My paper got published, what do I do?

May 20, 2008

A typical situation: An author registered on the RePEc Author Service has a working paper, listed on RePEc in his profile, that got published in a journal. Now that the publisher has provided the bibliographic information about this article to RePEc, the author can add it to his profile. What should he do about the working paper?

In an overwhelming majority of cases, the answer is: nothing! Indeed, most publishers accept that pre-prints, even post-prints, remain on authors´ home pages or institution repositories (what department working paper series are, for example). In case of doubt, see the SHERPA/RoMEO list. Thus, the author should not ask the paper to be removed from wherever it was put up.

Note: removing a paper from an author profile does not remove it from the database. It only makes the system learn that the author is not the author of this particular work. The consequences can be very annoying. For example, it becomes impossible for RePEc to recognize that these are two versions (pre-print and published) of the same work, as they appear to have different authors. Then, someone stumbling on the working paper will not find a link to the published version.

For authors caring about their ranking, there are even more adverse consequences from removing the working paper from the author profile. First, many working paper series have higher impact factors that journals. Second, the authors loose the download statistics of the working paper. Remember, working papers are much more downloaded than articles. And if the article is available only to subscribers, non-subscribers do not have the option of accessing the free working paper version.

And if it is really required that the working paper be removed, ask the RePEc series maintainer to only remove the link to the full text, not the whole record.

75% of the top 1000 economists are now registered with RePEc

January 8, 2008

The RePEc Author Service recently surpassed 15,000 registered authors, and the post relating this mentions the high coverage among top ranked economists. To document this, take one popular ranking, the one by Tom Coupé that is based on publications from 1990 to 2000. Tom Coupé has two rankings, one where publications are weighted by the impact factors of the journals, the other where citations are counted. According to the “publications” ranking, 75% of the 1000 economists are now registered with RePEc, according to the other 65%. The difference comes from the fact that the latter also includes non-economists (political scientists, statisticians, demographers, law scholars, and sociologists) that are cited in Economics journals.

One particularly interesting aspect of these rankings is how the proportions of registered authors decline with rankings:

Ranks registered,
publication ranking
citation ranking
1-100 93 77
101-200 81 72
201-300 78 69
301-400 73 76
401-500 77 66
501-600 71 61
601-700 73 54
701-800 77 55
801-900 62 62
901-1000 65 60
Total 750 652

How can we explain this pattern? Are registered authors more likely to publish well or be cited? This may be true for more recent measures of visibility, but in 1990-2000, the RePEc Author Service was not yet functional. Are then better ranked authors more likely to care more about their visibility and thus more likely to register?

15,000 authors on the RePEc Author Service

December 15, 2007

The 15,000th author registered recently on the RePEc Author Service (which also has another 5,000 registered, but without any works in their profile). See a list of all those registered at EconPapers or IDEAS. This give us the opportunity to reflect on the coverage of this service: what proportion of academic economists is covered? Let me offer a few suggestions.

Assume that the works listed in RePEc provide a representative sample of all the works written by economists. Then determine how many of these works are listed in the profile of a registered author. By that account, about 40.1% have been claimed, and thus about 40% of the profession would be registered with RePEc. This latter number is in reality higher, due to several biases: a) some authors are not alive and cannot register; b) some registered authors have the unfortunate habit to remove from their profile working papers once they are published; c) some works listed are not written by economists, and these authors are less likely to register with RePEc.

Alternatively, estimate the number of authors in the world from the membership in academic societies. I guess the three largest societies are the American Economic Association (18,000 members), the European Economic Association (2,300 members) and the Econometric Society (5,500 members). Obviously, their membership overlaps, and not every of their members is an author. But not every economist is member either. Assume that adding their membership numbers corrects for all mismeasurements, then the RePEc Author Service covers 58% of the profession.

One can also observe a specific subsample of economists, those listed among the top 1000 by Tom Coupé. There, the RePEc Author Service covers 75% of the top 1000 by publications and 65% of the top 1000 by citations (which includes quite a few non-economists). But we have good reasons to believe these proportions are higher than for the whole population. Indeed the proportion is significantly higher for the better ranked within this sample, and we can extrapolate that those outside the top 1000 are less represented in the RePEc Author Service.

In summary, the RePEc Author Service covers between 40% and 75% of the profession. Possibly less, possibly more, likely in between.

Categorizing Authors

October 27, 2007

We are trying to find a way to categorize authors registered with RePEc into fields. There are two obvious ways to do so that we did not like. We went for a third.

Self-categorization at registration

This would allow authors, when they generate or update their profile at the RePEc Author Service, to declare in which field(s) they work in. We see two problems with that: 1) This is not implemented in the current service; 2) Self-categorization is not necessarily accurate, as authors may not make consistent choices.

Using JEL codes of works

Authors have works in their profiles that can help in categorizing them. One way to do so is to use the JEL codes. Given their number (over 900), you obviously do not want to use the full set of codes. But this is not the real problem. A major issue is that relatively few papers and articles are JEL-coded in RePEc (as of today, 109’085 of 543’566, or one fifth). Given the wealth of data, the small proportion is not that problematic. However, items are very inconsistently coded in the sense that some publishers do not use them at all, other put a large number of codes for each item, some put just the top level codes (in some cases the same codes to all papers in a series), some go with very fine codes. As authors tends to publish more with some publishers than others (think of working paper series), all sorts of biases can creep up. Also, these codes are typically self-declared, which can also be problematic.

Using NEP data

Our suggestion is to use data collected with NEP. This project catalogs new working papers by field, the results being announced through emails (subscribe for the report in your field if you have not done so yet). The cataloging is done by human editors help by a nifty expert system. Thus we do not have the problem of self-declaration. Currently, there are 79 active NEP reports, and they have dealt with over 90’000 papers which have been categorized about 260’000 times. Indeed, the same paper can appear in multiple reports. We think that the categorization of works is more consistently performed by NEP editors than publishers. Also, there is no self-categorizing problem. Finally, NEP reports correspond more closely to fields as they are used everyday: they may encompass several or only part of the top JEL codes. (By the way, if you think a field is not represented, volunteer to edit one. It is less work than you think)

Recent working papers of registered authors are disseminated through NEP, thus we can use this data to categorize authors. The subjective factor now how to define whether an author is a specialist in her field. Indeed, one may work in different fields, so there should certainly not be an expectation that all papers fit in the same field. And the NEP editor may also have missed some. In the current implementation, the following rule is applied: an author is considered a specialist in a particular field if, amongst all papers announced through NEP, at least 25% were announced in the relevant NEP report. She is also a specialist if at least 5 papers were announced in that list.


Why 25%? Having a majority of the papers in a field would too high a hurdle for those who work in several fields. One should also factor in that some papers may have been missed by NEP editors.


Why 5? Say that one needs, in many cases, about that many papers to obtain tenure. You obtain tenure when you are considered to be a valuable researcher in a field.

Use of this data

How does the categorization pan out with these specifications? See the author list. To see how the fields of an author have been determined, go to the very bottom of her profile. Ultimately, we may use this data to rank authors within fields, and do so as well for institutions. We will discuss this later.

Our question to you

What do you think of the choice of 25% and 5? Please discuss this in the comment section, we truly value your input.