Bringing scholarly communication in Economics kicking and screaming into the Internet age: NetEc, RePEc and more to come Thomas Krichel
Presentation on theme: "Digital scholarly communication in Economics: from NetEc to RePEc Thomas Krichel work partly sponsored by the Joint Information."— Presentation transcript:
Digital scholarly communication in Economics: from NetEc to RePEc Thomas Krichel work partly sponsored by the Joint Information Systems Committee through its Electronic Libraries Programme
Structure of this talk History from NetEc (founded 1993) to RePEc (founded 1997) Operational principles and mission of RePEc
Early history of my interest 1991 Contents: Warwick Working Paper acquisitions lists in CoREJ Technology: lists Idea: distribute the acquisitions lists through lists leads to the foundation of BibEc 1992 Contents: Public domain software for TeX, emacs, etc Technology: anonymous ftp Idea: make papers available on public archive that are accessible on the Internet leads to the foundation of WoPEc
The Foundation of NetEc NetEc is a group of Internet-based services that help scholarly communication in Economics. It is an early example of a cyberspace charity. It was founded in February 1993 on a gopher server at Manchester Computing. On the WWW since 1994, mirrored in Japan and the United States since The initial services were BibEc and WoPEc.
The BibEc project 1993 to 1997 Based mainly on acquisitions data for printed economics working papers from the Documentation Center of the Economics department at the University of Montreal. Run on a volunteer basis by Thomas Krichel and Fethy Mili Holdings go back to the late 1980s, around 40,000 items data is converted to html and placed on a web server
The WoPEc project 1993 to 1997 Central collection of bibliographic data on electronic working papers Initially unpaid volunteer work by José Manuel Barrueco Cruz and Thomas Krichel In JISC funding allows José Manuel to work full time on the project 5,000 papers in 1997
BibEc and WoPEc 1993 to 1997 Data converted to a whois++/IAFA like format static gopher/web pages updated periodically whois++ server (powered by digger of bunyip.com) with web-based fielded queries using an in-house query script WAIS index of the full-text pages WoPEc-announce and BibEc-announce mailing lists
Closely Related efforts EconWPA –manually integrated into WoPEc since 1994 Fed in Print –integrated into BibEc and WoPEc since 1994 departmental archives e.g., Humbolt Universität, University of California San Diego DEGREE S-WoPEc
Related efforts: Other NetEc projects CodEc –Collection of computer code by Dirk Eddelbüttel WebEc –Collection of WWW links to resources for economists, by Lauri Saarinen joined NetEc in 1995 JokEc –Collection of jokes about economists, by Pasi Kuoppomäki, joined NetEc in 1997
Projects associated with NetEc They are mirrored on the NetEc sites, but are not part of NetEc: Resources for Economists on the Internet by William L. Goffe Economics Departments, Institutions and Research Centers (EDIRC) by Christian Zimmermann
NetEc and Co A set of services, all are free to the end-user, most are powered by volunteers, build through centralized collection therefore not sustainable as the data mass increases, most service have specific user interfaces to their data, many functions are mirrored on the three sites
Focus on the digital academic papers BibEc and WoPEc were centralized collections of metadata about documents held at various archives and from various providers, they needed to decentralize. In the early days of the projects, a distributed database approach was thought to be the way forward, for example using the whois++ protocol, or Dienst an alternative approach would to collect all papers in one archive, the approach that works successfully for arXiv.org but unsuccessfully for EconWPA Debate on centralized versus decentralized distribution
Bill Goffes vision 1995 What I would suggest is this: a distributed system with any number of sites, each mirroring each other. […] archives could "join" the system (say it was written in perl so could run on NT as well as Unix). Then you'd have the best of both worlds […] Such a system could easily grow with the profession's use of the net. Such a system would GREATLY benefit the profession. Bill suggested a system based on a system like usenet news.
The foundation of RePEc Founding fathers: the BibEc and WoPEc projects, DEGREE, S- WoPEc two initial drafts by Thomas Krichel were revised at a meeting in Guildford in May 1997 –ReDIF, a metadata format –The Guildford protocol, a convention how to store ReDIF on ftp or http servers
RePEc principle Many archives –archives offer metadata about digital objects (mainly working papers) One database –The data from all archives forms one single logical database despite the fact that it is held on different servers. Many services –users can access the data through many interfaces. –providers of archives offer their data to all interfaces at the same time. This provides for an optimal distribution.
RePEc is based on 130+ archives WoPEc EconWPA DEGREE S-WoPEc NBER CEPR US Fed in Print IMF OECD MIT University of Surrey CO PAH
…to form one dataset... over 100,000 items in over 1,000 series, contains working paper, published paper, software, personal and institutional data largest distributed free source about online scientific publications, over 32,000 electronic papers data is encoded using the purpose-built ReDIF format all archives follow a convention called the Guildford protocol on how to store ReDIF files and other data on their servers. Therefore the archives can be mirrored.
RePEc is used in many services BibEc and WoPEc Decomate Z39.50 service NEP: New Economics Papers Inomics IDEAS RuPEc EDIRC HoPEc
… describes documents Template-Type: ReDIF-Paper 1.0 Title: Dynamic Aspect of Growth and Fiscal Policy Author-Name: Thomas Krichel Author-Person: RePEc:per: :thomas_krichel Author- Author-Name: Paul Levine Author- Author-WorkPlace-Name: University of Surrey Classification-JEL: C61; E21; E23; E62; O41 File-URL: ftp://www.econ.surrey.ac.uk/ pub/RePEc/sur/surrec/surrec9601.pdf File-Format: application/pdf Creation-Date: Revision-Date: Handle: RePEc:sur:surrec:9601
… describes institutions (EDIRC) Template-Type: ReDIF-Institution 1.0 Primary-Name: University of Surrey Primary-Location: Guildford Secondary-Name: Department of Economics Secondary-Phone: (01483) Secondary- Secondary-Fax: (01483) Secondary-Postal: Guildford, Surrey GU2 5XH Secondary-Homepage: Handle: RePEc:edi:desuruk
The RePEc vision It is a collaborative effort of community wide-knowledge sharing by discpline champions and librarians. The relational features allow to share the burden of cataloguing and reduce the cost of keeping the collection up-to-date. Once a critical mass of data and user services is reached outsiders face strong incentives to contribute. RePEc promotes free exchange of data between academics. It fights the appropriation of scientific material through the Faustian Bargain of academics and publishers.
Conclusion When a technological shock (like the Internet) hits a social structure (like the scholarly communication system), then there is an opportunity for new entrants to come along. This opportunity is here today. Seize it.