Presentation on theme: "How to become an 800 pound gorilla: the case of RePEc. Thomas Krichel 2008–10–29."— Presentation transcript:
How to become an 800 pound gorilla: the case of RePEc. Thomas Krichel 2008–10–29
structure Qiping Zhang gave me the following structure 1.what is the project 2.some history / time line 3.impact on community 4.how does it change the relationship between fee base and non-fee based information
open library RePEc an open digital library for economics. An Open Library is loosely defined an application of the OSS principles to digital libraries. More on this at http://openlib.org/home/krichel/papers/kuy us.html, forthcoming ASIS&T bulletin. Looking at RePEc will fix ideas.
RePEc pre-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
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.
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
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.
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".
WoPEc to RePEc WoPEc was a catalog record collection. It remained largest web access point Getting contributions was tough, but I finally got two-way cooperation from a Dutch consortium I prepared a scalable architecture for building a collaborative digital library.
RePEc protocols In 1996 I wrote basic architecture for RePEc. –ReDIF –Guildford Protocol The may now be used in a collection for statistics papers.
1997: RePEc principle Many archives –archives offer metadata about digital objects (mainly working papers & journal articles) One database –The data from all archives forms one single logical database Many services –users can access the data through many service –providers of archives offer their data to all services
keys to success I Have an extraordinary individual to start things up. That person has to have –extraordinary vision –excellent programming and computer system administration skills –be ready to take high risks to her career Such individuals are rare. That's why there are no similar systems in other areas.
key to success II Have a small group of volunteers Have your own servers Disseminate as widely as possible Demonstrate to authors and institutions that it works for them. –institutional registration –author registration
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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!
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
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
measurement problems We do have some measures of impact of individual services. We have some measures of global derobotified web impact through LogEc. But the denominator of total community size remains an unknown. There would be room for a 3 rd PhD thesis on RePEc here.
author registration success The main target group are the authors. There are is an independent list of 1000 top authors. At this time, 79% of top authors are registered. http://ideas.repec.org/coupe.html To register, authors must have a fairly good understanding of RePEc. They understand that the registration process is not for users.
the anecdotal monster Christian Zimmermann and I attended a meeting at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY. We were shown RAS+LogEc+CitEc figures of individuals in various salary groups, calculated for a promotion review committee meeting. FRB of NY are not the only one.
in the works We can do work on filtering departments into subject specialization areas –papers are classified by NEP reports. –authors claim the papers –authors say where they work We can advise students on where currently research in a certain area is being conducted.
nothing much in theory RePEc is a library. It documents both fee- based and free resources. Working papers have in principle been free, even in the paper area. Over time, the publication delay has become so long that published papers are useless as a source of information about the state of the art. They serve archiving and author vanity.
in practice a lot RePEc has provided economists with a more efficient way to circulate working papers. Working papers become increasingly cited and used. RePEc has preserved the working paper culture. In computer science, where there has been no RePEc, working papers have disappeared.
remaining nuisance The remaining obstacle to open access are libraries. As long as libraries are ready to purchase the output of toll-gated publishers, some will produce it. That's simple economics. Libraries hold back progress in scholarly communication.
http://openlib.org/home/krichel Thank you for your attention! collaboration is welcome!