RePEc in May 2017

June 5, 2017

The past month was a big one for RePEc. First, the initiative celebrated its 20th birthday, still going strong despite its minimal funding. For more about this major milestone, see this blog post. We also reached two other major milestones: 50,000 registered authors and 8,000 listed serials.

In other news, following last month’s vote, there are a few changes to rankings. The Euclidian citation score has been added to author and institution rankings. It is also computed for serials. And aggregate scores now drop the top and bottom two scores, instead of one of each.

We also welcomed a good bunch of new participating archives: Nazarbayev University, University of Florida, Sociedade Brasileira de Econometria, Institute of Management Sciences Peshawar, DergiPark, Meisei University, Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics, Alphanumeric Journal, Noble Academic Publisher, Comenius University of Bratislava. We counted 531,041 file downloads and 1,999,763 abstract views. This bring us to the milestones we reached in the past month:

3,000,000 abstract views on Socionet
60,000 NEP reports
50,000 registered authors
8,000 listed serials
20 years RePEc


RePEc turns 20

May 12, 2017

On 12 May 1997, a group of people met at the University of Surrey at the initiative of Thomas Krichel, then a graduate student and lecturer there. The topic was to discuss Krichel’s proposal of a scheme to exchange metadata about publications in economics, in particular working papers. With its adoption, RePEc was born, and its scheme is today still powering the data collection for all RePEc services. You can find more about the history of RePEc here.

RePEc was not born out of nowhere. Since 1992, Krichel had been trying to find a way to improve the dissemination of research in economics. He was frustrated that it was very difficult for him to have access to the frontier of research. Then, as now, it was disseminated through working papers, given that the journal publication process is excessively long in economics. But access to those working papers, then only in paper form, was limited to well-connected economists. With the help of a few documentalists who were receiving working papers in the mail, he started disseminating announcements of new papers through email lists. You still had to request them by mail, though. Later he put those directories on a web precursor, gopher, and then on the web, and finally with links to full texts. Older economists may remember WoPEc, BibEc, BizEc, HoPEc, WebEc, CodEc, JokEc, all under the umbrella on NetEc. Krichel, with the help of a few volunteers and a little funding maintained all those resources. But at some point, there was just too much material on the web to index by hand. A new system was needed.

RePEc was that system. What was devised in 1997 is still in place today. It has proven robust because it is simple, it is extremely cheap to run, and it puts the costs and incentives in the right place. It is simple because the metadata syntax is straightforward and requires only to upload text files on the respective publisher’s website. It is cheap to run because technically all that is required to keep RePEc alive is a list of files that point where the metadata of the publishers reside. The cost of indexing is on the publishers, who are also the ones who want to have their works listed (or are pressured by authors to do so). The collected metadata is then essentially put in the public domain, and anybody can create a service that uses this data. This makes also possible that RePEc can continue even if it does not receive any funding. RePEc services may come and go, depending on sponsorship, but the data is here to stay.

In those twenty years, what has been achieved? The goal was to enhance the dissemination of economic research, to democratize access to it for authors and for readers. To date, we have close to 2,000 participating archives covering 2.3 millions items in 8,000 serials (yes, this is more than one a day over 20 years), including close to 3,000 journals and 4,500 working paper series. 50,000 authors have registered with RePEc. 75,000 subscriptions receive paper announcements through email, more through RSS and Twitter. 10 million references have been extracted and matched. The few reporting services counted 100 million downloads. Additional services have enhanced the collected data in various ways. A list of all services known to use RePEc services are listed on the RePEc home page.

All of this, and more, has been achieved by volunteers, some sponsorship, and a little bit of grant money. While we think we can pat ourselves on our backs for all what was done in the past, we must also keep the future in mind. As mentioned, RePEc is built to last with no funding, that is good. However, the team of core volunteers has evolved little over time. They are all twenty years older now, and fresh blood would be welcome. RePEc also faces commercial competition with deep pockets, some of which is using or even started with RePEc data. While the latter aspect satisfies the mission of RePEc, enhancing the dissemination of research in economics, it may bite into the motivation of our volunteers. Or not. The key is that we continue to stay ahead with innovation, even if they end up being copied, like our citation extraction and rankings. But keep in mind that RePEc services are always free, and will not shut down like a commercial service that has become unprofitable. Suggestions for enhancing RePEc and its services are always welcome.

Finally a special thank you to all of the volunteers who have helped in RePEc in big, small and tiny ways. RePEc is run by economists for economists. Many volunteers are anonymous, or are to numerous to record. Here are a few: Core team, NEP editors, EDIRC contributors, Plagiarism Committee members, Biblio editors, Genealogy contributors, MPRA editors, and most importantly, all our archive maintainers. More volunteers are welcome.


RePEc in April 2017

May 3, 2017

What is new this month? The IDEAS search engine now allows to sort results by citation counts. We have proposals up for a vote to do some changes to the rankings. We welcome a new crop of RePEc archives: World Economic Research Institute, Scientia Moralitas, Université de Corse, Online Science Publishing, Johannes Kelper Universität Linz (II). And we counted 514,315 file downloads and 1,889,094 abstract views. Finally, here are the milestones we reached last month:

10,000,000 matched citations
1,200,000 book chapter downloads
333,333 papers disseminated through NEP
3,000 contributors to the RePEc Genealogy wiki

Watch this space in a few days for significant news.


RePEc in March 2017

April 4, 2017

Over the past month, the new help page has been further expanded. We also got a large crop of newly participating archives: Central Bank of Malta, Bank of Russia, Waseda University, Inha University, Technische Universität Chemnitz, Vernon Press, Asian Online Journal Publishing Group, Université Paris 1 (II), European Systemic Risk Board, Luxembourg Income Study, University of Portsmouth, and Universidad Loyola Andalucía. We counted 620,664 file downloads and 2,348,514 abstract views. And we reached the following milestones:

80’000’000 abstract views on EconPapers
90 countries with RePEc archives


RePEc in February 2017

March 8, 2017

New this month: The IDEAS help page is being reworked, with upgraded FAQs. We have also started a recruitment campaign for RePEc Biblio editors. New functionalities have also been added for those editors. We have welcomed the following newly participating archives: Harvard University (V), Lima School of Economics, Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode, Institute of Development Studies (UK), Center for Economic Analyses (Macedonia), Sosyoekonomi Society, University of Greenwich, Universidad Michoana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo (III), quite a list. We have counted 522,288 file downloads and 2,010,318 abstract views. And we have reached the following milestones:

1,000,000 paper announcements through NEP
900,000 cited items
25,000 book abstracts


RePEc in January 2017

February 7, 2017

A very short report this month. RePEc slipped into the new year with a slow start, as only two new archives joined: WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management and Name: CRC TRR 190 (Rationality and Competition). Still, we recorded 591,840 file downloads and 1,848,929 abstract views in January 2017 and reached a few milestones:

1,400,000 indexed articles
400,000 articles with extracted references
4,500 working paper series indexed


RePEc in December 2016, and a look back at 2016

January 5, 2017

We have two new features to announce this month: First, our directory of economics institutions, EDIRC got a face lift that includes much better viewing on mobile devices. Second, we have a new ranking for authors, the Euclidian measure of citations, following the article of Perry and Reny. Also, we counted 425,384 file downloads and 2,082,757 abstract views for the RePEc services reporting these statistics. Last month, we welcomed the following new RePEc archives: ERINA, University College Dublin (III), Dickinson College, UNESCAP (II), University College Algebra, Università Bocconi (II), Union of Scientists (Varna). Finally, we reached the following milestones:

10,000,000 matched citations
1,250,000 items in registered author profiles
1,000,000 paper announcements through NEP
900,000 articles with abstracts
800,000 items with extracted references
750,000 indexed working papers
400,000 working papers with extracted references
15,000 links to RePEc items on EconAcademics

As for 2016, what have we achieved? In terms of RePEc services, MyIDEAS received a complete overhaul with new features, CitEc is making a big push to expand the coverage of citation extraction and added an API, and SocioRePEc made available a series of tools for authors. In terms of content, RePEc now indexes 240,000 more items, a growth of 12%, in part thanks to 80 new RePEc archives, 200 new working paper series and 292 new journals, CitEc extracted the references of 140,000 more items, a growth of 20%, and 2,800 more authors are registered with the RePEc Author Service, a growth of 6%. We counted 5,610,593 downloads and 25,928,965 abstract views, an increase over last year which reverses a decline in traffic that lasted several years.

Next year is going to be important for RePEc andwe hope to have more positive news.