RePEc in July 2019

August 6, 2019

As often in the Summer, only a short monthly report. We welcomed a few new RePEc archives: University Management: Practice and Analysis, AHM International, Asia University, Oslo Metropolitan University, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Russian Academy of Sciences (II). We counted 421,617 file downloads and 1,893,252 abstract views in July 2019 on the few RePEc services that provide us with statistics. And we reached a single milestone:

750,000 working papers with abstracts


RePEc in June 2019

July 3, 2019

After all those years, RePEc is still enjoying a healthy growth. Last month, we welcomed the following new archives: European Xtramile Centre of African Studies, Business Strategies, Russian Journal of Industrial Economics, Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia, City University of Hong Kong, Shanlax, CEREDEC, Administrative Consulting, Russian State University of the Humanities, The Economics of Science journal. With this crop, we now have RePEc archives in over 100 countries. We also counted 395,439 file downloads and 1,798,030 abstract views last month. Finally, we passed the following milestones:

900,000 working papers
9,000 series and journals


100 countries contribute through RePEc archives

July 1, 2019

The mission of RePEc is to enhance the dissemination of research in Economics. An essential part of this is the democratization of access to research, both for the readers to find research and for researchers to make their works accessible. This means that no matter where you work, you should have the same access to research. In that respect, we believe RePEc has made great strides. For example, our logs indicate that we have visitors to our sites from every country (including Antarctica and North Korea).

To get material added to RePEc, an institution typically opens a so-called local RePEc archive that contains information about its publications. We are proud to announce that with the recent addition of Armenia and the Central African Republic we now have such RePEc archives in over 100 countries. As some of those over 2000 archives aggregate material from several institutions, the count is even higher for the indexed works.

Here is the listing of the 101 countries to date that have opened at least one RePEc archive. Here is the listing of the current archives. And finally, here are the instructions for opening a local RePEc archive.


RePEc in May 2019

June 4, 2019

The big news this month is that we reached 5000 working paper series indexed in RePEc. RePEc started to enhance the dissemination of working papers, and working papers are still the best way to learn about the frontier of research. More about this in our recent blog post.

In other news, we welcomed a diverse set of newly participating RePEc archives: Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus, Strategic decisions and risk management, Dagestan State Pedagogical University, Center for Crisis Society Studies, Research Africa Network, New Economic School (II), Associação Nacional de Pós-Graduação e Pesquisa em Administração, Lupine Publishers, Poleconom, Biomedical Journal of Scientific & Technical Research. We counted 512,040 file downloads and 1,975,480 abstract views. And we reached the following milestones:

750,000 cited articles
400,000 cited working papers
70,000 registered people
5,000 working paper series


5000 working paper series on RePEc: working papers are still central to economics

May 31, 2019

RePEc now indexes now over 5000 working papers series, and we take this opportunity to highlight how these open-access pre-prints are central to RePEc and economics research in general. Indeed, the peer-review process in economics is particularly excruciating, as it is quite common for the process to take several years from submission to publication. Multiply this if a manuscript needs to be submitted to several journals (the best journals have acceptance rates below 10%), and you quickly understand that the published research often disseminates research that is several years old.

A reaction to these delays has been the introduction of working papers. Initially disseminated on paper among friends and colleagues, they quickly became the go-to medium if you wanted to know where the frontier of research was. Several institutions then institutionalized the practice by creating official working paper series one could subscribe to, in some cases against a fee to cover printing and shipping costs. Working papers, sometimes also called discussion papers, are considered preliminary work that is not definitive and disseminated for discussion and awareness. Yet, they are sometimes refereed within the issuing institutions, as in some ways their reputation rides on the papers. Also, authors often prefer their working papers to the corresponding published articles, as the latter are sometimes altered in unintended ways through the tyranny of referees as well as shortened by editors with space constraints.

RePEc was created to enhance the dissemination of research in economics, and specifically of working papers. Indeed, unlike journals, working papers were disseminated in an informal way, and one needed to be “in the know” to get them. RePEc has helped bridge that gap and make working papers available to everyone. While the dissemination of working papers is now much improved, the publication delays only got worse, hence working papers are still central to following the frontier of research. This is why RePEc disseminates new working papers through NEP and not new journal articles. And we also have noticed that if a working paper and a journal version are available in parallel, the working paper is downloaded many times more than the article (even after removing the NEP downloads).

If your working paper series is not yet available on RePEc, follow these instructions. To see which series are currently indexed, see the listings on EconPapers or IDEAS.


RePEc in April 2019

May 6, 2019

Over the last month, we counted 524,763 file downloads and 2,268,259 abstract views. We welcomed a diverse Ashoka University, Institute of Financial Studies (Romania), Center for Crisis Society Studies, Gakushuin University, Small Business International Review, Center for Higher Education Policy Studies, Canadian Tax Foundation, Global Regional Review. And in terms of milestones we reached:

1,500,000 items claimed by authors in their profiles
500 authors listed as deceased, sadly


Challenges with publisher data

April 27, 2019

All the bibliographic data that RePEc disseminates comes directly from the publishers. The quality of the data on RePEc services thus cannot be better than the quality of the data that publishers provide. RePEc imposes some syntaxic constraints to make data easy to handle, but unfortunately publishers do not always adhere to those rules, leading to lower data quality and even data loss. In this blog post, we expose some of the challenges that we face.

Let us start with an example. This is how good data looks like for a working paper:

Template-Type: ReDIF-Paper 1.0
Author-Name:  Daniel Rais
Author-Name-First: Daniel
Author-Name-Last: Rais
Author-Name:  Peter Lawater
Author-Name-First: Peter
Author-Name-Last: Lawater
Author-Email:  p.lawater@grandiose.edu
Author-Workplace-Name: Department of Economics, Grandiose University
Author-Name:  Jonathan Goldman
Author-Name-First: Jonathan
Author-Name-Last: Goldman
Author-Workplace-Name: Department of Finance, Grandiose University
Author-Name:  Zhiwei Chui
Author-Name-First: Zhiwei
Author-Name-Last: Chui
Title:  Phases of Imitation and Innovation in a North-South Endogenous Growth
Model
Abstract:  In this paper, we develop a North-South endogenous growth model to
examine three phases of development in the South: imitation of Northern
products, imitation and innovation and finally, innovation only.
In particular, the model has the features of catching up (and
potentially overtaking) which are of particular relevance to the Pacific Rim
economies.  We show that the possible equilibria
depend on cross-country assimilation effects and the ease of
imitation.  We then apply the model to analyse the impact of R&D
subsidies.  There are some clear global policy implications which emerge
from our analysis.  Firstly, because subsidies to Southern innovation
benefit the North as well, it is beneficial to the North to pay for some of
these subsidies.  Secondly, because the ability of the South to assimilate
Northern knowledge and innovate depends on Southern skills levels, the
consequent spillover benefits on growth make the subsidising
of Southern education by the North particularly attractive.
Length:  26 pages
Creation-Date:  1996-07
Revision-Date: 1998-01
Publication-Status: Published in Review of Economics, March 1999, pages 1-23
File-URL: ftp://ftp.grandiose.edu/pub/econ/WorkingPapers/surrec9602.pdf
File-Format: Application/pdf
File-Function: First version, 1996
File-URL: ftp://ftp.grandiose.edu/pub/econ/WorkingPapers/surrec9602R.pdf
File-Format: Application/pdf
File-Function: Revised version, 1998
Number: 9602
Classification-JEL: E32, R10
Keywords: North-South, growth model, innovation assimilation
Handle: RePEc:aaa:wpaper:9602

What can go wrong here? First there are some mandatory fields, and if they are missing, the template is automatically rejected. Examples are Author-Name, Title, Handle. Then some fields need to follow some format. This applies to dates, handles, URLs. An error here also leads to a rejection. In some other cases, a syntaxic error will only lead to a warning with the particular field being ignored.

The more subtle issues arise when the provider starts inputting data that is syntaxically correct, but not in an intended way. Let us look at what can happen to the Author-Name field:

Author-Name: John Doe
Author-Name: John Doe and Jane Doe
Author-Name: John Doe (j.doe@grandiose.edu)
Author-Name: John Doe, Department of Economics, Grandiose University
Author-Name: "John Doe"
Author-Name: JOHN DOE
Author-Name: Assistant Prof. John Doe
Author-Name: Juan González

All these will pass the syntax check because they will not lead to wrong information. However, they will be confusing for various uses of this data. The first entry is entirely correct. The second is problematic because two names are listed. Each author should be in a separate Author-Name field. The problem here is that, for example, the RePEc Author Service will have difficulties attributing this entry to John Doe as a more complex name is listed. The third and fourth entries have information that is not about the name. This should be included in fields like Author-Email and Author-Workplace-Name. The problem here is that when you build a citation record, you only need the name of the author, not all the other “junk.” And speaking of junk, the next entry also features extra characters that are not useful for the record. The name in all capital is annoying, because when works from different origins are mixed (say, a list of references), records in all caps look awful. Some RePEc services adjust the capitalization (also for titles), but this can lead to mistakes. Next, including titles not only makes a record look awkward, it also confuses name matching in the RePEc Author Service. Finally the last record has a mangled character. This usually happens because the provider was negligent in tracking the character encoding while transferring the data. There is another blog post to explain this.

What else are common errors that lead to confusion? A surprisingly common one is to put the abstract in the title. Speaking of the title, too often it includes information that does not belong in a title, such as “revised version of paper 2001-10,” “in Japanese,” titles in all caps, adding punctuation at the end, or putting the whole title between quotation marks. Again, this prevents building a good citation. It also prevents automatically matching different versions of the same work if the titles are unnecessarily different. Users can manually match those misfits with this form.

RePEc provides some syntax analysis to its providers at EconPapers, and providers are alerted about warnings and errors in a monthly email. Yet, it is often when users, especially authors, complain that they seem to be correcting the data. Thus, if you see something amiss, contact the person listed on every page for corrections. This is the person that can do something about the record, not RePEc volunteers.