RePEc in May 2019

June 4, 2019

The big news this month is that we reached 5000 working paper series indexed in RePEc. RePEc started to enhance the dissemination of working papers, and working papers are still the best way to learn about the frontier of research. More about this in our recent blog post.

In other news, we welcomed a diverse set of newly participating RePEc archives: Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus, Strategic decisions and risk management, Dagestan State Pedagogical University, Center for Crisis Society Studies, Research Africa Network, New Economic School (II), Associação Nacional de Pós-Graduação e Pesquisa em Administração, Lupine Publishers, Poleconom, Biomedical Journal of Scientific & Technical Research. We counted 512,040 file downloads and 1,975,480 abstract views. And we reached the following milestones:

750,000 cited articles
400,000 cited working papers
70,000 registered people
5,000 working paper series


Challenges with publisher data

April 27, 2019

All the bibliographic data that RePEc disseminates comes directly from the publishers. The quality of the data on RePEc services thus cannot be better than the quality of the data that publishers provide. RePEc imposes some syntaxic constraints to make data easy to handle, but unfortunately publishers do not always adhere to those rules, leading to lower data quality and even data loss. In this blog post, we expose some of the challenges that we face.

Let us start with an example. This is how good data looks like for a working paper:

Template-Type: ReDIF-Paper 1.0
Author-Name:  Daniel Rais
Author-Name-First: Daniel
Author-Name-Last: Rais
Author-Name:  Peter Lawater
Author-Name-First: Peter
Author-Name-Last: Lawater
Author-Email:  p.lawater@grandiose.edu
Author-Workplace-Name: Department of Economics, Grandiose University
Author-Name:  Jonathan Goldman
Author-Name-First: Jonathan
Author-Name-Last: Goldman
Author-Workplace-Name: Department of Finance, Grandiose University
Author-Name:  Zhiwei Chui
Author-Name-First: Zhiwei
Author-Name-Last: Chui
Title:  Phases of Imitation and Innovation in a North-South Endogenous Growth
Model
Abstract:  In this paper, we develop a North-South endogenous growth model to
examine three phases of development in the South: imitation of Northern
products, imitation and innovation and finally, innovation only.
In particular, the model has the features of catching up (and
potentially overtaking) which are of particular relevance to the Pacific Rim
economies.  We show that the possible equilibria
depend on cross-country assimilation effects and the ease of
imitation.  We then apply the model to analyse the impact of R&D
subsidies.  There are some clear global policy implications which emerge
from our analysis.  Firstly, because subsidies to Southern innovation
benefit the North as well, it is beneficial to the North to pay for some of
these subsidies.  Secondly, because the ability of the South to assimilate
Northern knowledge and innovate depends on Southern skills levels, the
consequent spillover benefits on growth make the subsidising
of Southern education by the North particularly attractive.
Length:  26 pages
Creation-Date:  1996-07
Revision-Date: 1998-01
Publication-Status: Published in Review of Economics, March 1999, pages 1-23
File-URL: ftp://ftp.grandiose.edu/pub/econ/WorkingPapers/surrec9602.pdf
File-Format: Application/pdf
File-Function: First version, 1996
File-URL: ftp://ftp.grandiose.edu/pub/econ/WorkingPapers/surrec9602R.pdf
File-Format: Application/pdf
File-Function: Revised version, 1998
Number: 9602
Classification-JEL: E32, R10
Keywords: North-South, growth model, innovation assimilation
Handle: RePEc:aaa:wpaper:9602

What can go wrong here? First there are some mandatory fields, and if they are missing, the template is automatically rejected. Examples are Author-Name, Title, Handle. Then some fields need to follow some format. This applies to dates, handles, URLs. An error here also leads to a rejection. In some other cases, a syntaxic error will only lead to a warning with the particular field being ignored.

The more subtle issues arise when the provider starts inputting data that is syntaxically correct, but not in an intended way. Let us look at what can happen to the Author-Name field:

Author-Name: John Doe
Author-Name: John Doe and Jane Doe
Author-Name: John Doe (j.doe@grandiose.edu)
Author-Name: John Doe, Department of Economics, Grandiose University
Author-Name: "John Doe"
Author-Name: JOHN DOE
Author-Name: Assistant Prof. John Doe
Author-Name: Juan González

All these will pass the syntax check because they will not lead to wrong information. However, they will be confusing for various uses of this data. The first entry is entirely correct. The second is problematic because two names are listed. Each author should be in a separate Author-Name field. The problem here is that, for example, the RePEc Author Service will have difficulties attributing this entry to John Doe as a more complex name is listed. The third and fourth entries have information that is not about the name. This should be included in fields like Author-Email and Author-Workplace-Name. The problem here is that when you build a citation record, you only need the name of the author, not all the other “junk.” And speaking of junk, the next entry also features extra characters that are not useful for the record. The name in all capital is annoying, because when works from different origins are mixed (say, a list of references), records in all caps look awful. Some RePEc services adjust the capitalization (also for titles), but this can lead to mistakes. Next, including titles not only makes a record look awkward, it also confuses name matching in the RePEc Author Service. Finally the last record has a mangled character. This usually happens because the provider was negligent in tracking the character encoding while transferring the data. There is another blog post to explain this.

What else are common errors that lead to confusion? A surprisingly common one is to put the abstract in the title. Speaking of the title, too often it includes information that does not belong in a title, such as “revised version of paper 2001-10,” “in Japanese,” titles in all caps, adding punctuation at the end, or putting the whole title between quotation marks. Again, this prevents building a good citation. It also prevents automatically matching different versions of the same work if the titles are unnecessarily different. Users can manually match those misfits with this form.

RePEc provides some syntax analysis to its providers at EconPapers, and providers are alerted about warnings and errors in a monthly email. Yet, it is often when users, especially authors, complain that they seem to be correcting the data. Thus, if you see something amiss, contact the person listed on every page for corrections. This is the person that can do something about the record, not RePEc volunteers.


RePEc in March 2019

April 4, 2019

What is new at RePEc? First, we welcomed the following new archives: Prizren Social Science Journal, Spanish Securities and Exchange Commission, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Revista Universitara de Sociologie, Bulgarian Association for Management Development and Entrepreneurship (BAMDE), ISE Research Institute, Istanbul University Press. Second, we counted 538,251 downloads and 2,200,616 abstract views. Finally, here is our traditional milestone report:

15,000 followers on Twitter for the NEP reports
12,000 distinct items mentioned in blog posts on EconAcademics.org


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).


RePEc in February 2019

March 4, 2019

February was a short but active month. We welcomed the following new archives: Humanity Only, Universidad de Cuenca, IntechOpen, Fundacja Upowszechniająca Wiedzę i Naukę “Cognitione”, Centraal Planbureau (Netherlands), Università Cattolica “Nostra Signora del Buon Consiglio” (Albania), New Zealand Centre for Macroeconomics, Ural State University of Economics, Bingöl University, HEC Montréal (II). We counted 442,943 file downloads and 1,814,905 abstract views from participating services. And we passed the following milestones:

800,000 book downloads
750,000 working papers available for download
400,000 working papers disseminated through NEP
50,000 book chapters available for download
40,000 books indexed
12,000 items mentioned in blogs and captured on EconAcademics.org


RePEc in January 2019

February 4, 2019

New features of the month: RePEc economists who registered their Twitter handle with RePEc are now automatically added to field and country specific Twitter lists. See this RePEc Blog post for details. And we have a new NEP report: NEP-WAR (War and Peace). We also welcomed a few more archives: Development Bank of Nigeria, Economic and Financial innovation (Ukraine), Érudite, Zibeline International, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, Universidade de Lisboa, Latin American Real Estate Society. We counted 436,706 file downloads and 1,717,925 abstract views. Finally, we reached the following milestones:

7,000,000 paper downloads through NEP
2,800,000 listed items
600,000 articles with extracted references
500 first NEP report to reach 500 Twitter followers


RePEc in 2018: A Year in Review

January 3, 2019

In its 22nd year of operation, RePEc is still growing healthily. Almost a quarter million new research items have been added in the course of the year, and we should be surpassing 3 millions sometime in 2019. In part, this growth was made possible thanks to newly participating archives, 61 of them, putting us over 2000 RePEc archives. We collect traffic statistics from four RePEc services, EconPapers, IDEAS, NEP and Socionet. They reported for the year 104,603,252 full-text downloads and 420,281,818 abstract views (after considerable vetting, well over 90% of traffic is from robots). This is not counting all the other services using the data made available by RePEc. And RePEc has also performed various upgrades to its services:


  • IDEAS and EDIRC have being completely redesigned.
  • MyIDEAS now has the ability to send weekly email digests for what users track.
  • Rankings saw various additions, principally those tracking only the last 10 years of publication and the 10 best authors per institution.
  • CitEc has improved citation extraction and increased its scope.
  • Various behind the scenes improvement, in particular for NEP.

There is much more to come in 2019. Watch out for news, or even better, participate as a volunteer!