Volunteer recognition: José Manuel Barrueco Cruz

January 25, 2009

José Manuel Barrueco Cruz was one of the first volunteers to participate in RePEc, and he is still very active nowadays. As a librarian at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Valencia (Spain), he noticed in 1994 Thomas Krichel‘s efforts with WoPEc and volunteered to help him gathering links to online working papers. When the links became too numerous to manage, they devised the system that underlies RePEc nowadays. José wrote the scripts that allowed to gather the metadata from the various publishers and to display the collected data for the now defunct WoPEc and BibEc websites. He also generously adapted these scripts for the launch of IDEAS.

His major endeavor since 2002 is CitEc, the citation analysis of documents indexed by RePEc. As detailed in previous posts, this is no simple undertaking. First, the references need to be properly extracted from documents. Second, the matching process is made more difficult by the many ways in which references are listed. Finally, the data in RePEc is now so large that important computing resources are necessary, something José found at the neighboring Polytechnical University of Valencia. And the evaluation of institutional archives has now become the subject of his doctoral thesis in library science, while he is concurrently working and teaching at the library for social sciences of the University of Valencia.

Beyond his involvement in documenting research in economics, José is also active in two other projects: DoIS (Documents in Information Science) and E-LIS (Eprints in Library and Information Science). No wonder that he was finalist for the European Business Librarian of the Year award in 1999

RePEc archives: BC Statistical Software Components archive

January 16, 2009

One of the most actively accessed RePEc series is the Boston College Statistical Software Components (SSC) archive. This was the first RePEc series to list software, rather than working papers, journal articles, books or chapters. It currently contains 1,275 items in a number of programming languages, over 1,000 of which relate to the Stata statistical package. Stata has the unique capability to download user-written components and install them over the web, and its developers have in fact written a ‘ssc’ command that accesses the archive. Users may search the SSC Archive from within Stata or from the web interface of IDEAS or EconPapers.

The series is the 7th most popular series (in terms of total downloads) over the past 12 months, as documented by LogEc for downloads through RePEc services. Downloads of Stata components (“ado-files”), including directly from Stata, are tracked separately, and total over 100,000 per month. A custom perl script is used to translate the RePEc template for each package into the Stata .pkg file format used by web-aware Stata. The availability of a single, reliable site from which user-written routines can be easily downloaded has made the SSC Archive a very important part of the Stata user community.

Institutional repositories and RePEc

January 10, 2009

More and more institutions are adopting mandates that force their researchers to put their works, published or not, in institutional repositories. The idea is that this research should be openly accessible to all, instead of being locked by the password of an online publisher. Such mandates are, however, of little use if those works cannot be found by others. Search indexes like Google (Scholar) or OAIster are often not capable of sorting efficiently for the purposes of a researcher. It is therefore important that works from institutional repositories be also indexed in field specific indexes, like RePEc for economics.

RePEc does not house files, it only indexes them. Thus, the goal is not to push PDFs to RePEc, but rather to push the appropriate metadata about those PDFs. Software used in institutional repositories typically generates metadata, unfortunately not in the format required by RePEc (which predates any other format). Thus, metadata needs to be converted. We make available a variety of scripts, typically written in perl that are easily customizable to local needs, in particular for DigitalCommons, DSpace and EPrints. Other converters are always welcome to be added to the list.

RePEc in December 2008, and what we have done over the year 2008

January 2, 2009

Some may validly argue that 2008 was not the best year, but the RePEc project certainly cannot complain. Whichever statistics you look at, it has been a stellar year: 10,000 bibliographic items were added every month, including from 700 new series and journals and 126 new participating archives, 3,500 authors joined, we recorded 31,000,000 abstract views and 8,000,000 document downloads and 4,000 NEP reports announcing new working papers were sent. Such intense activity is going to be difficult to beat in 2009.

In terms of new features, we added RSS feeds for the NEP reports, introduced the RePEc Input Service to facilitate data entry in some cases, and IDEAS moved to a new server sponsored by the Society for Economic Dynamics.

Now for the monthly report about December 2009, we surpassed 400,000 listed journal articles, we witnessed 704,217 file downloads and 2,619,953 abstract views, and added content from the following 12 new archives: Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Petru Maior University, Universidad de Murcia, University of Applied Sciences Berlin, Journal of Economic Education, Central Bank of Cyprus, University of Oradea, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Tulane University, Romanian Academy of Economic Sciences, Ave Maria University.

In terms of thresholds, we passed the following over the last month:

100,000,000 cumulative abstract views of working papers
35,000,000 cumulative file downloads through RePEc services
30,000,000 cumulative abstract views on EconPapers
25,000,000 yearly abstract views on IDEAS
400,000 listed articles
275,000 listed working papers
200,000 cumulative chapter downloads
150,000 cumulative book downloads
11,000 institutions listed
2,400 working paper series