Using the RePEc search engines

January 24, 2020

RePEc seeks to enhance the dissemination of economics research. There are many ways to do this, and an important one is to provide search engines for literature searches. This post discusses two on them. Searching on RePEc provides many advantages over searching with your favorite web search engine: search are naturally limited to academic economics content and can be configured in many ways because RePEc has much more detailed information.

EconPapers

EconPapers is a popular site that allows to discover all RePEc content through browsing or searching. The advanced search page highlights all the fields that can be used to narrow the search: date, field (through JEL code), document type, online availability, and language. One can differentiate the search terms across author, keyword, and abstract fields. Boolean searches with logical operators are available and wild cards can be used on word stems. It is also possible to search within NEP reports if one is looking for a working paper within a specific field. A help page provide further hints and tricks for an efficient search.

EconPapers displays search results in a convenient way, showing the listing in a box and one can click on individual items to see the full content. Results can be sorted by date, relevance, or alphabetically by title.

IDEAS

IDEAS is another popular site with functionalities similar to EconPapers. Its search engine was recently improved. It offers similar fielded search with a few tricks that differentiate it from EconPapers. For example, word stemming is algorithmic, thus wildcards are not needed. Synonyms are used natively, reducing the need to think about them. One can search for AuthorOne AuthorTwo (Year), the typical way one cites in economics, and a match will most likely be displayed. A search from the listing of a journal of a working paper series limits the results to that serials. The same feature is available for JEL codes. The search page also offers separate searches for other item types in RePEc, such as registered authors and institutions.

Search results can be sorted by citation counts or a combination of criteria. In addition, on can save a search to MyIDEAS, which allows to go back to it easily later or get weekly email alerts about new search results. Individual search results can also be saved to one’s personal MyIDEAS bibliography with one click.


3 million items indexed in RePEc

December 12, 2019

A few day ago, RePEc reached a major milestone by indexing over 3 million research items: journal articles, working papers (pre-prints), books, book chapters, and software components. The graph below, taken from the LogEc website and not yet featuring the December 2019 numbers, shows the evolution of the RePEc index since its start in 1997 (click on it to view a larger image).

This graph shows that RePEc content continues to grow relentlessly. With all major publishers participating in RePEc by now, the growth now comes much less from new archives but rather from the continuous growth within the over 2000 participating RePEc archives featuring over 5000 working paper series, 3500 journals, and more. As economists would say, we have shifted from the extensive margin to the intensive margin, which can explain a slight decrease in the growth rate over the last few years.

The first statistics at the end of January 1998 indicate an index with 51,984 entries. The first million was reached in January 2011, the second in December 2017, and the third now in December 2019. Only two years for the last million!

If your publishers or your local academic or policy institution still does not participate in RePEc, it can join by following these instructions, or you can upload your works as an individual contributor at MPRA.


How to contribute data to CitEc

November 26, 2019

CitEc is the RePEc citation indexing service. CitEc extracts reference data from documents directly or from data about references provided by publishers. Then CitEc links references to find citations between documents available in RePEc. All data produced by CitEc is freely available. It is distributed to other RePEc services to enrich the services provided to researchers and authors. It is used to build citation profiles for registered authors, for working paper series and journals. I created CitEc in 1998. Nowadays, it contains over 41 million references and 14 million citations. This may be impressive numbers. But the data comes from 1.376.000 papers. Note that there are 2.737.000 downloable items in RePEc. Thus, I have been able to process only the 50% of the downloable items.

There is still a lot of work to do. You can help. Let’s see how.

1.- Providing references

One important approach to get references is to use the full text of documents. In many cases, we can extract that from the PDF files when we have them. However, PDFs are often behind tool gated portals. That is often due to economic issues like payment licenses. Sometimes it is due technical barriers, like the archive maintainer not providing an URL with direct access to the PDF file.

In these cases, you can help by submitting the full list of references cited. You do not need to be the author of the paper to submit the references. You may, for instance, submit references for a document that cites your work.

Thus, go ahead and use the web user input form. Thanks!

2.- Providing citations

Citations are relationships between two documents. Both the citing and the cited document must have a RePEc handle, thatis, be indexed in RePEc. The majority of citations are identified automatically by CitEc software. In addition, there are several ways to contribute citations to the database when the system has failed to find them.

A.- Register with the RePEc Author Service and use the search engine to add citations to your profile

B.- If you already know the paper which cites your work, follow the instructions in our FAQ (3.5)

C.- Otherwise, you can use the main CitEc search engine to look for the cited work in the references database. Just enter one author’s
surname and publication date for the cited work. You will get two types of results: citations and references. When you see a citation, CitEc has been able to match the reference to the cited document in RePEc. When you see a reference, CitEc has not been unable to find the cited document in RePEc. In some cases, the cited document is in RePEc but the system has not found it. You can help us to solve the problem by providing the link to the cited document. Just click on the “add citation now” link and give the handle of the cited document.

Many thanks for your contribution. If you have any question contact us at citechelp. Also, if you would like to get more involved with citation analysis, contact us!


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.