Volunteer recognition: Thomas Krichel

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.

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