How RePEc can help you in times of upheaval, and how you can help RePEc

March 31, 2020

The academic, business and policy worlds currently through quite a bit of upheaval as people work from home, classes have moved on-line or have been canceled. People have to adapt to working differently. In various ways RePEc can help.


Bibliographic tools available off-campus

EconPapers and IDEAS are bibliographic websites for Economics that are accessible from anywhere. No need to be on campus or connecting through VPN to access a proprietary bibliographic tool.

Links to open versions of gated articles

Similarly to the above, if you cannot access some articles behind a publisher’s pay-gate, IDEAS often offers you another version in the form of an open-access working paper. Relevant links are on the articles pages on EconPapers and IDEAS.

Covid-19 related material updated daily

Material on RePEc is updated daily with feeds from over 2000 publishers. You can find material about Covid-19 easily by searching EconPapers and IDEAS. For example, this search on IDEAS gives you all the listed material, sorted by most recently indexed. The match count increases hourly.

Get rapid dissemination of Covid-19 related material

You did a study and want it rapidly disseminated? If your institution has its publications already indexed in RePEc, you are fine. If not, you can upload your study at MPRA for rapid dissemination through the various RePEc services, including NEP.

Find topical material about pandemics

The RePEc Biblio has curated listings of the most relevant works in various fields, including a topic on the Economics of pandemics and its sub-topics.

The current situation may also imply that some people have more time than usual, or have a need for some distractions. This may be a good opportunity to help RePEc in various ways. Some opportunities are below.


  • Offer to create a RePEc Biblio topic in your area of specialization

  • Contribute information about your students, advisors, and former students in your graduate program to the RePEc Genealogy. Note that the collected information is used for the ranking of graduate programs, so in a way you are helping yourself.

  • Take a moment to check that your RePEc Author Service profile is still current, in particular that there are no works waiting to be claimed, contact details are OK (many personal homepages are not), and that affiliations are fine. And if you not yet have a profile, create one!

  • Correct broken links in the directory of economic institutions, EDIRC. They are all marked with a red broken chain link.

  • We lost contact with some of our registered authors. Give use their new email address! They are listed with a red question mark on IDEAS and EDIRC, or all together here. If they have unfortunately died, we want to record that, too!


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.


What a RePEc Author Service account is good for

October 3, 2019

A little more than 20 years ago, the RePEc Author Service was launched (then under the name of HoPEc) as a self-registering service. This allows economists to create an account with RePEc. What for? This blog post is trying to enumerate all the uses of this account that were created since.

Unique identification

Before all the other identification services for academics and researchers, we created the RePEc short-ID, a unique identifier attached to a registered person. This identifier is used throughout RePEc much in the same way other objects are identified through handles: series, journals, papers, articles, institutions, archives… They can references each other, they can be used to draw statistics (including rankings). The use is not limited to RePEc: we see it for example in Wikipedia, Wikidata, and elsewhere.

Research record

Creating an account in the RePEc Author Service also allows an economist to establish and maintain a record of their scholarly output. The RePEc Author Service tries to match works indexed in RePEc with name variations provided by the author and asks the author to validate the potential matches. Not only does this establish a research record for the person, it also allows to disambiguate homonyms or authors with the same initials and last names. The research records are public and used by other RePEc services like EconPapers and IDEAS. The RePEc Author Service also helps in the discovery of citations for CitEc, which also maintains author pages.

The records from the RePEc Author Service facilitate other data improvements in RePEc. For example, affiliation data is leveraged in EDIRC, the directory of economics institutions to provide member lists. In addition, if several works within an author’s record have very similar titles, we deem them to be different versions of each other and we can link across them in bibliographic records.

Access to personalized services

Everything on RePEc is available for free and without registration because we believe this is how you provide the widest dissemination of research. Yet, there are some enhanced services that are impossible without providing personalization. The following examples do not require one to be an author, only to have an account with the RePEc Author Service:


  • MyIDEAS allows to create a personalize bibliography while browsing IDEAS and then export it in various formats. It also allows to follow authors, serials, JEL codes or search keywords either through the website or weekly email digests.

  • MyCitEc allows an author to manage their citation profile and get alerts about new citations, including citations to other authors’ works.

  • Authors can get a personalized ranking analysis.

Authentication for other tools

The RePEc Author Service uses OpenID, which is a protocol that allows other websites to leverage the authentication on the RePEc Author Service to log in elsewhere. This is similar to using Google or Facebook credentials to identify yourself on other sites. This is used across RePEc wherever credentials are necessary to identify a person. Examples are:


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.


Literature search on IDEAS: a tutorial

March 23, 2017

RePEc is foremost a initiative to enhance the dissemination of economics research. IDEAS is one of several RePEc services that make the RePEc bibliographic database available to anybody. This tutorial demonstrates how IDEAS can be leveraged to perform powerful literature searches.

Search

A good starting point can be to do a search for some keyword. A search on IDEAS can be much more useful that a search on a more general tool as IDEAS is dedicated to economics, thus results should not be “polluted” by results from other fields or that are not research. Say you are interested in some economic aspect of elephants (an example actually requested in a live demonstration). Then search for “elephant” is sufficient to give you all the economic literature on the pachyderms. There is a search form on every IDEAS page in the top right corner, and there is also a dedicated page with advanced options.

At the time of this writing, a search for “elephant” yields 298 results. For the following, we will use as an example one search results that caught our eye: Downward sloping demand for environmental amenities and international compensation: elephant conservation and strategic culling, a working paper.

Browse

Another way to find a starting point for your literature search is to browse by topic. For this, we have the JEL Classification from the Journal of Economic Literature. While by far not every item in RePEc has a JEL code, this again can be a useful starting point. This may require quite a bit of exploration for the newcomer, as one may have to navigate several branches until one finds the right topic. Or there may not be a close fit. For example, the economics of elephants does not have its own code in the JEL classification, it is somewhere in code Q.

Often, if you start with a reference paper, the associated JEL code can help you. On IDEAS, you find it in the “related research” tab. There is none for our elephant paper, but here is an example for another paper (as for all images, clicking on it will show your a larger view):

Another way to browse is to look at the publication profiles of the authors of the studies you have found. Often, at least one author is registered with RePEc and has assembled all their works into their profile. There may be other relevant items there.

References

RePEc tries whenever possible to extract the references in the indexed works and then tries to link those references with the holdings in RePEc. This process is fraught with stumbling blocks, but it worked in our example, as can be seen below. References typically contain the most relevant literature that preceded the work that is considered. These works are likely to be important. And as you browse or follow the references, you will start noticing that the the same works keep appearing. These should most likely be part of your final list.

Citations

As we have references, we can also do links the other way: where has this work been cited? This provides you with the literature that follows the work that is considered. And indeed, our example has been cited elsewhere. You can then explore these works, what references they have and what their authors have also written.

Find other versions

Sometimes, you cannot access a particular work because the publisher requires a subscription. However, there may be a previous version available that is in open access. In such cases, IDEAS will tell you with a red message that you can find a link in the “related works section” as in the example below. The links also work the other way: while looking at an open access version, it allows you to find where it was ultimately published. In some cases, it even allows you to find associated data or computer code.

Keeping current

If you want to continue to follow the literature you are interested in, there are several options available to you. See this blog post to learn about them. One of them it to use MyIDEAS, which can also be useful when you are doing your literature search, as is allows you to save items into folders as you work on IDEAS and then export the bibliographic references in various formats.


Exploring the pre-publication communication for RePEc users

September 13, 2016

Two months ago, we announced a new free RePEc service that allows RePEc users making a fragmentation/annotation of papers and linking whole papers and/or their fragments by scientific relationships. These new tools are publicly available at sociorepec.org. It can help researchers with their everyday academic work, like discovery, analysis, and writing of new papers.

Using these tools researchers create private or public micro research outputs (annotations, relationships, etc.). If it is public, SocioRePEc can initiate direct scholarly communication between the researchers who used some papers to create micro outputs and the authors of the used papers. Such direct communication takes place while researchers are collecting findings, manipulating and organizing the findings, e.g. as their manuscripts. Thus, researchers have an opportunity to come to scholarly communication before the manuscripts become traditional publications. We call this the pre-publication communication.

Recently we presented our vision of the possible impact of pre-publication communication in a position paper “End of Publication? Open access and a new scholarly communication technology“.

We are looking for partners (organizations or individuals) to explore the pre-publication communication.

We want to find out how useful pre-publication communication is. As the first step, we propose some experiments with SocioRePEc facilities:

1. Competitive selection. The basic pre-publication communication provided by SocioRePEc is public. That means the system allows experiments with creating some elements of competition. Members of the research community can trace the “author”<–>”user” pre-publication communication. Then they compete with the author by offering the user better research results or more efficient solution to her/his research problem.

2. Identification of the “neighbours”. We can think of researchers using research outputs of other researchers as “neighbours” in the global scientific labor division system. Pre-publication communication can help researchers to find out who their neighbours are. This can give the neighbours better collective intelligence. They can interactively adjust and adapt their “supply” and “demand” to get better mutual impact from their direct research cooperation.

3. Exploring challenges. Do researchers appreciate that pre-publication communication is an instrument for identifying problems in and reducing potential issues of the credibility of their work? To shed some light on this question we need some additional qualitative study on how a research culture (formal and informal norms, rules, and motivation) can be developed that can lead researchers to adopt pre-publication scholarly communication.

4. Publication as aggregation. It is also important to find out what could motivate scholars to adopt the idea that the future of research publication is aggregation. Neylon wrote about this: “If we think of publication as the act of bringing a set of things together and providing them with a coherent identity then that publication can be many things with many possible uses” [1]. Possible questions for the experiments are: What kind of forms in general can research outputs usage have in, say, economics? Will researchers agree to share micro research outputs in order to benefit from the pre-publication communication? Under what circumstances could researchers adopt the idea of “publication as aggregation”?

5. Transparency in research. What changes in research practice can initiate global pre-publication scholarly communication between authors and users of research outputs? How can this improve the transparency and credibility of their research findings? Answering these questions will imply some study of, for example, the community of RePEc users. We see them as a pro-active group of scholars open to innovations in the field of global scholarly communication technology.

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[1] Neylon, C. The future of research communication is aggregation, Science in the Open Blog, published: 10 April 2010. Available online:  http://cameronneylon.net/blog/the-future-of-research-communication-is-aggregation/


IDEAS website now mobile friendly

December 30, 2014

As more and more people are using phones and tablets to surf the web and in particular to consult the RePEc websites, IDEAS has just moved to a new layout that is more friendly to such devices. Specifically, the display adjusts to the size of the browser window. We hope this will make it easier for our numerous mobile users. Other RePEc websites will follow.

Note that some IDEAS pages will still show the old layout. It takes some time to convert 2 million pages. If anything looks amiss, contact us! Or visit us at the ASSA 2015 meeting in Boston, at the St. Louis Fed booth in the exhibitor hall.