Just in time for Open Access Week: 1 million Economics working papers indexed in RePEc

October 22, 2020

As we celebrate the yearly Open Access Week, we are proud to announce that RePEc now indexes over one million working papers, as pre-prints are typically called in Economics. Working papers have long been at the heart of economic research, and RePEc has been there from its start to help with their dissemination.

The theme of the Open Access Week this year is “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion.” This theme resonates strongly with RePEc. Indeed, our mission is to enhance for everyone the dissemination of economic research. RePEc was created specifically to help those who were outside the informal dissemination networks for working papers and allow them to follow the research frontier. Indeed, as publication delays from submission to print take years, the working paper is the best informer of current research. Before RePEc, one needed to be “within the club” to be even aware of new papers, let alone have access to them. With RePEc, anybody can find them and in most cases also read them, years before they get published in a journal.

The current Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to rapid access to ungated research for everyone. While this has been a problem in other fields, this has not been the case in Economics. At the time of this writing, over 6000 works are available through RePEc, and almost all can be downloaded for free.

Equity and inclusion are thus about giving the same chance at reading and getting read. All services are free and open to every one. Authors get their institution to participate and index their research output, for free (instructions). If the institution is unwilling to do so, authors can upload their papers, for example at MPRA, again for free. Readers can leverage the various RePEc services to discover new research (and older, too), for free. The metadata is even relayed to other popular indexing services, you guessed it, for free (even if some of them do require a subscription). But beyond being free, it is important to note that no one will be rejected, as long as their writing is about economics and is academic research. And everybody can access the papers.

We are happy to see that authors from the Southern Hemisphere are increasingly submitting the papers to RePEc. As RePEc was built specifically for those who not have the privilege to work or study in the top universities, we are particularly proud at seeing the increasing share of readers from Southern countries, too. In total the traffic we see splits in the following way: Asia 35%, Europe 24%, North America 19%, Africa 10%, South and Central America 9%, Oceania 3%. We saw users from every country over the last year.

While the penetration of open access journals is likely lower in economics compared to other fields, we have with our working paper culture a powerful substitute. Even after a paper has been published in a journal, we observe that the working paper version is read many times more that the article. While a journal publication may still bring some prestige, getting read (and ultimately cited) requires a working paper. The publication process in a journal is littered with hurdles that may be to high for some,and thus some good research may not get visible that way. But working papers give everyone a fair chance.


RePEc in September 2020

October 7, 2020

The highlight of the month is that we reached 60,000 registered authors. One way to view how remarkable this is: it is a multiple of the combined memberships of the three largest associations of economists. We also welcomed a good crop of new contributing RePEc archives: University of Kansas(II), Labour Institute for Economic Research (Finland), New School of Social Research(II), Universidad Nacional de La Plata, UC Louvain (II), Central European Journal of Labour Law and Personnel Management, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Centre for Advanced Studies in Education Sciences(Romania), Birmingham City University. We counted 509,975 file downloads and 2,749,902 abstract views over the last month. Finally, we reached the following milestones:

1,000,000 cumulative book downloads
750,000 articles with extracted references
60,000 registered authors
14,000 economists listed in the RePEc Genealogy
500 seminars listed in the Economics Virtual Seminar Calendar


Who are the authors registered with RePEc?

September 24, 2020

The number of authors registered with the RePEc Author Service has surpassed 60’000. We take this opportunity to take a look at some of the characteristics of this group.


For starters, one has to realize that this is a really large group. While anybody can register (for example to exploit some of personalized RePEc services like MyIDEAS), the 60’000 are those who have any sort of publication listed in RePEc. This group of published economists is much larger than the body of economists who are members of the three largest associations in the profession: The American Economic Association, the European Economics Association, and the Econometric Society. They have a total membership of about 25’000, including individuals who are members of several societies. Does this mean that RePEc is comprehensive? One indicator is to compare those registered to some other listing of economists. For example, a ranking of the top 1000 economists computed in 2000 shows now that about 91% have a RePEc account. Of course, we would welcome a more recent analysis, and RePEc membership is likely “top-heavy,” yet we hope you are impressed as us.

How did we get to 60’000? Here is a short-time line:

5’000 May 2004
10’000 June 2006
15’000 December 2007
20’000 April 2009
25’000 August 2010
30’000 October 2011
40’000 April 2014
50’000 May 2017
60’000 September 2020


Then, what is the composition of those 60’000? 25.5% are female, 1% are known to be deceased, another 2.5% have been lost, that is, their email address is bouncing and may have moved or died (update welcome!). In terms of geographic representation, we find economists in 167 countries and territories:

Africa 2.5% South Africa 0.5%, Nigeria 0.4%, Tunisia 0.4%, Ghana 0.2%
Asia 11% China 1.9%, Japan 1.9%, India 1.5%, Turkey 1.4%, Pakistan 0.7%
Europe 49% UK 6.1%, France 5.9%, Germany 5.7%, Italy 5.1%, Spain 3.7%, Russia 2.3%, Romania 1.9%, Netherlands 1.9%
Latin America/Caribbean 4.4% Brazil 1.3%, Colombia 1.1%, Chile 0.7%, Mexico 0.6%, Argentina 0.5%
North America 22.4% United States 19.6%, Canada 2.8%
Oceania 3.2% Australia 2.4%, New Zealand 0.5%
No affiliation/unknown 7.5%


Defining our authors by field is more tricky. They do not declare a field upon registration. We cannot use JEL codes as the coverage in the publisher-contributed data is lacking. We infer fields from the proportion of working papers announced in particular NEP reports. There are eligibility criteria in terms of number of works in a field to be counted. Measured that way for the 46% that qualify, the top fields are (an author may be in several fields, 100% is all qualifying authors):

Macroeconomics 25.2%
Urban and Real Estate 13.3%
Labor 11.2%
Central Banking 10.3%
Monetary 10.2%
Environment 9.6%
Dynamic General Equilibrium 8.8%
Agricultural 8.5%
International Trade 8.5%
Energy 8.3%
Banking 7.9%

RePEc in August 2020

September 5, 2020

For once, we welcomed just a single new participating archive, from the University of Johannesburg. We counted 437,145 file downloads and 2,761,617 abstract views. And we reached the following milestones:

2,500,000 items with abstracts
60,000 book chapters available online
500 indexed book series


RePEc can help you with working off-campus

August 31, 2020

Now that in many universities classes are starting again, and in many cases this is happening through online courses, we thought it would be useful to show how RePEc can help. Of course, as RePEc is an open bibliography, this will be mostly about its bibliographic features.

As you provide readings or reading lists to your students, keep in mind that their access to the reading material may not be the same as when they were on campus. This matters particularly when they try to reach gated journal articles (and some of the few gated working paper series). Instead of giving your students links to the articles on the publishers’ websites, consider rather given them a link of the same article on EconPapers or IDEAS. Why? First, RePEc makes an effort to provide alternative, non-gated versions of the articles, typically as working papers, which can be accessed no matter where your students are. Second, RePEc provides more context to facilitate the exploration of the literature, such as links to references and citations, author profiles, etc.

RePEc makes it even possible for you to maintain online bibliographies that you can share. There are two options: If you want to share your reading list with everyone (and get a link to your reading list from the listed items), create it with this tool on IDEAS, which also lists the reading lists that have already been compiled. If you want to keep the reading list just for your students, you can create a bibliography folder with MyIDEAS, make it public and share a link with your students. Building your bibliography is easy: log in, navigate IDEAS, click on the “Save…” icon above the title of a paper or article, and once done assign the relevant items to a folder you can choose to make public.

Depending on your curriculum, you may want to add material related to Covid-19. At the time of this writing, there are over 4000 papers on the topic indexed in RePEc. To help you navigate this, use the RePEc Biblio, in particular the topic on economics of pandemics and more specifically on Covid-19.

Finally, with no workshops, seminars or conferences on location for the foreseeable future, much of this activity as moved online. To find what is scheduled, or to advertise your activities, check out the Economics Virtual Seminar Calendar.

And if you have suggestions on how we can further help, do not hesitate to contact us!


RePEc in July 2020

August 6, 2020

July is usually a very calm month, but we still got a good crop on new participating archives: Technical University Munich (II), Nazarbayev University, ECONtribute, Columbia University (II), Université Catholique de Louvain (II), National Academy of Sciences (USA), Asociación Argentina de Economía Política. Also, we counted 454,745 file downloads and 2,361,833 abstract views. Finally we reached the following milestones:

200,000,000 cumulative abstract views for articles
3,000,000 items available online
1,250,000 items with extracted references


A replication database for economics and social sciences: The ReplicationWiki

August 4, 2020

This is a guest post by Jan H. Höffler

The ReplicationWiki currently offers a database of 4,484 studies from the social sciences for which empirical methods were used. It lists which of the studies have data and code available online. In cases where replications are known they are classified by their type and results.

The topic of replication has become more and more prominent in the scholarly discourse in recent years. Yet, much needs to be done to make the availability of code and data more mainstream. To highlight how much work still lies ahead, even recent publications on the topic of replication in leading journals are not replicable and contain major flaws. For example, the authors of a study calling to make replication the norm that was published in Nature do not make their replication material available, ignoring the rules on data availability of the journal and the sponsor, the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences. Or, a study published in Research Policy came to the conclusion that work published in the top 5 economics general interest journals are less likely to attract replications published in leading journals, although the authors’ own data shows exactly the opposite.

So how can we get more replications to improve on the state of economics and discuss cases like the ones listed above? One important way is to include replication in the education of economists as was suggested by Daniel Hamermesh in his 2007 article on replication in the Canadian Journal of Economics. The ReplicationWiki followed this approach by setting up a teaching initiative that was presented, among others, at the Research Transparency Forum of the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) and Annual Meetings of the American Economic Association (2014, 2016). Seminars on replication were held at universities in Germany, Canada, China, and Switzerland and at a workshop in San Francisco with the Institute for New Economic Thinking Young Scholars Initiative, BITSS, and the Project Teaching Integrity in Empirical Research.

The advantage of the wiki approach lies especially in the fact that users can contribute to it without publishing a journal article. A working paper series was started for this purpose. Forum and blog posts can also be included as long as they have a verifiable author and make a contribution regarding the replicability of a published empirical study. On the studies’ discussion pages even very short comments can help other users like “To make the code work I had to add … at line …” or “The data has been moved to the following URL: …”.

For instructors, the wiki can help to identify examples for coursework as it allows searching for studies for which data and code are available, for which software was used that is accessible to the students, and for which a method was used that they should learn about. With the help of JEL codes and keywords preferred topics can also be searched for. Depending on the location of the students, it can also be motivating for them to see if research is available based on data from their home country (click here for an example). If it is not, they may be encouraged to compare results based on data from their country or region with the existing published research. For the students it can be an additional motivation if they can easily share their results with the research community via the ReplicationWiki.

The ReplicationWiki was described in more detail in a journal article. In the 2017 American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings an overview was given of economics journals’ data policies as well as of the distribution of the use of different software packages and of the geographical origin of the data used. In that article, some evidence was also presented that indicates that studies for which replication material is made available may attract more citations. This should be seen as a motivation for authors of empirical work who are willing to share their material to point this out by adding this information to the wiki. The ReplicationWiki has recently added a number of additional features. Now there are overviews of the methods, data sources and software used in the studies. In addition to replications the wiki now also provides information about corrections that have been published and whether studies have been retracted. Complex searches are now possible with a more user-friendly interface.

Initially the wiki covered studies mainly published in the Journal of Applied Econometrics, which already started an online data archive in 1995, the Journal of Political Economy, the American Economic Review and the four American Economic Journals. Now it covers studies published in 231 journals, 36 working paper series & blogs and 27 books. It lists 652 replications, 23 corrections and 14 retractions. As the wiki has been cited from a number of neighboring fields as an example to follow, it is becoming a hub for all social sciences. There have already been contributions in particular from political science and sociology.

The ReplicationWiki’s pages have been accessed more than 6.6 million times so far. It has been mentioned numerous times in the media, and more than 260 users from around the world have registered. As a wiki, it lives off the contributions of its users. We hope to encourage more users to contribute to this tool, or simply use it. In particular, one site feature that could become more valuable with higher participation is the ability to vote which studies should be replicated.

In July 2014, a cooperation with RePEc was started via a link exchange. For studies listed in the ReplicationWiki a link appears in the IDEAS section “Related works & more” under “Lists” like in this case, and on the authors’ pages under “Citations/Wikipedia mentions” like here.

Is your work listed? Check in and add it if not!


RePEc in June 2020

July 5, 2020

RePEc occasionally adds new functionalities, and when they do not work out, one has to accept to shut them down. We have stopped disseminating the new working papers from NEP through Twitter. This service was popular, with over 20,000 followers. Unfortunately, Twitter kept blocking the feeds and it was simple not workable. One can still get the NEP reports through email and RSS. The listings of economists on Twitter and the associated Twitter lists are still functional.

Over the last month, we counted 536,405 file downloads and 2,930,444 abstract views. We welcomed a few new participating archives: Institute of Statistics, Biostatistics and Actuarial Science, Learning Gate Publishing, Eastern Centre of Science and Education, Monash University(II). Finally, the milestone we reached:

700,000 articles with extracted references


EDIRC, the directory of economics institutions

June 30, 2020

RePEc is not just a bibliographic database, it is also a collection of services that leverage this database and in some cases also add to the data. One such service is EDIRC, a directory of economics institutions. Actually launched before RePEc existed, EDIRC lists since 1995 any institution that primarily employs economists in the public and academic sectors: economics departments, research centers, business schools, policy institutions, think tanks. Consulting shops are only listed is they contribute publications to RePEc. Over 14,000 institutions are listed, including over 800 societies and associations. Missing entries and corrections can be emailed to the maintainer.

As common with RePEc data, entries are shared with other services that can make good use of them. Thus, the RePEc Author Service offers EDIRC entries as potential affiliations to registered authors. The RePEc Genealogy uses them as potential Alma maters. EDIRC in turn uses this new information to display the members and alumni of an institution, including a link to their aggregated publications as listed on IDEAS. Note that maintainers of RePEc archives can also use the EDIRC handle of their institution in the description of their series, which creates a link between the EDIRC entry and the IDEAS listing, and back. RePEc is all about sharing and integration of information!


RePEc in May 2020

June 5, 2020

RePEc is back in full swing, with lots of new material indexed and lots of traffic as well. During last month, we counted 627,455 file downloads and 2,912,146 abstract views, and welcomed the following publishers: Institute of Business Administration (Karachi), ILMA University, Journal of Research in Economics, Politics & Finance, Association for Cultural and Socio-Economic European Collaboration, Indian Journal of Commerce & Management Studies, Gran Sasso Science Institute, IJSAB International, London Academy of Science and Business. And we reached the following milestones:

240,000,000 cumulative working paper abstract views
60,000,000 cumulative working paper downloads
3,200,000 indexed items
800,000 working papers with abstracts
12,000 blog posts indexed on EconAcademics.org