Economists Online service launches in January 2010

January 28, 2010

[By Dave Puplett]

Economists Online is a new service that provides easy and open access to high-quality multilingual academic output in a single, cross-searchable portal. Economists Online contains research drawn from both the repositories of the project members and from the well established RePEc database.

The launch will be marked at the “Subject Repositories: European collaboration in the international context“conference in London on 28/29th January. Professor Nicholas Barr from The London School of Economics, who will be speaking at the conference, describes Economists Online as “A wonderful treasure trove of easy-to-find resources, all the more because so many can be downloaded directly”.

The Economists Online portal offers a search engine with a multilingual interface that can find both citations and full-text of a wide range of research, including articles, working papers, conference materials and datasets. In addition, the portal provides services such as RSS feeds, author profiles and publication lists. Abstract views and downloads through this portal are integrated into the statistics RePEc provides to users.

Economists Online was established by members of the Nereus Consortium, which consists of prestigious academic economic institutions in Europe and other leading Economics research institutes. Nereus is also providing full access to economic research from about 20 European institutions, both through Economists Online and RePEc.

Why and how RePEc is free

January 22, 2010

RePEc is allowing free access to its services, to readers, authors and publishers. Why? Because we want that research be disseminated the most widely possible and in the most democratic way possible. Everyone should have the same chance at getting read, no matter where the author is located. And everybody should be able to access research, no matter what the means and the location.

Of course, we cannot make research completely free, as some publishers keep their material gated. But whenever possible, we offer alternative, open access versions to gated material. Those versions may not be the latest ones, but they are usually close enough and usable by readers.

But how can we make all those services available for free? For one, we have volunteers who are willing to devote some of their spare time for the cause. Also, the running of RePEc is decentralized to the furthest extend possible. For example, the actual indexing is done by the publishers (following these instructions). As they are the ones who benefit the most from being listed, they are willing to comply with our requirements. Thus the data input is costless to RePEc, and then the collected data is made available to those who would like to build a service with it. Again, volunteers create and manage these services at no cost to RePEc.

Poll on internal disclosure of author statistics

January 14, 2010

The statistics compiled by RePEc are used for various rankings, for example for authors. While we still consider these statistics to be experimental, in particular those pertaining to citations, these numbers are increasingly used for evaluation purposes. We value the privacy of authors and only disclose the statistics for the top ranked ones. Authors get each month a link to their statistics, a link with a code valid only for a month. This avoids a link that may have been disclosed once to be visible forever.

We get more a more requests from department heads to obtain the data for members of their department. Our typical response is to have them ask directly the members of their department to forward them their monthly RePEc emails. But of course, we could also provide directly all the relevant information. The purpose of this poll is to see whether participants in RePEc would favor such a disclosure. The conditions would be:

  1. The request must come directly from the head of the relevant department, by email to Christian Zimmermann
  2. The request contains a link allowing to verify that this person is indeed head.
  3. Statistics would be disclosed only for the members of the department who are currently affiliated with the department, as indicated in their RePEc profiles.
  4. Those with invalid email addresses would be excluded from the analysis, under the presumption that their affiliation may not be current.
  5. The department head would be provided with a link containing the analysis, a link that expires with the next monthly update of the rankings.
  6. The department head needs to be a registered author.
  7. A department would receive at most one disclosure a year.
  8. We reserve the right to refuse disclosing statistics.
  9. By department, we mean any unit with a separate entry in EDIRC.

If you have an opinion about thus please vote below and/or offer a comment. Given the nature of the question, we would require significant more than a majority (two thirds) to offer this service. The poll closes on February 21, 2010.

Update (22/2/2010): This poll is now closed. There was little interest, with only 89 votes, which fell 52-37 in favor of the disclosure. With an approval rate of 58%, it fell short of what I consider a substantial majority for an implementation. Thus, there will be no disclosure to department heads.

RePEc in December 2009, and a look back at 2009

January 7, 2010

And another year came to a close, with RePEc celebrating 1/8 of a century since its founding. But let us first have a look at we was done in the last month. We welcomed 8 new archives: Colegio de economistas de A Coruna, Universidad de Oviedo, Revista de Economia Aplicada, National University of Ireland, Galway, Certified General Accountants Association of Canada, George Zane Institute for Economic and Social Research, China Agricultural University, Basque Centre for Climate Change. Despite this relatively small number of newcomers, over 11,000 new works were added, bringing up the number of listed full texts to over 700,000. Traffic was also high for December, with 714,638 file downloads and 2,519,682 abstract views.

As for 2009, what have we achieved? 150 new archives, 142,000 newly listed works (+21%), of which 133,000 are available online (+23%), 4,000 new registered authors (+22%). I would argue this is tremendous growth for a project that is already 12.5 years old. We started a research blogging initiative, introduced a Facebook application. We counted 9,540,461 downloads and 34,024,922 abstract views.

And let me conclude with the thresholds attained during the last month:
1,000,000 chapter abstract views
700,000 listed full texts
275,000 cited items
200,000 cumulative book downloads
5,000 listed books

Statistics delay

January 1, 2010

The December 2009 statistics, as well as a look back at 2009, will be posted a few days late, as we are attending the ASSA meeting in Atlanta. Stop by at our booth in the exhibitors hall to say hello and discuss about RePEc.

NB: the monthly emails to authors, editors and series maintainers will also be delayed by a few days.