How RePEc is making research available to everyone

February 23, 2017

Much of research in economics is funded directly or indirectly by public funds, so it stands to reason that the public should be able to access it. The public being other economists, political or economic decision makers, and the public at large. Unfortunately, there are roadblocks in considering or accessing this research. One recent impediment is a new tendency by decision makers to look less at advice from experts and the literature they have contributed to. A longer standing one is that a significant amount of research is gated behind paywalls. In this post, we want to illustrate how RePEc can help overcome these issues by giving a chance to everyone to read up on the economic literature

Accessing the literature

In many cases, freely accessible pre-prints are available as an alternative to the pay-walled articles. These working papers may not be the latest version, but they already give a very good idea of the final, published version. And many are in fact more complete than the journal articles, which have often been cut for space constraints. We have also noticed that the more an article is cites, the more likely it is available as a working paper.

On RePEc sites, we provide links between articles and their working paper versions (as long as at least one author is registered, has claimed all versions as theirs, and the titles are sufficiently similar. Misses can be rectified with this form). Users have clearly recognized this, as working papers are downloaded seven times more frequently, even after controlling for the notification services below.

Staying current

Working papers have another advantage: they are available much earlier than their published articles. This is why RePEc has emphasized working papers in its notification services. Most notably, NEP allows users to subscribe to alerts about new working papers in almost 100 fields thorough email, RSS feeds or Twitter. This is, as everything on RePEc, free and accessible to everyone. Other useful tools, which also include other types of publications, are MyIDEAS and the ‘date modified’ option at EconPapers search.

Finding the right literature

With over two million works indexed, the amount of material available in RePEc may be overwhelming, especially to non-specialists. Both EconPapers and IDEAS try to make it easier by making the RePEc bibliographic database accessible in different ways: search, browsing, keywords, JEL classification, links to references, citations and author profiles. We are working on tutorials that should make it easier for the unexperienced user to unleash the full potential of the sites.

In addition, there is the RePEc Biblio, in which editors curate lists of the most relevant papers in their field. At the time of this writing, 115 topics are covered, and the site is expanding. This site should become helpful to get introduced in a topic and quickly find answers, even for non-specialists. As the site is organized as a tree with increasingly narrow topics, concrete answers for interested users will eventually be available.

You can help, too!

You can help by making more research easily accessible. There are two main ways: first, by making the working papers from your institution available on RePEc, following these instructions. Second, if the first option is not working out, upload your working papers at MPRA.

You can also contribute to the RePEc Biblio by taking care of topics in your area of expertise, either by assembling lists of relevant literature or by asking others to do so for sub-topics.

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RePEc in January 2017

February 7, 2017

A very short report this month. RePEc slipped into the new year with a slow start, as only two new archives joined: WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management and Name: CRC TRR 190 (Rationality and Competition). Still, we recorded 591,840 file downloads and 1,848,929 abstract views in January 2017 and reached a few milestones:

1,400,000 indexed articles
400,000 articles with extracted references
4,500 working paper series indexed


Who is the typical RePEc user?

January 17, 2017

This answer is not that easy to answer, as using RePEc services typically does not require any registration. Still, some services use Google Analytics, which provides some elementary statistics about users, but nothing about demographics. Below are some of what we can learn by looking at the Google Analytics for IDEAS for 2016. This may or may not apply to other RePEc services.

First, one can learn a few things from the browser that is used. 53% of users have it set to use US-English, 8% British English, 4% each for Spanish and Chinese, and 3% each for French and German. This language variable, however, does not correlate perfectly with the location. Indeed, only 18% of users are in the United States, the next most frequent countries being the United Kingdom (7%), India (7%), Germany (4%), Italy, France, Canada, China (all 3%), and then with 2% Australia, the Philippines, Kenya, Colombia, Spain, the Netherlands, Japan, Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia. This wide distribution is actually quite encouraging, as the goal of RePEc is to democratize the access to research, and getting “non-traditional” countries to adopt RePEc services this well is a good sign. In particular, Africa represents 9% of the traffic, South Asia 10%, Southeast Asia 7% and South America 6%. And yes, there is traffic from North Korea.

What about browsers? Chrome is the clear winner, at 55%. Next come Firefox (14%), Safari (13%), Internet Explorer (8%), Opera Mini (3%) and Edge (2%). In terms of operating systems, Windows is first at 66% (of which 53% is Windows 7, 27% Windows 10, and 13% on Windows 8.1), then 14% on Macintosh, 10% Android, 6% iOS, and 1% Linux. It is clear from this that desktop use is still predominant (81%), while 16% use a mobile phone and only 3% a tablet.

Where is traffic originating? Most of it comes from search engines (76%), while 15% of traffic is referred from another website. 8% of traffic is direct, meaning from bookmarks or by typing the URL in the browser. 1% is coming from social media.


RePEc in December 2016, and a look back at 2016

January 5, 2017

We have two new features to announce this month: First, our directory of economics institutions, EDIRC got a face lift that includes much better viewing on mobile devices. Second, we have a new ranking for authors, the Euclidian measure of citations, following the article of Perry and Reny. Also, we counted 425,384 file downloads and 2,082,757 abstract views for the RePEc services reporting these statistics. Last month, we welcomed the following new RePEc archives: ERINA, University College Dublin (III), Dickinson College, UNESCAP (II), University College Algebra, Università Bocconi (II), Union of Scientists (Varna). Finally, we reached the following milestones:

10,000,000 matched citations
1,250,000 items in registered author profiles
1,000,000 paper announcements through NEP
900,000 articles with abstracts
800,000 items with extracted references
750,000 indexed working papers
400,000 working papers with extracted references
15,000 links to RePEc items on EconAcademics

As for 2016, what have we achieved? In terms of RePEc services, MyIDEAS received a complete overhaul with new features, CitEc is making a big push to expand the coverage of citation extraction and added an API, and SocioRePEc made available a series of tools for authors. In terms of content, RePEc now indexes 240,000 more items, a growth of 12%, in part thanks to 80 new RePEc archives, 200 new working paper series and 292 new journals, CitEc extracted the references of 140,000 more items, a growth of 20%, and 2,800 more authors are registered with the RePEc Author Service, a growth of 6%. We counted 5,610,593 downloads and 25,928,965 abstract views, an increase over last year which reverses a decline in traffic that lasted several years.

Next year is going to be important for RePEc andwe hope to have more positive news.


RePEc in November 2016

December 3, 2016

The RePEc rankings got a tiny addition, top authors by number of Twitter followers, which immediately received a lot of attention … on Twitter. More importantly, we have a new NEP report, NEP-GEN (Gender Economics). We have welcome the following newly participating RePEc archives: University fo Cape Town, Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas Publicas de Bolivia, Universidad Michoana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo (I+II), Historical Household Budgets Project, LAREQ Press. We have counted 560,219 file downloads and 2,223,007 abstract views in November 2016. And finally we have reached the following milestones:

400,000 working papers with extracted references
100,000 monthly downloads through NEP
4,500 listed working paper series


Ranking optimization

November 18, 2016

RePEc is all about the free dissemination of economic research, but for many economists it is most known for its rankings. While would really emphasize that the rankings are only a by-product and to some degree a motivator for people and publishers to have their works listed on RePEc, we want to acknowledge that the rankings have become important, as they are use for evaluations in funding agencies and for promotion or tenure. So here are some recommendations on how to optimize rankings, both for authors and institutions.

For authors


  1. Foremost, make sure your profile is current. Go to RePEc Author Service and log in. Click on research to see whether the system has found any suggestions. Make sure you have all the relevant name variations for you so that it can make the best suggestions. Check also if the system needs some help in attributing some citations.
  2. A few publishers still do not participate, particularly among book publishers. Encourage yours to index its works in RePEc.
  3. If you have advised graduate students and they are registered in RePEc, add them to your RePEc Genealogy record. Help your own advisor’s record as well. This is likely the lowest hanging fruit for many economists.
  4. RePEc sometimes fails to find the bibliography for some articles. If this makes you miss some citations, you can help by uploading those references. The full bibliography is required. The input form is here.
  5. Working papers get downloaded many more times than journal articles. Thus make sure to have them listed! Your institution can have its WP series indexed following these instructions. If that does not work out, upload them to MPRA. Most publishers allow it, as long as it is not the final version. See details at SHERAP/RoMEO.
  6. Finally, link to your profile on IDEAS or EconPapers from your webpage.

For institutions


  1. Foremost, make sure that all members of your institution are registered at the RePEc Author Service. You can look up who is already there by finding your record at EDIRC. Note that if someone is listed with a question mark, it means their email address is not valid, and they will not count towards your score. Please get it corrected (or tell us about the new address or whether this person may have died. It happens).
  2. If you have a graduate program, you want to have the graduates listed in the RePEc Genealogy. Your EDIRC record also lists who is already linked. There is already a ranking using these records.
  3. If you have a working paper series or some other serial, make sure it is indexed in RePEc. Instructions.
  4. Of course, have your members follow the recommendations for authors above.


RePEc in October 2016

November 4, 2016

We have reached two major milestones in the past month: there are now over 2 millions works indexed in RePEc with links to their full texts on-line, and our citation project CitEc has extracted over 25 million references. In addition, with have a new ranking of economists and of institutions covering Latin American and the Caribbean. We counted 504,174 file downloads and 2,366,249 abstract views. We welcomed the following new RePEc archives: Université Paris-Nord, Toroudshomal Research-Industrial Company, Journal of Smart Economic Growth, Association Recherche et Régulation, Applied Economics Research Centre (Pakistan), Kobe University, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies. And finally we reached the following milestones:

25,000,000 extracted citations
2,000,000 online works
1,300,000 online articles
40,000 online book chapters
500 registered authors on Twitter directory