How to find related material on RePEc

February 4, 2021

Suppose that you found a great paper. You want to learn more about this topic. How do you go about finding the right works? This post is to give you the right tools of that. First on IDEAS, then on EconPapers.

IDEAS example

Example abstract page from the IDEAS website.

IDEAS abstract pages have a lot of useful information. Not all pages have the same kind of information, it all depends on what was supplied by the publishers, authors, or RePEc services like CitEc, the citation extraction projects. Here we want to use the example above, which is close to the ideal.

IDEAS pages all have tables that allow to show different facets of the information. In the picture above, the “Author and abstract” tab is open. This can already help in finding more about this topic. Indeed, both authors are registered with RePEc, thus they have public profiles that show all their works indexed in RePEc. You may find something of interest there.

The next tab of interest the “References” and “Citations” tabs. The numbers next to each indicate the number of research works listed in each tab. The paper that got you interested is citing some other works that are also found in RePEc, and IDEAS helps you find them. Other works cited your paper, and you can discover them here. That should give you quite a bit of material to pour over.

In some cases, that may be much work, like in this case that was cited a lot. The next tab, “Most related“, is here to help you. This shows the works that were most frequently cited jointly with the item you are starting with. The list is limited to the top 20, hence the moniker “most related.”

The “related works & more” tab highlights some other ways to find related works, such as links to works having the same JEL codes or searches over the same keywords. Some other links may also appear in this tab.

EconPapers offers much of the same information, but on a single pages in a more condensed form through links to authors profiles, citations and references.

RePEc in December 2020 and a look back at 2020

January 6, 2021

We finished the year by adding a simple new tool that allows to select an economists according to several criteria, for example to find a seminar speaker. We counted 540,369 file downloads and 3,223,421 abstract views and welcomed the following new RePEc archives: Malopolska School of Economics, Russian Foreign Trade Academy, George Mason University.

Now regarding the year as a whole, 2020 was despite the circumstances a very satisfactory year. We counted the most abstract views ever over the span of a year, we surpassed 1 million indexed working papers, our citation analysis project made great strides, we added about 375,000 works to the index, about 3,500 authors registered, and 62 new RePEc archives started indexed their material. CollEc, the co-author network project, got a complete overhaul.

We are very encouraged by this increase in traffic. Over several year years, we have seen a decrease in traffic to the RePEc sites that report these numbers. Note that there has been also an increasing number of other sites that leverage RePEc data, but do not report such numbers. This made it difficult to evaluate how well we are doing overall. The new record *measured* traffic is a very positive signal.

Of course, this was also a special year because of the pandemic. This gave rise to a flood of papers about Covid-19, about 9000 to date in RePEc. The circumstances also called for the creation of an Economics Virtual Seminar Calendar that disseminated over 750 seminars.

RePEc now helps you find a seminar speaker

December 31, 2020

RePEc inaugurates just in time for New Year’s resolutions a new tool that allows to find seminar speakers. Current criteria are 1) field of research, 2) location, 3) gender, 4) seniority. This tool should help seminar organizers identify speakers that they may not have thought of. The same tool could also be used to identify peer reviewers, organize workshops, or find co-authors.

We are open to suggestions on how to improve this tool. It relies on information contained in RePEc, foremost the fact that an author is registered with the RePEc Author Service (and has current affiliation or publication information).

Note that seminar organizers (and speakers) can disseminate their virtual events through the Economics Virtual Seminar Calendar, which is available as web pages or through weekly email alerts with MyIDEAS. In 2020, over 750 seminars were announced that way.

RePEc in November 2020

December 6, 2020

The news of the month is the launch of a completely revamped CollEc site and application, thanks to the efforts of Christian Düben. We counted 619,269 file downloads and 3,311,625 abstract views in November 2020. We welcomed a few new archives: Duisburg-Essen University, Conselho das Finanças Públicas, Indian Statistical Institute, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, National Bank of Kazakhstan, Bengaluru Dr. B.R.Ambedkar School of Economics. Finally, the milestones we reached:
80,000,000 cumulative downloads through IDEAS
50,000,000 cumulative articles downloads through reporting services
25,000,000 cumulative downloads through EconPapers
12,000 students listed on RePEc Genealogy.

The new CollEc: An interactive exploration of the economic literature’s co-authorship network

November 26, 2020

This blog post was written by Christian Düben.

The economic literature is a field comprised of tens of thousands of authors. The American Economic Association alone has more than 20,000 members. In September, the RePEc Author Service passed 60,000 registered users with published research. Around 48,000 of them published at least one co-authored paper with another registered user.

Co-authored research has been on the rise over the past decades forming collaborations over enormous geographic distances and many fields of research. It is a network that interconnects the vast majority of published economists around the world. While many researchers are aware of collaborations between their close colleagues and prominent figures in their field, it is a challenge to even have a rough idea of what the overall network looks like.

When Thomas Krichel released the CollEc RePEc service in 2011, the co-authorship network’s structure became accessible. With a few clicks users can evaluate which authors form the center of the discipline and who holds a more peripheral position. Each listed person is assigned a centrality value computed using methods from the field of graph theory.

Now in 2020, CollEc enters a new chapter of its existence. After years of maintaining the project and providing intriguing insights into the economic literature’s co-authorship network, Thomas Krichel transferred the RePEc service to me. I used the opportunity to come up with a completely new implementation, re-writing CollEc from scratch. The former network analysis written in Perl took the server hours at full capacity. Migrating it to C and C++ code wrapped in R functions boosted efficiency, cutting the required time and resources to a small fraction of what the previous implementation required, and facilitating extensions to the analysis.

I added weighted edges, bilateral distances, and other results going beyond the centrality measures. The interface through which users view the data changed from a static website to a web applications. Web applications are more complex and give me the necessary flexibility to fundamentally redefine how the data is presented. The new CollEc is highly interactive and puts results through combinations of plots and text into perspective. When a user inquires the distance between two authors, CollEc generates a figure comparing that bilateral distance to the distribution of distances to all other authors in the network. The following plot is the result of requesting the distance between Christian Düben and Thomas Krichel with edges weighted by an inverse transition function. The concept of transition functions and the interpretation of the plot are outlined in the application.

With CollEc’s functionalities you can explore who someone’s co-authors are, how far two people are apart in the network, what the shortest path between them looks like, how centrally located a researcher is etc. All of the resulting plots are accompanied by a short text stating further information, e.g. on the network size. The web application evolves around the same approach as GraphEc, another recently developed but not yet publicly available RePEc service, does. It is an interactive tool focused on easily interpretable graphical output presenting results and facilitating comparisons.

Over the course of the past months, Thomas Krichel and Christian Zimmermann repeatedly reviewed the new CollEc and requested extensions and modifications. Thomas allowed me to host and test the application on his technical infrastructure from an early stage and did not withdraw his permission when I accidentally took his web server offline. Thanks to their great support, the application gradually improved and is now publicly available. To get started simply visit and watch the tutorial or read the documentation. Either of the two options provides a brief, intuitive introduction into the basics of graph theory and the interpretation of CollEc’s results. Read the documentation on entry points, if you would like to generate a link to a certain output. Before you brag about your network centrality on Twitter, it should be noted, though, that author centrality is not a proxy for author quality. Successful authors can be central or remote. Consult the IDEAS website for a citation-based performance analysis of authors, journals, working paper series etc.

If you would like to contribute to CollEc, ask your colleagues to register with the RePEc Author Service. CollEc’s network only entails authors listed in the RePEc Author Service’s data base. The vast majority of published economists is already registered. But some people are still missing. Fill the gaps in the network and ensure the reliability of CollEc’s results by promoting registration with the RePEc Author Service.

You can also decide to support RePEc more generally. IDEAS lists some volunteering options. RePEc is a non-commercial initiative run by volunteers providing openly accessible services. Small contributions like adding RePEc Genealogy entries already help in maintaining and improving this public good. I am a junior researcher who is going to be on the job market next year. Like the rest of my peers, I am under a lot of pressure to produce high quality research. Nonetheless, I do not regret having spent months on developing CollEc. Open science initiatives like RePEc are important contributors to an equitable research environment.

RePEc in October 2020

November 4, 2020

The big news is that RePEc topped a million indexed working papers. With almost all of them freely available, they are a very significant component to RePEc’s mission of enhancing the dissemination of research for everyone. In other news, we welcomed the following new RePEc archives: National Bank of Kazakhstan, Monash University(II), Escuela Profesional de Economía, Forum New Economy, University of Kassel(II). We counted 587,522 File downloads and 3,200,445 abstract views over October 2020. And we reached the following milestones:

3,333,333,indexed items
1,000,000 indexed working papers
75,000 NEP reports issued

Just in time for Open Access Week: 1 million Economics working papers indexed in RePEc

October 22, 2020

As we celebrate the yearly Open Access Week, we are proud to announce that RePEc now indexes over one million working papers, as pre-prints are typically called in Economics. Working papers have long been at the heart of economic research, and RePEc has been there from its start to help with their dissemination.

The theme of the Open Access Week this year is “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion.” This theme resonates strongly with RePEc. Indeed, our mission is to enhance for everyone the dissemination of economic research. RePEc was created specifically to help those who were outside the informal dissemination networks for working papers and allow them to follow the research frontier. Indeed, as publication delays from submission to print take years, the working paper is the best informer of current research. Before RePEc, one needed to be “within the club” to be even aware of new papers, let alone have access to them. With RePEc, anybody can find them and in most cases also read them, years before they get published in a journal.

The current Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to rapid access to ungated research for everyone. While this has been a problem in other fields, this has not been the case in Economics. At the time of this writing, over 6000 works are available through RePEc, and almost all can be downloaded for free.

Equity and inclusion are thus about giving the same chance at reading and getting read. All services are free and open to every one. Authors get their institution to participate and index their research output, for free (instructions). If the institution is unwilling to do so, authors can upload their papers, for example at MPRA, again for free. Readers can leverage the various RePEc services to discover new research (and older, too), for free. The metadata is even relayed to other popular indexing services, you guessed it, for free (even if some of them do require a subscription). But beyond being free, it is important to note that no one will be rejected, as long as their writing is about economics and is academic research. And everybody can access the papers.

We are happy to see that authors from the Southern Hemisphere are increasingly submitting the papers to RePEc. As RePEc was built specifically for those who not have the privilege to work or study in the top universities, we are particularly proud at seeing the increasing share of readers from Southern countries, too. In total the traffic we see splits in the following way: Asia 35%, Europe 24%, North America 19%, Africa 10%, South and Central America 9%, Oceania 3%. We saw users from every country over the last year.

While the penetration of open access journals is likely lower in economics compared to other fields, we have with our working paper culture a powerful substitute. Even after a paper has been published in a journal, we observe that the working paper version is read many times more that the article. While a journal publication may still bring some prestige, getting read (and ultimately cited) requires a working paper. The publication process in a journal is littered with hurdles that may be to high for some,and thus some good research may not get visible that way. But working papers give everyone a fair chance.

RePEc in September 2020

October 7, 2020

The highlight of the month is that we reached 60,000 registered authors. One way to view how remarkable this is: it is a multiple of the combined memberships of the three largest associations of economists. We also welcomed a good crop of new contributing RePEc archives: University of Kansas(II), Labour Institute for Economic Research (Finland), New School of Social Research(II), Universidad Nacional de La Plata, UC Louvain (II), Central European Journal of Labour Law and Personnel Management, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Centre for Advanced Studies in Education Sciences(Romania), Birmingham City University. We counted 509,975 file downloads and 2,749,902 abstract views over the last month. Finally, we reached the following milestones:

1,000,000 cumulative book downloads
750,000 articles with extracted references
60,000 registered authors
14,000 economists listed in the RePEc Genealogy
500 seminars listed in the Economics Virtual Seminar Calendar

Who are the authors registered with RePEc?

September 24, 2020

The number of authors registered with the RePEc Author Service has surpassed 60’000. We take this opportunity to take a look at some of the characteristics of this group.

For starters, one has to realize that this is a really large group. While anybody can register (for example to exploit some of personalized RePEc services like MyIDEAS), the 60’000 are those who have any sort of publication listed in RePEc. This group of published economists is much larger than the body of economists who are members of the three largest associations in the profession: The American Economic Association, the European Economics Association, and the Econometric Society. They have a total membership of about 25’000, including individuals who are members of several societies. Does this mean that RePEc is comprehensive? One indicator is to compare those registered to some other listing of economists. For example, a ranking of the top 1000 economists computed in 2000 shows now that about 91% have a RePEc account. Of course, we would welcome a more recent analysis, and RePEc membership is likely “top-heavy,” yet we hope you are impressed as us.

How did we get to 60’000? Here is a short-time line:

5’000 May 2004
10’000 June 2006
15’000 December 2007
20’000 April 2009
25’000 August 2010
30’000 October 2011
40’000 April 2014
50’000 May 2017
60’000 September 2020

Then, what is the composition of those 60’000? 25.5% are female, 1% are known to be deceased, another 2.5% have been lost, that is, their email address is bouncing and may have moved or died (update welcome!). In terms of geographic representation, we find economists in 167 countries and territories:

Africa 2.5% South Africa 0.5%, Nigeria 0.4%, Tunisia 0.4%, Ghana 0.2%
Asia 11% China 1.9%, Japan 1.9%, India 1.5%, Turkey 1.4%, Pakistan 0.7%
Europe 49% UK 6.1%, France 5.9%, Germany 5.7%, Italy 5.1%, Spain 3.7%, Russia 2.3%, Romania 1.9%, Netherlands 1.9%
Latin America/Caribbean 4.4% Brazil 1.3%, Colombia 1.1%, Chile 0.7%, Mexico 0.6%, Argentina 0.5%
North America 22.4% United States 19.6%, Canada 2.8%
Oceania 3.2% Australia 2.4%, New Zealand 0.5%
No affiliation/unknown 7.5%

Defining our authors by field is more tricky. They do not declare a field upon registration. We cannot use JEL codes as the coverage in the publisher-contributed data is lacking. We infer fields from the proportion of working papers announced in particular NEP reports. There are eligibility criteria in terms of number of works in a field to be counted. Measured that way for the 46% that qualify, the top fields are (an author may be in several fields, 100% is all qualifying authors):

Macroeconomics 25.2%
Urban and Real Estate 13.3%
Labor 11.2%
Central Banking 10.3%
Monetary 10.2%
Environment 9.6%
Dynamic General Equilibrium 8.8%
Agricultural 8.5%
International Trade 8.5%
Energy 8.3%
Banking 7.9%

RePEc in August 2020

September 5, 2020

For once, we welcomed just a single new participating archive, from the University of Johannesburg. We counted 437,145 file downloads and 2,761,617 abstract views. And we reached the following milestones:

2,500,000 items with abstracts
60,000 book chapters available online
500 indexed book series