Methodological changes to LogEc data

February 7, 2022

LogEc is the RePEc project that consolidates usage statistics from several RePEc services. It provides publishers and authors some insight into how popular their works are with RePEc users. The participating RePEc services are EconPapers, IDEAS, NEP, and Socionet.

The idea of LogEc is to measure human traffic, not traffic from robots, spiders, or other manipulations. Typically, over 90% has been thrown away as not considered human, using a variety of controls, both scripted and manual. A continuous increase in robotic traffic has made it more and more difficult to handle the separation of good and bad use of the sites. In recent months, it has been especially worrisome that several DDOS attacks have taken place on some of the sites, leading to sub-optimal service from the servers, and an even larger share of robotic traffic. Note also that web scrapers do not need to get the RePEc data that way, as it is already freely available through various means described here.

In light of these problems and the workload on the volunteers they generate, we have changed the way legitimate traffic is counted. The new approach leads to lower final numbers that, while likely eliminating some legitimate human traffic, gives a better picture of human traffic. The approach is used uniformly across all the data, thus we do not believe this introduces any bias. But one consequence dear to any of users familiar to time series: From January 2022, the numbers will not be comparable to the numbers until December 2021.

Link to a RePEc page, not directly to the full text

February 5, 2022

Say you mention economic research in an online essay, social media, or your web page. You want to provide a link to that research. We want to argue that you should not link to the full text (pdf file or even publisher abstract page), but rather to the abstract page on a RePEc service such as EconPapers or IDEAS. Here is why.

RePEc URLs are stable. Publishers may reorganize their website or change URLs. In some cases the URL you see is personalized and invalid for other users. But RePEc URLs almost never change, and in the very rare cases where they do, a redirection is present. Thus, you do not need to verify that the link is still valid in the future.

RePEc offers alternative versions. Say you link to a journal article that is behind a paywall that your readers cannot pass. Often RePEc proposes alternative versions such as working papers that may not be the final version, but at least your readers have something to use. Or if you link to a working paper, RePEc will offer a link to the corresponding journal article once it is published.

RePEc offers context. A RePEc abstract page offer additional links to the author profiles, cited works, works citing that research (with a count to show impact), and more. While some publishers also offer such context, it is limited to their own publications. RePEc encompasses all of economics.

A look back at RePEc in 2021

January 6, 2022

It was another busy year at RePEc. We are happy to see that the general trend of increasing traffic is continuing, at least for those RePEc services that report back usage data. We counted 6,478,790 downloads, almost exactly the same as last year, and 36,258,653 abstract views, a 3.8% increase over last year and a new record year. The participating RePEc archives added 439,000 research items, including 123,000 working papers and 303,000 journal articles. This was in part fueled by 63 new archives, which are now located in 103 countries. The RePEc Author Service has gained 2,514 registered authors.

We are happy to see that there is still potential for growth, despite the fact that all major publishers and research institutions are already participating in RePEc. One would think that having 9688 indexed journals would cover the field, but no, another 369 were added in 2021, and 134 working papers series, too. This bodes well for the next year and we hope to present more features that can be useful to the economics profession.

RePEc in December 2021

January 6, 2022

To conclude the year here is what RePEc achieved. A couple of new archives:Ziane Achour University of Djelfa, US Air Force Academy, Centro de Estudios Espinosa Iglesias, Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica. We counted 458,283 file downloads and 2,691,033 abstract views. And we reached the following milestones:
3,000,000 items with abstracts
1,500,000 items with references
1,000,000 articles with citations
20,000 book chapters with citations

RePEc in November 2021

December 7, 2021

What is new with RePEc? We welcomed the following new RePEc archives: Central Bank of Nigeria, International Society for Efficiency and Productivity Analysis, Journal of Academic Value Studies, Regional Economy, Eruditus Publishing. We counted 571,966 file downloads and 3,114,271 abstract views.

As for the month’s milestones:
10,000,000 book abstract views
80,000 NEP report issues
15,000 economics institutions indexed in EDIRC.
12,500 blog posts on economic research indexed in

Volunteering with RePEc

December 1, 2021

RePEc’s mission is to democratize the dissemination of research in economics. This means that everyone should be able to identify research of interest and find ways to access it. This also means that every economist should have ways to make access to their research available. RePEc is working towards this mission with the help of an army of volunteers. The idea is that the economics community is better served by itself than by outsiders. Volunteers can be very involved, such as running websites, or less, such as contributions data as much as they can.

RePEc can always use more volunteers. The main benefit is the satisfaction of contributing to a public good. Also, for many of those who have a service component to their job (in addition to, say, teaching and research), helping RePEc can be more productive than sitting on some committee…

What opportunities are there? RePEc offer a variety of services and web sites (detailed here) that can use help. Usually, some programming knowledge is required. Ideas are also much welcome. A team of core volunteers is welcoming any help. It is best to contact the maintainer of the relevant service to see if one’s profile is suitable.

Another major area of work is being editor for a NEP report, if you see a vacancy or feel your field is not covered yet, contact the general editor to propose your services. Note that being NEP editor provides the added benefit of name recognition among the peers in your field.

Most RePEc volunteers provide data in one way or another. An important one is maintaining a so-called RePEc archive that hosts the data about publications. This can be for a journal, a working paper series, or a collection of series. There are over 2000 RePEc archives at this time. Instructions to open a new RePEc are here.

Other ways to contribute data are: adding references for paper where the reference extraction failed; correcting broken links in EDIRC, the directory of economic institutions; adding information about alumni and their advisors in the RePEc Genealogy; curating lists of the most important papers in a specific area and sub-areas in the RePEc Biblio; contributing to the Economics Virtual Seminar Calendar; maintaining the profiles of deceased economists. Or simply by providing suggestions for improvements, new features or new services.

RePEc is built by the community for the community. Be part of it.

RePEc in October 2021

November 8, 2021

RePEc reached plenty of important milestones last month, detailed below. We also welcomed two new archives, Nazarbayev University and Malaysian Journal of Economic Studies, and counted 529,131 file downloads and 2,768,713 abstract views. And now the promised milestones:

3,000,000 items with abstracts
1,000,000 cited articles
10,000 indexed series
750 RePEc-wide H-Index

How RePEc counts views and downloads

November 6, 2021

One benefit for participants in RePEc, be it publishers or authors, is that they get some statistics on the popularity of their works. Beyond citation counts, RePEc also provides download counts and what we call abstract views, that is the number of times web pages paper abstracts have been viewed on participating RePEc services. This post explains how these last two statistics are computed.

LogEc is the site that holds these statistics. Not all sites using RePEc data report the necessary data, but some of the most popular do: EconPapers, IDEAS, NEP, and Socionet. Statistics are based on web servers logs, but those contain a lot of unnecessary data: traffic from various robots that populate search engines, scripts that scrape the sites, other automated processes, and various abuses. The idea is to only count traffic from humans interested in the indexed papers. This means some trimming needs to be done.

We are going to take the example of IDEAS, the most popular of the reporting sites. In October 2021, IDEAS got 43,643,586 page views. Of those, 30,336,150 pertained to abstract pages and 565,241 were full-text downloads. A first pass removes obvious robots (mostly self-declared robots from search engines) as well as multiple views or downloads from the same user. We are down to 20,573,559 abstract views and 375,028 downloads. The next pass does further trimming, mostly of more accesses by various scripts. We have now 2,123,054 abstract views and 339,384 downloads. We are, however, not done yet. A number of red flags have been identified, that is, problematic cases that need to be checked by hand back in the server logs. After vetting those, we have the final numbers of 1,986,493 abstract views and 339,039 downloads. In other words, we counted only 6.5% respectively 60% of the raw traffic. In some months, the proportion is even lower, for example, when IDEAS has been subjected to denial of service attacks.

RePEc in September 2021

October 5, 2021

Only two new RePEc archives last month: Eastern State Planning Center and Bicol University. We counted 467,138 file downloads and 2,530,770 abstract views. We reached some important milestones:

2,500,000 indexed articles
1,500,000 cited items
1,000,000 individual paper announcements through NEP
12,500 blog posts indexed on EconAcademics

How RePEc deals with author data

October 4, 2021

RePEc is all about the open dissemination of information. Most information is about publications, and as this originates with the publishers, RePEc simply relays what they provide. There is therefore not much to say about data ownership or copyright.

Things are a little different for authors. When they create a profile in the RePEc Author Service, they do so with the understanding that this profile will be public and visible on the various RePEc services. Still, there is always a private component to this data, and here is how RePEc deals with it.

Data use: Within RePEc, author data is used to publish authors profiles on CitEc, EconPapers and IDEAS. Also, the co-authorship network is analyzed on CollEc. Finally, author data is used on the RePEc Genealogy and for author and institution rankings.

Passwords: The passwords used for RePEc accounts are never kept in clear text. As should be practice with any password management, they are encrypted with salt. This prevents the reverse-engineering of an encrypted password. This means that passwords are not sent through email in clear, passwords reset by requesting a link that is sent to the registered address. If that address, is not available anymore, request a change from the administrator, who can change addresses but not passwords.

Email address: The registered author can choose not to make the email address public. It can, however, be useful to have a visible email address, so that other economists can find a way to contact the author. RePEc services try to make the public email addresses difficult to harvest by robots. RePEc does not provide email lists for free or money.

Bad email address: If emails from RePEc bounce hard (not a temporary problem or a vacation bounce, but may include when the email provider blocks RePEc emails), RePEc makes an effort to rectify the address. Then, it asks registered co-authors, students and advisors for new coordinates. A notice it also put on the public profiles. To spare the administrator these steps, it is always appreciated that authors preemptively change their address when they anticipate a move. Note that profiles with bad email addresses do not count towards the rankings scores of their affiliations.

Affiliations: The registrant is responsible for maintaining their affiliations. The RePEc Author Service administrator does not add affiliations, but removes affiliations upon request of an administrator of that institution.

Notice of death: We appreciate notices about the death of a registered author. We add a mention to the profile and maintain it should any works be published and added posthumously.

Rankings: We understand that some registered authors do not want their ranking performance revealed to outsiders. For this reason, only the top ranked authors are listed on the ranking pages. Similarly, RePEc does not reveal individual rankings to administrators.

Automatic email opt-out: Registered economists receive occasional automatic emails about newly discovered works they may have authored. They can opt out of these alerts by logging into the RePEc Author Service, go into the “research” menu and then follow the “search settings” link.

Automatic profile deletion: Should a profile have no works listed and have an invalid email address, it will automatically be deleted, as it does not appear to serve any purpose. Fraudulent, spam, and inappropriate accounts are also deleted at the discretion of the administrator, including accounts that are not in the name of a person.

Profile deletion requests: Registered authors can delete their profile in two ways: 1) log in to the RePEc Author Service and click on the “delete” button at the end of the menu; 2) request by email to the RePEc Author Service administrator. Note that a profile deletion means that RePEc services will not display the profile of this author (give them a few days for the deletion), but the works will remain, as they are under the authority of the publisher. A deleted account can be reinstated upon request (email to RePEc Author Service administrator).