RePEc in September 2019

October 7, 2019

Short but sweet post regarding last month. We welcomed a small group of newly participating RePEc archives: Juniper Publishers, Journal of Financial Analysis, Journal of Economic Impact, Università degli studi di Pavia. We counted 453,439 file downloads and 2,588,056 abstract views. And we passed the following milestones:

15,000 cited books


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:


RePEc in August 2019

September 10, 2019

What is new? We are launching a new initiative that aims to identify which data sets are used in scholarly works. See this blog post for details.

As usual, we welcome a few new RePEc archives each month. For August 2019, these are: African Real Estate Society (AfRES), Ministerio de Hacienda (Argentina), 50sea Journals, Bussecon International, Alkhaer Publications. We counted 392,991 file downloads and 2,259,618 abstract views. Finally, we reached the following milestones:

75,000,000 downloads through IDEAS
40,000,000 extracted references
1,200,000 items with recognized citations


RePEc in July 2019

August 6, 2019

As often in the Summer, only a short monthly report. We welcomed a few new RePEc archives: University Management: Practice and Analysis, AHM International, Asia University, Oslo Metropolitan University, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Russian Academy of Sciences (II). We counted 421,617 file downloads and 1,893,252 abstract views in July 2019 on the few RePEc services that provide us with statistics. And we reached a single milestone:

750,000 working papers with abstracts


RePEc in June 2019

July 3, 2019

After all those years, RePEc is still enjoying a healthy growth. Last month, we welcomed the following new archives: European Xtramile Centre of African Studies, Business Strategies, Russian Journal of Industrial Economics, Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia, City University of Hong Kong, Shanlax, CEREDEC, Administrative Consulting, Russian State University of the Humanities, The Economics of Science journal. With this crop, we now have RePEc archives in over 100 countries. We also counted 395,439 file downloads and 1,798,030 abstract views last month. Finally, we passed the following milestones:

900,000 working papers
9,000 series and journals


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.