February 21, 2008
Thomas Krichel is not just a RePEc volunteer, he is RePEc. In 1991, as an research assistant at the Economic Department of Loughborough University, he saw the potential that the Internet gave for the dissemination of research in Economics, but could not manage to get a hold on good data about new working papers. In February 1993, on a lectureship at the University of Surrey, he was more lucky and teamed with Féthy Mili, Economics librarian at the Université de Montréal, who contributed data on 250 series, and Hans Amman (University of Amsterdam), who let Thomas use his coryfee mailing list. Bob Parks soon joined with his Economics Working Paper Archive at Washington University. Thus the NetEc project was launched. It moved to a gopher server at the Manchester Computing Centre in 1993, and then to the web. That year, Thomas also got help in collecting data from José Manuel Barrueco Cruz, Economics librarian at the University of Valencia. But soon they realized that there was too much information out on the Internet for just the two of them to collect.
This is when Thomas suggested the creation of RePEc which would completely decentralize the data input: the publishers, who benefit the most from having their papers listed on web indexes, were to index the works themselves. With the collaboration of Sune Karlsson (SWoPEc, Stockholm School of Economics), Bob Parks and Corry Stuyts (DEGREE, Netherlands), José and Thomas then launched RePEc in June 1997. It still works under the same principles, with great success.
Thomas is still the heart and soul of RePEc. He has his hand in almost every project that is undertaken. After completing his Economics PhD at the University of Surrey, he moved to Long Island University to take a position of assistant professor in … Library Studies. Now tenured, he is an eminence grise in the online provision of bibliographic data and is pushing the RePEc concept into other fields. Within RePEc, most of his attention is currently directed towards NEP, the email notification service on new working papers.
February 14, 2008
The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities is an initiative that tries to establish which universities provides to most content on the web and get visibility from it. The ranking of universities is based on the size of the web domain (20%), the number of rich files available (PDF, RTF, etc., 15%), Research on Google Scholar (15%), and link visibility (50%). Not surprisingly, US universities monopolize the 24 first spots, led by MIT.
Webometrics also ranks repositories, the criteria being the same as for universities. The ranking is led by Arxiv, the grand-daddy of all repositories covering much of Physics and Mathematics. RePEc is number 2, followed by E-LIS, a repository in Library Sciences founded by Thomas Krichel, who is also at the origin of RePEc!
Other notables down the list: HAL, a French repository that feeds to RePEc at number 9, CDLIB, the University of California Repository, a RePEc participant at number 19, SSRN, not in RePEc, at number 37, the Munich Personal RePEc Archive, barely a year old, is already number 56, and AgEconSearch, not in RePEc, is ranked number 126.
February 7, 2008
IDEAS just moved to a new server sponsored by the Society for Economic Dynamics. The old server, which was sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Connecticut had been running almost flawlessly since October 2002, but was starting to get overwhelmed by the amount of material now in RePEc and by the heavy traffic and number crunching it entails. While the amount of material more than tripled, the complexity of the data increased much more than that, given the links with authors, references, citations, JEL codes, NEP reports, rankings, institutions, publication compilations, and reading lists.
The new server has more computational power, more memory and especially more disk space. As before, it is hosting IDEAS, EDIRC and QM&RBC. It also hosts the website of the Society of Economic Dynamics, which is willing to sponsor it as it was looking for space to host the datasets and program codes used for articles published in the Review of Economic Dynamics. The server is also set up to provide limited emergency support in case another RePEc service is failing. The hosting continues to be provided by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Connecticut. In particular, Tim Ruggieri from the CLAS Computer Support Group helped with the configuration of the server.
RePEc relies entirely on the support of volunteers in its operations. Contact us if you want to help in one way or the other.
February 2, 2008
Every month, a short summary of what happened with RePEc is sent to the RePEc-announce mailing list. I also put that message, slightly adapted, on this blog.
The RePEc Author Service was unfortunately down for 10 days. We hope this was only a temporary problem, and full functionalities will be restored soon. The RePEc Blog was very helpful in keeping user abreast of the situation.
Contentwise, a notable addition has been the complete listing of the Journal of Political Economy, starting in 1893. In terms of traffic, 552,272 file downloads and 1,946,427 abstract views were recorded within the month, significantly up from a year ago. This leads us to the thresholds we have passed this month:
90,000,000 abstract views on IDEAS
450,000 online items
275,000 paper announcements through NEP
175,000 items with citations
170,000 online papers
170,000 papers with abstract
80,000 papers with citations
30,000 articles with references
900 books online