One crucial aspect of RePEc are the regular mailing that participants get. Indeed, it is easy to forget that one participates in some initiative if one is not reminded about it from time to time. Thus, authors registered in the RePEc Author Service get an email every month with statistics, a list of new citations that were discovered, and some news about RePEc. Since we have started these emails, we noticed that authors have become much more diligent in making sure their profiles were up-to-date and that they have responded to suggestions made in the emails.
One issue that arises over time is that emails become obsolete, as authors move or institutions normalize email addresses. When their email address changes, authors are asked to log in under their old address (which is the username), then change their contact details to the new address (which becomes the new username). Creating a new profile with the new address leads to duplicates.
But some authors forget, as they do not check their old mailboxes. Eventually, the monthly emails bounce, and these authors are placed on the list of lost authors, along with a mention in their online profiles on EconPapers and IDEAS. This list has been very useful in keeping the number of bad emails down, currently 243 out of 17,300. as they and others come forward with updates. Sometimes, we also learn that some authors have unfortunately passed away. Their profile is kept online, hopefully in perpetuity.
Apart from the 17,300 authors with works listed in RePEc, the RePEc Author Service has also about 5500 registrants with no listed works. Either they chose not to claim the listed works, oversaw this feature while registering, or simply registered erroneously. These people get a reminder every six months. Emails that bounce are promptly removed from the service, as these profiles serve no purpose. Indeed, the RePEc Author Service is about assembling publication, affiliation and contact information of authors.