When an email address goes bad

July 25, 2012

Authors register with the RePEc Author Service using their email address, which serves as a user name. That email address is also used by the service to alert them about new potential works to add to their profile and to send them monthly statistics. Occasionally, some of these emails bounce back to the service: the mailbox is full, or the address has become obsolete. What happens now?

First, EconPapers and IDEAS add a mention to the author profile page encouraging users to supply a new email address to the RePEc Author Service. IDEAS also publishes the complete list of lost authors.

Second, lost authors are considered without affiliation for ranking purposes. Indeed, a major reason why an email address goes bad is that the author has moved, in which case the affiliation is likely obsolete. Another reason may be that the author has died, in which case having an affiliation make no sense.

Third, once the email address has remained bad for a second month, the administrator of the RePEc Author Service goes fishing for a better one. This involves Internet searches, asking co-authors and former colleagues. This is repeated later if necessary.

These efforts have allowed to keep the number of lost authors remarkably low: currently 273, or 0.8% of all registered authors. To this, add 152 authors who are known to be deceased. The records of the latter continue to be maintained by volunteers, as research may still be added posthumously, or new archives may still join with works written by these scholars.

We appreciate any help in tracing lost authors, notifications about deceased authors and support in maintaining their profiles. Simply email the administrator of the RePEc Author Service.

Rules for email addresses in RePEc

July 12, 2012

Many people trust RePEc with their email address. RePEc earned this trust, we believe, by not abusing the use of these email addresses. This has been so far an implicit commitment, as no policy was established. This post now puts in words the practice since the inception of RePEc in 1997, and establishes a few additional rules.

Covered email addresses

These rules cover all email addresses that are collected and used by RePEc and its services. These addresses include those contained in metadata from RePEc archives, from author profiles in the RePEc Author Service, and subscriptions to the various NEP mailing lists.

Display of email addresses

RePEc services, if they choose to display email addresses, commit to always encrypt any public email address to prevent harvesting by robots.

Authors registered with the RePEc Author Service have the option to have their email address not displayed. The option is available as a checkbox on the “contact information” page at the RePEc Author Service. In such a case, the RePEc Author Service does not include the address in the metadata disseminated to other RePEc services.

NEP does not display any email address. Only the list maintainer (the NEP editor) has access to subscription details.

Use of email addresses

RePEc archive and series maintainers receive one monthly email from RePEc with statistics, reminders and links pertaining to their material. They may receive additional messages if a problem arises with their archive or metadata.

RePEc authors also receive a monthly email with statistics, latest citations, and news. It is possible to opt out of the monthly messages by replying to the sender. The RePEc Author Service may also send messages if it suspects an author may have some new works waiting to be claimed.

Email addresses are used as user names in the RePEc Author Service. If a RePEc service requires authentication through the RePEc Author Service, it cannot store this email address unless it is explicitly stated. The authentication form must have a link to a list of authorized services. This list is on the RePEc Author Service site.

NEP subscribers are to receive only messages pertaining to their NEP report, plus rare housekeeping messages. This policy may be amended to also include professional messages, like calls for papers, if relevant to the specific field.

None of the gathered email addresses is to be given, for a fee or not, to any third party. A yearly survey, though, may be conducted on questions relevant to the profession and/or RePEc (one call plus one reminder).

Accuracy of email contacts

It is the responsibility of archive and series maintainers to keep contact information current. This is done by maintaining appropriate coordinates in the archive and series templates of their RePEc archive (files ___arch.rdf and ___seri.rdf). Email addresses are required.

Authors and NEP subscribers are asked to maintain current coordinates so as to reduce the workload of RePEc volunteers. The latter may change an person’s email address in the RePEc Author Service or a NEP mailing lists if it appears to be obsolete.

RePEc in June 2012

July 3, 2012

First off: RePEc is now 15 years old. It was launched at a meeting in Guildford (UK) where Thomas Krichel exposed his idea to a group of people who were already doing some indexing of working papers. Soon thereafter, they started providing the relevant bibliographic metadata in the relevant format and RePEc services could use them. Thomas Krichel had previously been running various initiatives to improve the dissemination of working papers, all the way back to 1991.

Speaking of volunteer personnel, Kyle Fluegge stepped down as NEP editor. His successor is Laura Stefanescu, who is now in charge of creating the weekly list of new working papers submitted to NEP editors, who can then select those relevant to their field.

During June 2012, we counted 520,118 file downloads and 2,010,606 abstract views. We also welcomed the following new participating archives: : HERMIN, Società editrice il Mulino, Catalactica NGO, Bangor University, Missouri Valley Economic Association, Université Bordeaux 4, University of New South Wales (III), Japan Ministry of Finance, Rockwool Foundation, University of South Bohemia, Babes-Bolyai University.

Finally, the following thresholds were reached during the past month:
400000 working papers available online
100000 articles with references
15000 book chapters available online
1500 indexed journals
500 blogs linked on EconAcademics.org with discussions about RePEc material