Methodological changes to LogEc data

LogEc is the RePEc project that consolidates usage statistics from several RePEc services. It provides publishers and authors some insight into how popular their works are with RePEc users. The participating RePEc services are EconPapers, IDEAS, NEP, and Socionet.

The idea of LogEc is to measure human traffic, not traffic from robots, spiders, or other manipulations. Typically, over 90% has been thrown away as not considered human, using a variety of controls, both scripted and manual. A continuous increase in robotic traffic has made it more and more difficult to handle the separation of good and bad use of the sites. In recent months, it has been especially worrisome that several DDOS attacks have taken place on some of the sites, leading to sub-optimal service from the servers, and an even larger share of robotic traffic. Note also that web scrapers do not need to get the RePEc data that way, as it is already freely available through various means described here.

In light of these problems and the workload on the volunteers they generate, we have changed the way legitimate traffic is counted. The new approach leads to lower final numbers that, while likely eliminating some legitimate human traffic, gives a better picture of human traffic. The approach is used uniformly across all the data, thus we do not believe this introduces any bias. But one consequence dear to any of users familiar to time series: From January 2022, the numbers will not be comparable to the numbers until December 2021.

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