What is RePEc? How does it operate?

September 29, 2022

Many are confused about RePEc is and how it operates, in particular in relationship with the various RePEc services. The core RePEc team gathered and drafted an attempted at high-level explanations that are found below as well as on the RePEc homepage.

RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) is an initiative that seeks to enhance the dissemination of research in Economics and related areas. We want to make research more accessible both for the authors and the readers. RePEc is a crowd-sourced effort: a) thousands of people and organizations contribute the underlying data, b) a core team of contributors manage the system, and c) sponsor organizations provide the infrastructure. As such, the RePEc initiative has no central expenses, and thus can provide all services for free to all users.

How RePEc operates:

Every publisher or provider puts text files describing their publications on their server. These files follow a simple but rigorous machine-readable syntax. They can then be automatically mirrored and made available to the public on the various RePEc websites. Some RePEc services complement these data with additional information such as citations or author details. RePEc is thus a facilitator that organizes the data for others to use.

How you can use RePEc as a provider or publisher:

Join over 2000 providers and publishers to increase the visibility of your publications. Follow these step-by-step instructions to create your RePEc archive. They show how to quickly set up your RePEc archive on your http, https, or ftp server and describe the syntax of the required metadata for working papers, journal articles, books, chapters, and software. For the complete technical details on the infrastructure and the metadata, you can also read about the Guilford protocol and ReDIF.

How you can use RePEc as a reader:

You can explore economic literature on two RePEc services. On EconPapers and IDEAS, search and browse, or follow links to author profiles, references, citations, keywords, or classifications. You can get notifications of new material with two other RePEc services, NEP and MyIDEAS.

How you can use RePEc as an author:

With the RePEc Author Service, you can create a profile of your indexed works. This allows the other RePEc services to link your profile to your works and vice versa. You also get notifications about the visibility of your works and citations newly found by CitEc. And if your publisher does not participate in RePEc, you can upload missing items to MPRA, copyright permitting.

How you can use RePEc as an institution:

RePEc can help you make your working papers (pre-prints) more visible, track how your researchers publish, and provide metrics to evaluate impact.

How you can leverage RePEc data as a researcher:

Data assembled by RePEc can be used for many purposes. Examples are academic research, tracking how working papers get published, adding metrics to a website, and evaluating researchers or institutions. We have instructions on how to access the data, including through an API.

There is much more that RePEc can do for you. Explore the RePEc homepage and the various services listed there!

RePEc in August 2022

September 6, 2022

Summer (vacation) is over and RePEc users are getting back to work. Just one new archive last month: New Zealand Productivity Commission. We counted 373,428 file downloads and 1,487,271 abstract views through reporting services. And we reached the following milestones:

240,000,000 cumulative article abstract views
2,500,000 cumulative software component downloads
1,700,000 items with extracted references
65,000 registered authors
5,000 software components available online

IDEAS turns 25

September 1, 2022

25 years ago, IDEAS was launched. A few months after RePEc was created, it built on the data about publications that RePEc was was making available. At launch, about 40,000 papers were indexed, with about 4,000 being online. Now the numbers amount to over 4.1 million and 3.7 million. Abstract pages have received a total of about 400 million unique views from every country, with raw totals a large multiple of that thanks to a myriad of bots (hint: an API is available).

IDEAS did not start in a vacuum. At the time, two other sites were already displaying RePEc data, BibEc and WoPEc, part of the NetEc family of websites dedicated to Economics. The first release of IDEAS was in fact based on code used for these sites, contributed by José Manuel Barrueco Cruz. Over the next years other sites were created to display RePEc data for the user, with ultimately only EconPapers and IDEAS surviving the healthy competition. Other sites outside of the repec.org domain also leverage RePEc data.

Initially, IDEAS was just displaying the bibliographic data that is at the core of RePEc. Over time, it gradually integrated data from other RePEc services, such as author profiles, references and citations, which fields they belong to, how much they are viewed. Rankings and impact factors are now the most popular single pages after the search form.

IDEAS has also little by little added some custom features for the user, most prominently MyIDEAS that allows economists to build an online bibliography or track new additions to RePEc in many customizable ways. With the recent pandemic, a calendar of online seminars was introduced and proved to be quite popular.

IDEAS never got funding. It has been hosted over time by three sponsors: Université du Québec à Montréal, the University of Connecticut, and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.