RePEc in March 2016

April 3, 2016

We have now three new rankings: one for public policy institutions, and two for institutions that count the number of top 5% authors, for publications in all years, or in the last 10 years. We also welcome the following new archives: Neofit Rilski Southwestern University, Association for Research, Innovation and Social Science, Notitia, National University of Civil Protection of Ukraine, Research Academy of Social Sciences, Istanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi, Canadian Center of Science and Education. For the RePEc services that report this, we counted 545,080 file downloads and 2,058,294 abstract views last month. Finally, we reached the following milestones:

700,000 items with references
2,400 journals


RePEc to sponsor football team

April 1, 2016

TeamREPEC Photo by Mustapha Ennaimi

A year ago, we introduced on this blog a way for RePEc to raise some funds by letting registered economists pay to get citations boosts for the ranking statistics. This has proven to be excessively successful to the point that we are in the position to use some money for a purpose that may not appear to be a core function of RePEc: sponsoring a football club (a soccer team for Americans in the audience). This is not some random act of sponsoring, as we answered a call from FK Řepeč-Opařany, a club playing at various levels of the Czech football leagues, which was looking for some help for its facilities.

Pictured above is the elite team sporting their new shirts emblazoned with the RePEc logo. They will play throughout the Czech Republic, making the public aware of the great things we do at RePEc. If you happen to run across them, make sure to encourage them!


Correcting a few myths about RePEc

March 16, 2016

RePEc has been put to many uses on the Internet, so it is natural that people are sometimes confused about what it does or really is. With this post, we correct some of the myths we have seen or heard about RePEc.

RePEc is a spider

No. A web spider visits every website and analyses what it finds there. This is what the large search engines like Google, Yahoo, Baidu and Bing do. RePEc only visits pre-specified locations on the Internet that participating providers have announced to RePEc. There, they have made available files that describe their publications, following instructions. This means that it is not sufficient to put a pdf file on a web page to have it appear in RePEc. It needs to be indexed by a publisher (which may be a university department, a research center, a policy institution or a commercial publisher, for example). If that is not possible, one may upload the pdf at the Munich Personal RePEc Archive (MPRA).

RePEc is biased against X and Y

RePEc welcomes all content, as long as it is related to economics and finance. If some content is not appearing, it is because the responsible publisher has not made the small effort to participate. If some field is underrepresented, it is not coming from a decision that RePEc would have taken. Quite to the contrary, we have been reaching out to non-mainstream fields of economics as they can get much broader exposure through RePEc, a fact we have even documented.

RePEc privileges the big players

Anybody can be on RePEc. Any institution that publishes economic research can have its output listed on RePEc, whether big or small. In fact, democratization of dissemination of research, both for publishers and readers, is at the heart of RePEc’s mission. It is true that almost all the big players participate in RePEc by contributing their material, and many small ones do, too. Cost should not be a detriment to participation, as everything is free on RePEc, both for contributing to it and for using it.

RePEc is all about rankings

RePEc primary goal is the wide dissemination of economic research. Rankings have been a tool to get to this, but the main purpose is to index as much as possible of the economic literature and provide tools for interested parties to search, browse or be alerted about what they want to know. Rankings have proven to be an excellent means to provide the right incentives for this. And, no, RePEc does not stand for “Reputation Economics” but rather “Research Papers in Economics.”

Why can’t RePEc staff do X?

Because there is no staff! RePEc has no income, and must thus rely entirely on volunteer work. RePEc is thus pretty much based on self-help: authors maintain their profiles themselves and publishers do the legwork to index their output. If you have a suggestion, we of course welcome it, even more if you can implement it yourself. Or look for volunteer opportunities.

The St. Louis Fed owns RePEc

No! RePEc is basically in the public domain. Anybody can use the data collected by RePEc to start a service. Examples are EconPapers, IDEAS, and NEP. More can be found on the RePEc website. The St. Louis Fed hosts several of those services, such as IDEAS and the RePEc Author Service, meaning it provides the server and the access to the Internet for them, but it does not mean it is owning or controlling them.


RePEc in February 2016

March 3, 2016

February is short, yet we got plenty of new archives joining RePEc: University of Krakow, Universidad Autónoma Gabriel René Moreno, Fatih Üniversitesi, Universidad de Oviedo, ScientificEducation.org, FLACSO, University of South Africa, University of Tuzla, Asian Growth Research Institute, Libera Università Maria Ss. Assunta (LUMSA), Chamber of Financial Auditors of Romania. We counted Also, we now have an API for CitEc, our citation analysis project.

Finally, here are some milestones we have reached:
5,000,000 cumulative downloads through NEP
3,000 Twitter followers for NEP reports.


CitEc API

February 11, 2016

The CitEc project has launched an Application Programming Interface (API) to enable external applications to query the CitEc database and obtain citation data through a simple web interface. It allows to retrieve three different types of data for each document: plain, AMF (Academic Metadata Format) and citedby.

  1. Plain XML data about cites of a single document. This data should be processed by the API client before be presented to the user.
  2. AMF metadata for cites and references (if available) for the document. The XML response is an AMF record. More details about the AMF schema is available at: http://amf.openlib.org/doc/ebisu.html.
  3. Citedby shows the cites for the document. By default, the XML output is transformed through an XSLT style sheet to generate an human readable page.

The CitEc API is addressed mainly to:

  • Institutions providing data to RePEc (RePEc archives). The API could be used to insert in their web pages the number of citations of each document.
  • Researchers who want to use CitEc data in their bibliometric research. It provides an easy way to get basic data about documents and citations. Note that such researchers also could ask us to provide the data in the customized format they need in order to reduce even more the processing time.

Look at http://citec.repec.org/api.html for more information and examples.

Note that beyond CitEc, IDEAS provides also an API for other parts of the RePEc database.

Enjoy!


RePEc in January 2016

February 4, 2016

The new year is off to a good start: RePEc now indexes over 2 million works. Well at least according to IDEAS, which is more lenient with metadata errors than EconPapers, that will very soon get there. Also, we have launched a directory of economists on Twitter. Submissions are invited by tweeting one’s RePEc Short-ID to @RePEc_signup. Also, CitEc went through a site redesign. We welcomed the State Bank of Pakistan and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences as new RePEc participants. Finally, we counted 416,866 file downloads and 1,848,801 abstract views in the last month.

And here are the milestones we reached:

2000000 items indexed in RePEc
1400000 items indexed with an abstract
100000 NEP tweets


Twitter, Economics, and RePEc

January 29, 2016

Economists have been slow to embrace social media for professional use. We are used to write long papers, go a through extremely lengthly review process, and hesitate to take categorical positions (“it depends”). The quick and fleeting nature of social media does not seem to be a natural environment for economists. Yet, blogs have been active for many years with contributions that have helped discuss, explain and form policy. Some have provided platforms for research that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. And some have highlighted research that had flaws.

Social media is huge, and it can be a challenge for somebody who is interested in the economic discourse to find what is worthwhile to follow. Also, it is not obvious to find what social media had to say about a particular topic, especially if one wants to limit oneself to what “true” economists have to say. There is unfortunately a lot of noise in the economic debate, as almost everyone has a opinion that is not often backed by research.

RePEc has already tried to capture what is happening in the economic blogosphere. EconAcademics is a website that aggregates the discussion of economic research while monitoring about 1000 blogs. The idea here is to find those blog posts that link to research indexed on RePEc, on the presumption that they discuss research or use research to make a point. This is in contrast to a lot of the discussion of economics that very quickly veers into politics with little backing from actual research. EconAcademics thus makes those blogs better known that are more “seriously” into economics. The site can also be used to find interesting material for the classroom or simply to broaden once interests. We hoped also that this would encourage more discussions in the comment sections of those blogs. Anecdotally, this does not seem to have happened. Economists seem too busy to engage in any significant way in such discussions, with few exceptions. This is especially true when it comes to commenting papers. Blogs have not become a medium where a discussion can drag on for days (although it could have), as a careful reading of the papers would require.

What about Twitter? It would seem that the instantaneous nature of Twitter, as well as the 140 character limit of a tweet, would make it even more difficult to have serious and thoughtful discussions about research. It appears that economists recently have been warming up to the idea, and many prominent ones have joined Twitter and contribute thoughts on policy and current research. The difference with blogs is that Twitter somehow engages more discussion, and it also prompts interactions between people who would never have interacted otherwise: it makes everyone accessible. That said, one can also simply be lurking without intervening and learn from the discussion or the alerts. As we find from analyzing traffic to RePEc, Twitter can drive substantial readership to some papers. Another example is the previous post on this blog, that got substantial readership, almost all through Twitter.

How can RePEc help here? There are two ways. The first is that every new working paper that is announced through the NEP mailing lists is now also disseminated through Twitter (see for a list of all the available feeds one can follow). This has been in place for close to a year and has so far gathered a following of about 3000 users with a steady flow of further dissemination through retweets.

The second is that it is now possible for authors to add their Twitter account to their IDEAS author profile, thereby making their Twitter time line easier to find. All they need to do is to tweet their RePEc Short-ID to @RePEc_signup. This allows also to compile a list of economists present on Twitter, which we hope will grow quickly.

Economic policy is very much in the public sphere. Economists should embrace social media to steer discussions in the right direction, that is, in a way that is backed up by serious research. Blogs and now Twitter can be good tools for this.


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