RePEc in November 2017

December 4, 2017

There is currently a lot happening in the background for RePEc. For example, a redesign of IDEAS is in the works, which could entail revisiting the old light bulb logo. User suggestions are most welcome! In addition, we continue building up on wiki. In more regular business, we welcomed the following new archives: Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova, Center for Sustainability Research and Consultancy, American Public Health Association. We counted 553,911 file downloads and 2,205,063 abstract views and passed the following milestones:

70,000,000 downloads through IDEAS
6,000,000 abstract views for books
1,600,000 listed articles
1,500,000 listed articles available online
900,000 items with extracted references
4,000 listed software components
4,000 listed software components available online


RePEc in October 2017

November 5, 2017

A group of RePEc volunteers met last month in St. Louis and discussed for two days all sorts of issues. Over the next months, users will notice changes resulting from that meeting. For starters, we have

  1. reworked the conditions for the use of RePEc data,
  2. opened up some of our internal mailing lists to allow others to participate in the discussions,
  3. created a wiki for RePEc,
  4. opened a GitHub account,
  5. have now an official Twitter account.

Speaking of Twitter, we have now listings of economists on Twitter by country. In more regular business, we have counted 567,065 file downloads and 1,920,977 abstract views and welcomed the following new archives: Bank of Korea, Fondazione Luigi Einaudi, Journal of Mechanism and Institutional Design, National Bank of Ukraine, Gebze Technical University, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, and Universitas Gadjah Mada. As for the milestones we have reached, we have

2,400,000 listed items
4,000 books with extracted references
1,000 economists with linked Twitter account
125 topics on RePEc Biblio

RePEc in September 2017

October 6, 2017

Academia is reawakening from its Summer slumber, and it shows on RePEc. We counted 441,497 file downloads and 1,657,039 abstract views, and we welcomed the following new RePEc archives: World Inequality Lab, Global Academy of Training and Research, VsI Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Center, Southern Voice, National Taiwan Ocean University. As for the milestones we reached, we have:

7500 ranked institutions
400 indexed book series
20 years of IDEAS

IDEAS turns 20

September 27, 2017

IDEAS just turned 20. Launched in September 1997 on a web server sponsored by Université du Québec à Montréal and adapted from scripts written for WoPEc by José Manuel Barrueco Cruz (who is now in charge of citation analysis at CitEc), the site initially displayed 40,000 papers and articles. Now, there are sixty times more documents. A screen shot from the early days is below.

In 2002, IDEAS moved to the University of Connecticut, followed by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, where it is still hosted. Over time, the site served 3.6 billion pages, although the vast majority where requested by web spiders for the major search engines and some page skimmers (who should really use the API). Once all this robotic access is cleared, the abstract pages alone where read almost 300 million times (or an average of 120 times for each listed item) and 70 million downloads were recorded (or an average of 31 times for each document available for download).

A few dates relevant for the history of IDEAS:

  • September 1997: IDEAS opens for business at the Université du Québec à Montréal
  • June 1998: the first ranking is published, covering abstract views for items and serials
  • August 2000: the first author ranking
  • February 2001: the first institution ranking
  • October 2002: IDEAS is now at the University of Connecticut
  • June 2011: IDEAS moves to the St. Louis Fed
  • January 2013: MyIDEAS is available
  • December 2014: IDEAS becomes mobile friendly

RePEc in August 2017

September 5, 2017

We are finally waking up from the Summer slumber. We have high expectations for the near future while relatively little happened lately on RePEc. We got four new participating archives: Scientific Publishing Institute, Joint Research Centre (Ispra), University of Ibadan, CAF Development Bank of Latin America. We counted 408,853 file downloads and 1,468,524 abstract views. We hope to report more next month.

RePEc in July 2017

August 4, 2017

As usual, July is a calm month. We have to report a new web page detailing the representation of women in economics in various ways. We added only two new archives: Exeley and Step Academic. And we counted 401,303 file downloads and 1,537,997 abstract views. As for milestones, we have more to report:

1,500,000 listed journal articles
1,000,000 listed journal articles with abstracts
12,500 economists listed in the RePEc Genealogy

Why do some words look weird on RePEc sites?

July 27, 2017

When you browse through the various RePEc sites, you may come across some strange words or names, like González, su¢ cient or Möller. Why do those appear? To get to the bottom of this, one has to first understand how the RePEc sites get their content. All of it comes directly from publishers, about 2000 of them, who make all the relevant information available on their respective sites. To do so, they followed instructions and put files with a particular layout on their ftp or web sites.

These files are supposed to be simple text files, not formatted like they would be with Microsoft Word or LibreOffice. That should make them easy to handle with automated scripts. Unfortunately, this ignores the pesky issue of character encoding. Every operating system or software assumes that a particular character encoding is the standard, which is fine until a file moves from one computer to another. Early on, the files used in RePEc were assumed to be encoded as ISO-LATIN-1 or Windows-1252 by default. Back in 1997, UTF-8 (“Unicode”) was rare. Yet, there is till the option to force RePEc scripts to assume UTF-8 by adding at the start of the file a byte-order mark (“BOM”), which signals that the file has a non-standard encoding.

Now UTF-8 has become much more prevalent, and publishers sometimes put UTF-8 encoded data in files without the BOM, especially for files created by scripts. RePEc then interprets the data as ISO-LATIN-1 or Windows-1252, and the output can then look strange for any character that is outside the restricted ASCII set (simple letters and numbers). For example, any accented characters like é, ñ, ç, and ü will look odd if wrongly encoded. The same applies to ligatures like æ, ffi, and ß, non-Western alphabets, and some punctuation used in Microsoft Word.

As a RePEc publisher, how can you fix your poorly encoded UTF-8 data? There are two solutions. Either add the BOM at the start of the data, or use the new .redif extension which assumes UTF-8. But if you convert from .rdf to .redif, make sure to delete the old .rdf file(s), or your records will come up as duplicated and thus become invalid. And remember: no HTML encoding in your files.