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RePEc: a public-access database that promotes scholarly communication in Economics Thomas Krichel 2006-03-21.

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Presentation on theme: "RePEc: a public-access database that promotes scholarly communication in Economics Thomas Krichel 2006-03-21."— Presentation transcript:

1 RePEc: a public-access database that promotes scholarly communication in Economics Thomas Krichel

2 free pizza & free libraries Thomas Krichel

3 who is he?

4 he is "St. IGNUicus" A humoristic creation of Richard M. Stallman (RMS) RMS is the father of the free software movement –a geek –a visionary St. IGNUicus shows an emphasis on the moral case for free software, rather than the business case

5 free software vs free pizza Free in free software is does not mean zero dollar, like in free pizza. Instead it refers to free as in freedom. Richard says that free software comes with four freedoms. He developed a license that protects these freedoms, known as the GNU public license.

6 4 freedoms of free software The freedom to run the software, for any purpose. The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits

7 moral case and business case Other folks in the free software movement avoid the "f" word –free can mean cheap –cheap can mean bad They stress the business case of free software They use the term "open source software", (OSS)

8 RMS and us Amen, I tell you: we librarians need to learn more from the OSS movement. We need to make the concepts coming of free software more a part of our business. Let us look at a key concept: free software.

9 what has this to do with us? Just replace free software with free information. Libraries are about free information. But the analogy is not quite as simple. –When we talk about free information, we usually mean things that we can freely read (download…). free as in: $0 –We do not usually mean free information as information we are free to do things with. Free as in freedom.

10 moral and business There is a moral case for free information. Librarians rely on it. There is a business case for free information. Librarians need to make their own.

11 from moral case to business case To form the business case for free information, think of "free information" as "freedom to do things" rather than $0. Thus libraries can make a crucial business case for them as agents who transform information. Recall that there are whole industries out there that produces free information.

12 Open libraries and scholarly communication RePEc is an example for an Open Library. An Open Library is loosely defined an application of the OSS principles to libraries. –vague –in the making –but has some history Looking at RePEc will fix ideas.

13 scholarly communication Is mainly about scholars communicating –between themselves –to students, occasionally Thus it is essentially a community activity. Traditionally, there have been two intermediaries acting as external agents. –libraries –publishers

14 when tradition ends Two external shock –There comes the Internet and reduces distribution costs to zero –There comes computer technology and reduces storage costs somewhat opportunity sets of community members and external agents increases Proposition: the future depends much on what the community members decide. External agents have little impact.

15 discipline communities Scholars of various disciplines have varying habits of research, publication, and evaluation It is likely that the Internet will emphasize those differences rather than reducing them.

16 examples: disciplines with established informal publishing Preprint communities –Physics –Mathematics, partially Working paper communities –Computer Science CiteSeer (working paper disappearing) –Economics RePEc

17 change is tough Change has to come inside the discipline. There has to come a pioneering individual who –is technically well versed –is managerially smart –has extraordinary forward thinking –is willing to take considerable risk with her career Ginsparg, Krichel, Giles & Lawrence are rare

18 RePEc History It started with me as a research assistant an in the Economics Department of Loughborough University of Technology in a predecessor of the Internet allowed me to download free software without effort but academic papers had to be gathered in a painful way

19 CoREJ published by HMSO –Photocopied lists of contents tables recently published economics journal received at the Department of Trade and Industry –Typed list of the recently received working papers received by the University of Warwick library The latter was the more interesting.

20 working papers early accounts of research findings published by economics departments –in universities –in research centers –in some government offices –in multinational administrations disseminated through exchange agreements important because of 4 year publishing delay

21 I planned to circulate the Warwick working paper list over listserv lists I argued it would be good for them –increase incentives to contribute –increase revenue for ILL After many trials, Warwick refused. During the end of that time, I was offered a lectureship, and decided to get working on my own collection.

22 1993: BibEc and WoPEc Fethy Mili of Université de Montréal had a good collection of papers and gave me his data. I put his bibliographic data on a gopher and called the service "BibEc" I also gathered the first ever online electronic working papers on a gopher and called the service "WoPEc".

23 NetEc consortium BibEcprinted papers WoPEcelectronic papers CodEcsoftware WebEcweb resource listings JokEcjokes HoPEc a lot of Ec!

24 WoPEc to RePEc WoPEc was a catalog record collection WoPEc remained largest web access point but getting contributions was tough In 1996 I wrote basic architecture for RePEc. –ReDIF –Guildford Protocol

25 1997: 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.

26 RePEc is based on 560+ archives WoPEc EconWPA DEGREE S-WoPEc NBER CEPR Blackwell US Fed in Print IMF OECD MIT University of Surrey CO PAH Elsevier

27 to form a 362k item dataset 171,000 working papers 187,000 journal articles 1,300 software components 2,100 book and chapter listings 9,000 author contact and publication listings 9,300 institutional contact listings

28 RePEc is used in many services BibEc and WoPEc Decomate Z39.50 service EconPapers NEP: New Economics Papers Inomics RePEc author service IDEAS RuPEc EDIRC LogEc

29 … 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: pub/RePEc/sur/surrec/surrec9601.pdf File-Format: application/pdf Creation-Date: Revision-Date: Handle: RePEc:sur:surrec:9601

30 … describes persons (HoPEc) template-type: ReDIF-Person 1.0 name-full: MANKIW, N. GREGORY name-last: MANKIW name-first: N. GREGORY handle: RePEc:per: :N__GREGORY_MANKIW homepage: mankiw/mankiw.html workplace-institution: RePEc:edi:deharus workplace-institution: RePEc:edi:nberrus Author-Article: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:76:y:1986:i:4:p: Author-Article: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:77:y:1987:i:3:p: Author-Article: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:78:y:1988:i:2:p: ….

31 … describes institutions 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

32 what do open libraries do? Identify records Relate identified records These actions require human control. They prepare for assessment of performance.

33 key to success Have a small group of volunteers Disseminate as widely as possible Demonstrate to authors and institutions that it works for them. –institutional registration –author registration

34 institutional registration It started by one sad geezer making a list of departments that have a web site. I persuaded him that his data would be more widely used if integrated into the RePEc database. Now he is a happy geezer and one of our three crucial volunteers.

35 RePEc author service RePEc document data has author names as strings. The authors register with RAS to list contact details and identify the papers they wrote. This is classic access control, but done by the authors.

36 author registration It started when funding allowed us to hire a crazy programmer to write an author registration system. The system went online as "HoPEc" in late It has been renamed "RePEc author service" (RAS) A recent grant from OSI allows for a rewrite and expansion.


38 LogEc It is a service by Sune Karlsson that tracks usage of items in the RePEc database –abstract views –downloads There is mail that is sent by Christian Zimmermann to –archive maintainers –RAS registrants that contains a monthly usage summary.

39 authors' incentives Authors perceive the registration as a way to achieve common advertising for their papers. Author records are used to aggregate usage logs across RePEc user services for all papers of an author. Stimulates a "I am bigger than you are" mentality. Size matters!

40 recently In 2004, Peter Jasco compared RePEc services with the EconLit proprietary professional database. –IDEAS and LogEc were Peters pick –EconLit was Peters pan. He slammed the working paper coverage of EconLit. He could have slammed other things.

41 RePEc / EconLit partnership RePEc now delivers all its working paper data to EconLit, without getting the journal data of EconLit in return. This may seem absolutely perverse! A bunch of volunteers laboring for a multi- million $$$ concern! In fact it serves RePEc well because it adds officialdom.

42 summary: keys to success Have a small group of volunteers Disseminate as widely as possible Demonstrate to authors and institutions that it works for them. –institutional registration –author registration

43 KEY idea 1 RePEc attracts a community of users and contributors The community itself is the focus of attention RePEc describes the living rather than the dead. Forget about documents!

44 KEY idea 2 Forget about users! Disseminate widely Users will come through Google anyway. And Google loves RePEc services –puts RePEc services top when the query consists of the name of an author

45 obstacles to open libraries lack of imagination & entrepreneurship inability to form alliances user-centered thinking document-centered thinking technical competence required –OAI PMH –XML and XML Schema –Unicode the "C" word

46 what I do for open libraries Create an open library for library science: the rclis (reckless) dataset. Create a supporting organization: the open library society. co-workers welcome!

47 Thank you for your attention! collaboration is welcome!

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