IDEAS turns 25

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.

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