Should IDEAS add reader-contributed user notes to abstract pages?

RePEc is always looking for ways to offer more useful services to the Economics community. One suggestion that we receive on a regular basis is to make is possible to add public comments, “user notes”, about the papers disseminated by RePEc. In this blog post, we offer a proposal for such a feature on IDEAS, with proposed rules and a poll to see whether the Economics community would be interested in this new feature.

This should give the opportunity to readers of the papers to offer their comments, for authors to provide clarifications, for conference discussants to provide their thoughts to a wider audience, and even for referees to make public their reports, if they wish so.

Rules of user notes on IDEAS


  1. A RePEc user account (RePEc Author Service) with clear identification is necessary to post a user note.
  2. There is a delay of a day between the creation of an account and the privilege of posting.
  3. Posts retain the name of the poster even after deletion of the account.
  4. Posts should remain professional and on topic. Readers can report abuses to moderators (no registration required). The text of moderated posts will become invisible, with poster name still visible and reason for moderation declared. Posters can appeal moderation decisions.
  5. Registered authors and previous posters in a thread will be alerted about a new user note. Authors have the opportunity to opt out of alerts for the associated paper or all their papers.
  6. A bulletin board is available to see new user notes. Boards are also available by subfield (if no subfield can be determined automatically by JEL codes or NEP reports, the first poster can set the subfield).
  7. A user note posted for one version of a paper will be visible for all versions of that paper.
  8. User notes are in plain text, with no attachments and no links, of at most 5,000 characters. Posters can thread several posts, though.
  9. There will be no counting of points, likes, upvotes, scores, or other games associates with this.
  10. This set of rules can change as experience warrants, after consultation with users.

This poll is open until 26 December 2018, midnight CST.

6 Responses to Should IDEAS add reader-contributed user notes to abstract pages?

  1. Could you please provide the link to that poll?
    This proposal is a very bad idea. If an ignorant (or ill-willed) reader posts some nonsense about my papers, I would be compelled to respond, which would be a waste of my very scarce research time. Colleagues who disagree with a paper should write a better paper!

  2. If the proposal is adopted, then the authors listed in RePec should have the right/possibility to refuse the posting of “user notes” for their papers.

  3. The poll is visible at the end of the blog post.

  4. I disagree. The scientific discourse is about accepting challenges to one’s results.

  5. You should consider markdown / mathjax as is done e.g. on StackExchange. I don’t see how this could be worse than the time wasted on the average of 17 revisions in 5 journals, and the twitter / blogosphere mudslinging… let alone the vile EJMR. The anonymous BsSWSL has a point though that the users should be allowed to opt out of this if they are too fragile to handle it.

    Yours, pko3.

  6. I’m someone who wants to see this feature in principle, but who thinks it’s probably a Bad Idea for IDEAS to take it on in practice. But BdS’ suggestion to offer an opt-out is a good one, either way. Actually, I think opt-*in* (gloablly and/or per-work) would be even better.

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