Weathering the crisis

February 25, 2009

The news are filled with reports of financial difficulties and funding is being cut left and right for all sorts of programs. How is RePEc affected? On the revenue side, we are happy to report that it is stable, at zero. On the expense side, we seem to be unchanged, at zero as well. RePEc is completely run by volunteers so that it does not rely on funding and can provide its services for free to everyone.

That does not mean that there are no risks. RePEc services also rely on hardware and hosting services. So far, we have managed to find sponsors for those. We have little slack, though. If a machine were to fail, or a host were to give up a slot, we would have to scramble for solutions. We are therefore always on the lookout for new opportunities. We even have a new project currently looking for a home. If you are interested in any capacity, do not hesitate to contact us!

RePEc archives: AgEcon Search

February 18, 2009

This guest post was written by Julie Kelly and Louise Letnes.

Over the past few months, the papers that make up AgEcon Search have been added to RePEc. All papers are available in full text, and they include working papers, conference papers and articles from smaller journals.

AgEcon Search includes a wide range of topics in applied economics, including agricultural, development, energy, environmental, and resource economics. Over 170 groups from 20+ countries contribute their work. As of early 2009, 27 journals are included.

The journals that are included in AgEcon Search are mostly small press journals with limited circulation, and for many it is the only electronic access that is available. Some have volumes back to the 1940s, and a number obtained small grants for the digitizing of older materials. A few have one or two year embargoes on the newest issues, but most do not. Recently, several of the journals have dropped their embargoes.

AgEcon Search began in 1994 as a local solution for the applied and agricultural economics working papers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin. It is housed at the University of Minnesota, and co-sponsored by the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA).

The involvement of the large professional associations has been critical to the success of AgEcon Search. Economists presenting Contributed Papers at the annual AAEA meeting must submit their full papers to AgEcon Search prior to the meeting, or they will be dropped from the program. The European Association of Agricultural Economists and the International Association of Agricultural Economists have adopted similar procedures.

Two librarians, Louise Letnes and Julie Kelly, serve as coordinators of AgEcon Search. They work at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Applied Economics and the University Libraries, respectively. Among their duties, they attend agricultural and applied economics conferences to promote AgEcon Search and recruit new material.

Economics Search Engine

February 11, 2009

The Economics Search Engine (ESE) is a subset of the Google search engine that restricts its searches to 23,000 economics web sites. It is an outgrowth of Resources for Economists on the Internet (RFE) which lists and describes items for economists. Today many users prefer to use search engines to find resources of interest, so ESE was developed with the assistance of Hal Varian and Othar Hansson, both of Google. ESE not only searches web sites listed in RFE, but also web sites from RePEc Author Services (over 19,000 economists have registered) and Economics Departments, Institutes and Research Centers in the World (EDIRC), which lists more than 11,000 such sites. Thus, by searching at ESE, a user interested in an economic topic is searching over a substantial fraction of the web devoted to economic issues.

ESE is implemented with a Google Custom Search Engine, which enables users to set up a site that restricts a Google search to a user-selected set of sites. It takes some work to set up one as large as ESE, but smaller ones are quite straightforward and doubtless many would benefit from setting one up for their own needs. As with many Google services, it is currently in beta test-mode, so the results might be problematic at times.

To make ESE particularly easy to use, it includes a “Search Plugin” for Internet Explorer 7.0 or FireFox 2.0 and 3.0 users. This allows you to initiate searches directly from a search box in your browser; thus you don’t even need to visit ESE directly. You should be offered one for ESE when you check your search plugins when you’re at the ESE web site.

RePEc in January 2009

February 3, 2009

The big news this month is that we have now surpassed 700,000 bibliographic items listed in RePEc. The last 100,000 additions took only 7 months, something that seems difficult to beat. The other news is that the ranking methodology has changed following the discussion on this blog. Essentially, authors with multiple affiliations are now treated differently, as they contribute with variable weights to each of their affiliations, and these weights are used to distribute their scores across the countries and regions they are ranked in. Also, a NEP report for the Arab World was created. Finally, we experienced heavy traffic on our sites, with 766,586 file downloads and 2,756,978 abstract views in January 2009.

New participants in RePEc are: Universität Augsburg, Universität Bielefeld, World Agroforestry Centre, University of Craiova, Centre of Financial and Monetary Research “Victor Slavescu”, Hokkaido University, Kobe University, Romanian National Institute of Economic Research, C.D. Howe Institute, Central Bank and Financial Authority of Ireland, University of Virginia (II), Danubius University, INRA-Nancy, Utah State University, University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf, University of Resita

With regard to major thresholds reached during the month, we can report:
4,000,000 extracted references
700,000 items listed
500,000 abstract views through Socionet
350,000 online articles
125,000 cited articles
100,000 cited working papers
50,000 subscriptions to the NEP email notification service
3,500 series and journals listed