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.
April 1, 2019
RePEc is proud to announce that it will soon take over the management of Google Scholar. Indeed, Google is dropping Google Scholar from its portfolio of web services following its yearly Spring cleaning exercise. While Google Scholar is using relatively few resources, it is not bringing any revenue and there is no expectation that it ever will. This situation is not much different from RePEc, which has no revenue either and has learned to work efficiently with volunteer resources and some sponsored hardware. For a company that is accountable to shareholders, Google and its parent Alphabet find it more and more difficult to justify giving away resources. However, this is at the core of the mission of RePEc, bringing free bibliographic resources to the academic community.
While RePEc has a lot of experience, after all it is older than Google, the take over is not without challenges. Indeed, RePEc has concentrated on Economics while Google Scholar expanded into all sciences. Thus the amount of data is much larger. Initially, services will continue to run on Google hardware before eventually moving to be independent from their birth parent. As usual, RePEc will rely on volunteers and is now appealing for them to come forward. Talent is needed in system administration, programming, UX, and brain storming. Experience in the academic publishing industry or academia a plus, especially in marine biology. Motivated candidates are asked to make themselves known by email.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Finally, RePEc has a few Twitter accounts of its own, RePEc_org and repecCitEc.
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.
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.
April 1, 2018
RePEc has been at the forefront of the dissemination of economics research for over twenty years, and has in particular been among the first if not the first across all sciences to introduce features such as open bibliographies, open citations, author identifiers, and publication rankings. Following our mission of democratization of access to research, we are proud to announce yet another innovation that will help us bringing economic research to the public: we have received the authorization to take over two bouquinistes boxes in Paris. Bouquinistes maintain since the 16th century about 1000 boxes on the left and right banks of the Seine in central Paris where they sell antique and used books and magazines. The RePEc boxes, pictured above, are on the left bank on Quai Conti close to the Monnaie de Paris, the historical coin mint that will help to maintain the boxes.
The boxes will contain used working papers, which given the publication delays in economics may still be ahead of their versions published in refereed journals. Thus the pedestrian passing by will be better informed about research in economics than journal subscribers. Volunteers will be on hand to guide interested readers. Note that despite these boxes being located in a French-speaking country, it is not expected that the majority of the working papers will be in French. Volunteers interested in participating should enquire at the Monnaie de Paris Boutique.
For other volunteer opportunities with RePEc, see our volunteers page.
August 30, 2017
If you participate in online discussions about economics research, if you have an online syllabus, or if you share some literature through email, you are likely providing a link to some full text on a publisher’s site. I want to argue here that it is a better idea to link to a RePEc service (abstract pages on EconPapers and IDEAS or links from NEP reports). The reasons are the following:
- Link to full texts go stale. RePEc URLs are permanent and contain updated links to full texts.
- If the full text link is gated behind a paywall, the RePEc link can still provide context and often a link to a free version.
- Alternatively, if the full text link is going to a working paper, a RePEc page may have a link to a version published in a journal.
- Clicking on a RePEc link will give the author(s) credit, this cannot happen if the link goes directly to the full text.
- A RePEc abstract page also provides related research (cites, references) and links to author profiles. The interested reader can thus explore for more.
EconPapers and IDEAS each have easy tools if you want to share a link through social media or email. Use them!
April 1, 2017
Many academic departments in economics require from their junior faculty to publish in top 5 journals in order to gain tenure or get promotions. The top departments ask for several such articles, lower ranked ones may ask for only one. However, the space available in those journals is very limited, a couple hundred articles a year. Given that many already tenured faculty publish in those journals, the space for the newcomers is very scarce and few junior professors can count on top 5 journals for their tenure hopes.
This problem has become worse, as more and more departments strive for such impossible requirements, in part because they are forced to keep up with requirements in the other sciences of their university, where articles are much shorter and journals publish more frequently, thus making it easier to get top publications. Without intervention, economics may get into the situation of choking itself by making it impossible for most department to grant tenure to faculty. In light of this upcoming catastrophe, RePEc is happy to come to the rescue with the launch of a new journal that will be accepting submissions from junior faculty aspiring for tenure, the
Top 5 Journal in Economics
will start today with volume 104 and a special issue on the Economics of Fisheries. For submissions and more information about the journal, click here.