Why authors should have an account with RePEc

March 27, 2019

Among the many services that RePEc provide, the RePEc Author Service (RAS) holds a special place. Indeed, this services provides multiple utilities for the authors, the other RePEc services, the general user community, and beyond. This blog post goes through some of these utilities.

Author identification

RAS is pretty much the first service in the scientific community at large that has been providing since 1999 self-serve author identification. Once an author is registered, a RePEc Short-ID is created. This unique and permanent code is then used throughout RePEc services as well as by others (for example, Wikipedia, WikiData) to uniquely identify authors.

Author disambiguation

When authors register, they claim as theirs the works that are suggested by RePEc. This function is important as the author name listed on a particular work may be shared by several people, especially if only the initial of the first name is provided. Even with a full first name, there are many homonyms in the profession, see a list of examples here.

Author profile

Thanks to author registrations, RePEc has information about the name, affiliation and work of authors. This information is used by the various RePEc services to create author profiles that allow to link people, institutions, and works with each other. This provides users more options when they are browsing through the bibliographic databases that are the core of RePEc.

Notifications

Registered authors are notified every month about newly found citations, along with various statistics about the visibility of their works. Users can also receive news about their favorite authors: MyIDEAS allows to to follow additions to authors’ profiles, among other things.

OpenID credentials

The credentials that authors have with RAS can be leveraged elsewhere thanks to the OpenID protocol. This is in particular used by other RePEc services wherever a login is required. For example, this is used by MyIDEAS for the user-specific services it provides, by CitEC for the submission of references, or by the RePEc Genealogy to crowd-source its content.

Author and institution rankings

All the data is collected (author profiles, affiliations, citations and more) are used to compute various rankings that have become quite popular. Of course, this means that authors need to keep their profiles current with any work additions and affiliation changes.

And more

Author data is used for determining co-authorship networks (CollEc project), create an academic genealogy tree for economics (RePEc Genealogy), as well as for research on the economics profession (works using RePEc data).

You can can help further

The vast majority of the data gathered in all of the above is supplied by authors and publishers. All activity is logged and reviewed. But mistakes can happen, and the RAS administrator welcomes emails with correction suggestions. In additions, authors with whom RAS has lost contact (listing) need to enter their new email address so that they can continue receiving their suggestions for newly discovered works. Note that those authors do not count towards institution and regional rankings, as having an expired email addresses indicates that the person has moved or died. In both cases, the RAS administrator welcomes notification of the new address or death. The maintenance of the profiles of deceased authors is taken over by an administrator (listing).


What RePEc offers to Twitter users

January 31, 2019

Twitter is a social media forum that facilitates discussions on all sorts of topics, including economics. Within this large universe, it may be difficult for economists to find who to follow and who to converse with. Indeed, some very interesting conversation do take place, and contrarily to popular opinion, Twitter can be a very civil and professional environment.

To help with this, RePEc has taken various initiatives:


  1. All NEP reports, which disseminate new working papers in about 100 fields of economics, are available through email, RSS and Twitter. Visit the NEP homepage for a listing, or if you just want the Twitter accounts, see a compilation here.
  2. RePEc provides directories of economists on Twitter. These directories are assembled by country and by field (following the NEP model). In addition, there is a directory of female economists, and several for different types of institutions (like central banks or liberal arts colleges). The big directory is available here, to see the others click on the “more listings” tab. Another tab explains how to get listed.
  3. All members of the above directories with public Twitter accounts are also automatically members of the corresponding Twitter lists. This allows to easily follow the activity of the economists in a particular country or field. The Twitter lists are linked above each of the directories.
  4. IDEAS allows easily quoting on Twitter. If you click on the Twitter icon on any abstract page, this creates a Twitter post with the title of the paper and an image containing its abstract. When discussing research on Twitter, it is generally a good idea to link to a RePEc page instead of directly to the publisher. In case the reader cannot access this document, RePEc may offer alternatives. See this RePEc Blog post for more details.
  5. Finally, RePEc has a few Twitter accounts of its own, RePEc_org and repecCitEc.


Should IDEAS add reader-contributed user notes to abstract pages?

November 28, 2018

RePEc is always looking for ways to offer more useful services to the Economics community. One suggestion that we receive on a regular basis is to make is possible to add public comments, “user notes”, about the papers disseminated by RePEc. In this blog post, we offer a proposal for such a feature on IDEAS, with proposed rules and a poll to see whether the Economics community would be interested in this new feature.

This should give the opportunity to readers of the papers to offer their comments, for authors to provide clarifications, for conference discussants to provide their thoughts to a wider audience, and even for referees to make public their reports, if they wish so.

Rules of user notes on IDEAS


  1. A RePEc user account (RePEc Author Service) with clear identification is necessary to post a user note.
  2. There is a delay of a day between the creation of an account and the privilege of posting.
  3. Posts retain the name of the poster even after deletion of the account.
  4. Posts should remain professional and on topic. Readers can report abuses to moderators (no registration required). The text of moderated posts will become invisible, with poster name still visible and reason for moderation declared. Posters can appeal moderation decisions.
  5. Registered authors and previous posters in a thread will be alerted about a new user note. Authors have the opportunity to opt out of alerts for the associated paper or all their papers.
  6. A bulletin board is available to see new user notes. Boards are also available by subfield (if no subfield can be determined automatically by JEL codes or NEP reports, the first poster can set the subfield).
  7. A user note posted for one version of a paper will be visible for all versions of that paper.
  8. User notes are in plain text, with no attachments and no links, of at most 5,000 characters. Posters can thread several posts, though.
  9. There will be no counting of points, likes, upvotes, scores, or other games associates with this.
  10. This set of rules can change as experience warrants, after consultation with users.

This poll is open until 26 December 2018, midnight CST.

Addendum: The poll is now closed. We will work over the next months to put the user-note feature in place.


How does RePEc promote Open Access?

October 25, 2018

This week is Open Access Week, and this gives us the opportunity to highlight how RePEc has been promoting open access to economic literature since 1997 (and since 1992 with its predecessor projects). We want to distinguish here two ways research is open in economics: through pre-prints and through open access journals.

Pre-prints

Economics has a long tradition of pre-prints that predates the web. Usually called working papers or discussion papers, they have become popular because publication delays are very long in economics (measured in years). The origin of RePEc lies in making the dissemination of those pre-prints more efficient by providing central services for their discovery. Before, it was very difficult for those outside existing top institutions to know what the current frontier of research was. As is still valid now, publication in journals was really a historical record of where the research frontier was a few years earlier. Now, RePEc has records for over 800,000 pre-prints and disseminates them through web sites, mailing lists, RSS feeds and Twitter. They are also included in the citation analysis and they are indeed cited on a level field with journal articles. In fact, RePEc does not privilege journal articles over pre-prints, yet working papers are downloaded seven more times than the corresponding articles.

For those who stumble upon a journal article in a RePEc site, the alternative version as a pre-print is offered when available. This is particularly useful when the journal is gated: this allows the reader without a subscription to still have a read of the full paper. Sometimes it is not the final version, and sometimes it is even a more complete version as the editorial process may have required cuts. Such links from article to pre-print are particularly frequent for the most cited works.

Open access journals

RePEc is also indexing journal articles, and this includes the open access ones. Typically, they are noted with a special notice indicating that the full text can be downloaded freely. In addition, gated journals are not privileged in any way over open access ones: RePEc invites all journals to be indexed, as long as they are willing to follow our instructions. This allows small independent journals to get the same opportunity as journals from the largest commercial publishers to be searched and found on RePEc sites. In fact, free downloads does lead to more frequent downloads.


Help build the academic tree of Economics: the RePEc Genealogy

April 22, 2018

Beyond the open bibliography that lays the foundation of RePEc, various services have emerged that enhance the data collected with RePEc. One of them is the RePEc Genealogy. The goal of this initiative is to build an academic family tree for Economics, recording who was advised by whom, where and when. It thus tries to build links among the over 50,000 economists registered with the RePEc Author Service as well as the institutions listed in EDIRC. At the time of writing this, close to 13,000 economists from over 1000 programs are listed in the RePEc Genealogy.

The data is collected by the community: The RePEc Genealogy is a wiki, and all you need is a registration with the RePEc Author Service to add information to it. You can make sure your own record is complete, add your students or whose of your advisor, or ensure that your graduate program or alma mater are properly recorded. Over 3,000 economists have already contributed to it. Go to the RePEc Genealogy crowdsourcing tool to participate and see some statistics about the genealogy.

How is the collected data used? Of course, one can browse the site for information. But the data is also used in other ways: IDEAS uses it to complement author profiles, to compute rankings of graduate programs (publications from all years or last 10 years), a ranking of economist by graduation cohorts. Finally, data from the Genealogy is starting to be used for research, along with data from the rest of RePEc. You could be part of the data that you are analysing! For a listing of papers using RePEc data, see here.


IDEAS inaugurates new design

February 15, 2018

The IDEAS website just went live with a new design. The new layout is configured to keep the functionalities of the website while making it more intuitive for the casual user, and more pleasing to the eye. It also come with a new search engine (now with sorting by citations) and a few new features, the major one being that MyIDEAS now has the option to send weekly digests by email so that users can keep current about the keywords, authors, serials and JEL codes they follow. We hope users will find this site to be an improvement, and comments and suggestions are welcome. Known issues are tracked here. And the site sports a new logo: IDEAS logo

PS: The directory of economics institutions, EDIRC, has undergone a similar layout change.


RePEc Genealogy tutorial

June 28, 2017

The RePEc Genealogy is an academic family tree of economists. It provides information about where and when economists obtained their final degree, and who advised them for the final degree. At the time of this writing, over 12,000 economists are indexed in the RePEc Genealogy. The data is crowd-sourced, meaning that anybody with a RePEc account can amend records, much like Wikipedia.

Besides the curiosity factor of learning the background of economists, the assembled data is useful in several ways. One is that the data about the graduate programs is used to evaluate them. Close to 1000 are currently listed, and the research performance of their graduates is used to rank them. The data is also used by researchers for various analyses of the Economics profession.

As mentioned, the site is crowd-sourced. This tutorial shows how you can help in contributing to it (click on images for a larger view).

Logging in

Click on Make additions and changes in the side bar to get to the log-in page. This is the standard log-in procedure in RePEc and requires your RePEc Short-ID. If you do not know you Short-ID, follow this tutorial (new window).

Select a person to amend

Once logged in, you will be presented with this form:

Click on “yourself” to amend your Genealogy record. To amend someone else’s, you will need this person’s Short-ID. You likely do not know it. But if you enter parts of the name in the last field, options will be offered to you, like this:

Notice how there are several option, as there are several Richard Smith in RePEc. To ensure you have the right person, you can click on anyone’s link and it will open their IDEAS profile in a new window. Once you have the right person, enter their Short-ID in the first field and submit.

Amend a record

This is the standard form for data entry. Again, it all works with Short-IDs for people and RePEc handles for institutions. For institutions, one can either look up the handle (it always starts with RePEc:edi:) on the EDIRC directory of institutions, other enter a few letters (up to seven) relevant to the name of the institution, and a few choices will offered. Similarly, if one does not know the name of the advisor, enter the name and RePEc Short-IDs will be offered, if the person is registered. For example:

Gives you the following suggestions:

After entering the relevant handle and Short-ID, the form is completed:

Within 10 minutes the record will be created or amended on the live website. Buttons below the standard form allow you to amend further records, either by adding students that the person you just amended may have advised, or the advisor of this person, or anybody else, for examples other students who graduated from your program.