Keeping contact with authors

August 26, 2008

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.

Promoting academic blogs in Economics

August 16, 2008

Previous discussion on this blog (1, 2) covered the issue of peer review of new research, in particular now that the Internet has become such a predominant medium of communication. One way in which peer-reviewing could work is through blogs, wherein in a blogger discusses a paper and lets others comments on the paper (and the discussion).

Currently little of this is happening in Economics, as blog are much more focussed on discussing current events and each other. To promote the more academic blogs, and to encourage others to open such academic blogs, I just created the Econ Academics Blog, which aggregates those blogs that fit somewhat these criteria at this point. The Econ Academics Blog does not have blog discussions about research, but rather links to them. I hope people will find it useful as a portal and use it on a regular basis to find interesting discussions of academic nature, and that more appropriate blogs will be created.

NEP alerts now available through RSS

August 13, 2008

NEP (New Economics Papers) is an email service that alerts subscribers to new online working papers in their area of interest. About 80 fields are currently available, and the roughly weekly emails are sent free of charge. While the RePEc team thought email dissemination was sufficient, there also appears to be demand for RSS feeds as for this and other blogs. This is now available, and the RSS feeds can be subscribed to by clicking on the relevant field report on the NEP home page.

This new feature was added in typical RePEc fashion: David Hugh-Jones inquired with Marco Novarese why there was no RSS feed, Thomas Krichel encouraged David to set it up, and two days later, it was up.

If you think new features should be added to RePEc, we always welcome suggestions, especially if you are willing to do it yourself… much like many of the available NEP editors have been volunteers who just wanted a particular field to be covered.

RePEc in July 2008

August 3, 2008

While the Summer is usually calm, RePEc has just passed some historic benchmarks in terms of content and traffic: 750 journals listed, 2000 working paper series, half a million works available online, 20 million working paper downloads recorded, 200,000 works that are cited within RePEc. This all reflects the tremendous growth that RePEc continues to enjoy.

New contributors to RePEc during the month on July were: University of Petrosani, University of Sussex, University of Trento, Hanseatic University, Institute of National Economy (Romania), University of Wisconsin Press, TOBB University of Economics, Asociación Española de Contabilidad y Administración de Empresas, European Commission (DG Taxation), and University of Chile.

This month’s traffic numbers were 595,349 file downloads and 2,407,502 abstract views for those RePEc services that provide statistics: EconPapers, IDEAS, NEP and Socionet. These numbers are filtered for multiple downloads, robots and other “unusual” behavior.

Finally, let’s see all the thresholds that have been beaten, an impressive list for a single month:
20,000,000 cumulative working paper downloads
2,000,000 cumulative software component abstract views
500,000 works available online
500,000 cumulative chapter abstract views
333,333 works listed in registered author profiles
200,000 works with citations
125,000 article abstracts
125,000 JEL coded items
17,000 registered authors
2,000 working paper series
1,250 books listed
1,000 books available online
750 journals