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Academic self-organization on the Internet. The example of RePEc Thomas Krichel 2006-04-07.

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Presentation on theme: "Academic self-organization on the Internet. The example of RePEc Thomas Krichel 2006-04-07."— Presentation transcript:

1 Academic self-organization on the Internet. The example of RePEc Thomas Krichel 2006-04-07

2 about me trained economists started to work as a leisure librarian organizing academic documents on the Internet moved on the become a professor in a library school –in research concerned with digital libraries –in teaching concerned with web site architecture and design.

3 today I say ICT revolution does not only allow for existing organizations/institutions to change the way they work. It also allows some organizations to appear. Today I give an example for an organization that entirely virtual. I look at RePEc as an organization. RePEc is active in scholarly communication.

4 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

5 how does it work In most discipline, scholarly journals are the backbone of scholarly communication. Authors of articles usually do not receive any financial payment. Usually they have to pay a submission fee. All the income from the sales of journals goes to publishers, not authors. Publishers enjoy much monopoly powers.

6 the serials crisis Personal subscriptions by academics are rare. Publishers face a market where pretty much their only customers are libraries. Library spending has been flat. So how do publisher raise profits?

7 price spiral Prices rises by publishers lead to cancellations by libraries lead more price rises by publishers Most extreme example in economics: journal of economic studies –receives no citations, has no credibility –costs almost $10,000 per annum –probably only subscribed to by 1 or 2 libraries.

8 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.

9 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.

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

11 RePEc History It started with me as a research assistant an in the Economics Department of Loughborough University of Technology in 1990. a predecessor of the Internet allowed me to download free software without effort but academic papers had to be gathered in a painful way

12 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.

13 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

14 1991-1992 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.

15 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".

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

17 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

18 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.

19 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

20 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

21 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

22 … describes documents Template-Type: ReDIF-Paper 1.0 Title: Dynamic Aspect of Growth and Fiscal Policy Author-Name: Thomas Krichel Author-Person: RePEc:per:1965-06- 05:thomas_krichel Author-Email: Author-Name: Paul Levine Author-Email: 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: 199603 Revision-Date: 199711 Handle: RePEc:sur:surrec:9601

23 … describes persons (HoPEc) template-type: ReDIF-Person 1.0 name-full: MANKIW, N. GREGORY name-last: MANKIW name-first: N. GREGORY handle: RePEc:per:1984-06-16:N__GREGORY_MANKIW email: 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:676-91 Author-Article: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:77:y:1987:i:3:p:358-74 Author-Article: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:78:y:1988:i:2:p:173-77 ….

24 … describes institutions Template-Type: ReDIF-Institution 1.0 Primary-Name: University of Surrey Primary-Location: Guildford Secondary-Name: Department of Economics Secondary-Phone: (01483) 259380 Secondary-Email: Secondary-Fax: (01483) 259548 Secondary-Postal: Guildford, Surrey GU2 5XH Secondary-Homepage: Handle: RePEc:edi:desuruk

25 how does RePEc operate? no formal organization a group of volunteers communicates through a list, sometimes privately Each volunteer has an area that he is specialized in. There is, however, no formal list of responsibilities.

26 key to success Disseminate as widely as possible Demonstrate to authors and institutions that it works for them. –institutional registration –author registration

27 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.

28 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.

29 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 2000. It has been renamed "RePEc author service" (RAS) A recent grant from OSI allows for a rewrite and expansion.


31 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.

32 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!

33 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.

34 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.

35 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

36 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!

37 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

38 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

39 does RePEc address the serials crises Well, not directly! RePEc acts as boost to non-traditional, most of the time open access publishing. It illustrates open access as a way to improve exposure of papers. It reduces the cost of maintaining open access channels.

40 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!

41 Thank you for your attention!

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