find a way to improve the dissemination of research in economics. He was frustrated that it was very difficult for him to have access to the frontier of research. Then, as now, it was disseminated through working papers, given that the journal publication process is excessively long in economics. But access to those working papers, then only in paper form, was limited to well-connected economists. With the help of a few documentalists who were receiving working papers in the mail, he started disseminating announcements of new papers through email lists. You still had to request them by mail, though. Later he put those directories on a web precursor, gopher, and then on the web, and finally with links to full texts. Older economists may remember WoPEc, BibEc, BizEc, HoPEc, WebEc, CodEc, JokEc, all under the umbrella on NetEc. Krichel, with the help of a few volunteers and a little funding maintained all those resources. But at some point, there was just too much material on the web to index by hand. A new system was needed.

RePEc was that system. What was devised in 1997 is still in place today. It has proven robust because it is simple, it is extremely cheap to run, and it puts the costs and incentives in the right place. It is simple because the metadata syntax is straightforward and requires only to upload text files on the respective publisher’s website. It is cheap to run because technically all that is required to keep RePEc alive is a list of files that point where the metadata of the publishers reside. The cost of indexing is on the publishers, who are also the ones who want to have their works listed (or are pressured by authors to do so). The collected metadata is then essentially put in the public domain, and anybody can create a service that uses this data. This makes also possible that RePEc can continue even if it does not receive any funding. RePEc services may come and go, depending on sponsorship, but the data is here to stay.

In those twenty years, what has been achieved? The goal was to enhance the dissemination of economic research, to democratize access to it for authors and for readers. To date, we have close to 2,000 participating archives covering 2.3 millions items in 8,000 serials (yes, this is more than one a day over 20 years), including close to 3,000 journals and 4,500 working paper series. 50,000 authors have registered with RePEc. 75,000 subscriptions receive paper announcements through email, more through RSS and Twitter. 10 million references have been extracted and matched. The few reporting services counted 100 million downloads. Additional services have enhanced the collected data in various ways. A list of all services known to use RePEc services are listed on the RePEc home page.

All of this, and more, has been achieved by volunteers, some sponsorship, and a little bit of grant money. While we think we can pat ourselves on our backs for all what was done in the past, we must also keep the future in mind. As mentioned, RePEc is built to last with no funding, that is good. However, the team of core volunteers has evolved little over time. They are all twenty years older now, and fresh blood would be welcome. RePEc also faces commercial competition with deep pockets, some of which is using or even started with RePEc data. While the latter aspect satisfies the mission of RePEc, enhancing the dissemination of research in economics, it may bite into the motivation of our volunteers. Or not. The key is that we continue to stay ahead with innovation, even if they end up being copied, like our citation extraction and rankings. But keep in mind that RePEc services are always free, and will not shut down like a commercial service that has become unprofitable. Suggestions for enhancing RePEc and its services are always welcome.

Finally a special thank you to all of the volunteers who have helped in RePEc in big, small and tiny ways. RePEc is run by economists for economists. Many volunteers are anonymous, or are to numerous to record. Here are a few: Core team, NEP editors, EDIRC contributors, Plagiarism Committee members, Biblio editors, Genealogy contributors, MPRA editors, and most importantly, all our archive maintainers. More volunteers are welcome.


RePEc in April 2017

May 3, 2017

What is new this month? The IDEAS search engine now allows to sort results by citation counts. We have proposals up for a vote to do some changes to the rankings. We welcome a new crop of RePEc archives: World Economic Research Institute, Scientia Moralitas, Université de Corse, Online Science Publishing, Johannes Kelper Universität Linz (II). And we counted 514,315 file downloads and 1,889,094 abstract views. Finally, here are the milestones we reached last month:

10,000,000 matched citations
1,200,000 book chapter downloads
333,333 papers disseminated through NEP
3,000 contributors to the RePEc Genealogy wiki

Watch this space in a few days for significant news.


Proposed changes to IDEAS/RePEc ranking: Euclid and outliers

April 19, 2017

The IDEAS/RePEc rankings are a popular way to assess the strength of economists, serials and institutions. They are built on a large number of criteria that are relatively stable in definition. As rankings matter a lot for some, we do not want to disturb the definitions before prior approval by the community. Hence, we are putting to a vote several changes for the aggregate rankings of economists and serials. Voting ends one month from this post, 19 May 2017. Any approved change is expected to be available in the May rankings released in early June 2017.

Euclidian ranking for economists

The Euclidian ranking of economists has already been computed for several months. It is based on an AER article by Motty Perry and Philip Reny. The score is measured by taking the square root of the sum across all distinct works of the square of the number of adjusted citations, the adjustment being for the typical number of references in the field of the paper (the field is defined by NEP, if there are several fields a geometric average is used, no adjustment if field is not defined). Thus, this ranking favors those who have some work that that is much more cited than others. The other citation criteria that are currently used are sums of citations, several with citations weighted by various impact factors. The only ones that differ from this model are the H-index (which favors a more uniform distribution of citations across works), and criteria based on the number of economists citing.

The addition of the Euclidian criterion would thus introduce a new angle in the list of criteria: having some particularly influential work instead of a larger body of work. As noted in the article, this criterion also has a number of properties that no other criterion has. Vote below if you think such a criterion should be added to those retained for the aggregate ranking.

Exclusion of extreme criteria for economists

The procedure for the aggregation of the ranking criteria currently excludes the worst and best criteria for every economist. The rationale for this is that one should not be penalized too much for being particularly bad with one criterion, and not shoot up too much in the rankings if only one criterion is very good. The fact that only one of each is excluded has been repeatedly discussed in the community, and given that that we may be adding another criterion (potentially the 36th) is an opportunity to revisit this. The vote below asks whether more extremes should be excluded from consideration. Note that it will be assumed that if you vote for “3”, you would also approve of “2” as the current status quo is “1”.

Euclidian ranking for serials

Similarly to economists, an Euclidian ranking can be computed for serials (journals, working paper series, book series, chapter series). For serials, we similarly construct an aggregate ranking across criteria. This ranking is little used to our knowledge. The question here is whether to include the Euclidian ranking in that computation. Note that ranking is not yet available.

Euclidian ranking for institutions

It is currently not clear how the Euclidian ranking for institutions would be computed. The problem is how to treat economists with multiple affiliations. For other criteria that are based on simple sums, the current practice is to multiply the scores by the relevant affiliation share. This does not make much sense for a sum of squares. There is a similar problem for the H-index that was resolved by redefining it. Should a solution be found, the same aggregation approach would be used as for economists.

Exclusion of extreme criteria for institutions

This poll is the mirror image of the one for economists. The only difference is that we have currently 32 instead of 35 criteria. Due to this difference, a separate poll is offered.

Update, 19 May 2017 Polls are closed. The Euclidian ranking will be added and two best and two lowest criteria will be removed. Same rules apply for economist and institutional rankings. The latter will include experimentally the root of the weighted sum of square Euclidian scores of their members.


RePEc in March 2017

April 4, 2017

Over the past month, the new help page has been further expanded. We also got a large crop of newly participating archives: Central Bank of Malta, Bank of Russia, Waseda University, Inha University, Technische Universität Chemnitz, Vernon Press, Asian Online Journal Publishing Group, Université Paris 1 (II), European Systemic Risk Board, Luxembourg Income Study, University of Portsmouth, and Universidad Loyola Andalucía. We counted 620,664 file downloads and 2,348,514 abstract views. And we reached the following milestones:

80’000’000 abstract views on EconPapers
90 countries with RePEc archives