The RePEc Project and Scholarly Societies

24 Jul 2003

The RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) Project seeks to broaden its associations with scholarly societies to promote scholarly communication in economics and related disciplines. Learned societies benefit from the commingling of their sponsored journal articles and conference papers in the RePEc database, which contains leading research from many of the most prestigious organizations: working papers from the NBER, CEPR, Federal Reserve System, Banks of England, Canada, Australia, hundreds of universities, and many specialized research centers in economics and management. Search services such as IDEAS, EconPapers, NetEc, and Inomics present bibliographic data and links to journal articles, working papers from universities worldwide, and conference papers from several scholarly societies. This implies that RePEc user services are very valuable tools for searching the current literature. In this document, we describe the key features of RePEc and highlight how the project's initiatives have synergy with the goals of scholarly societies, who will benefit from the inclusion journal articles and conference papers in the RePEc database.

Mission of the RePEc Project

RePEc: Research Papers in Economics is a volunteer-driven initiative to create a public-access database that promotes scholarly communication in economics and related disciplines. The database contains information on:

RePEc's capabilities are unique in this regard: the RePEc database links information on the published and unpublished works of thousands of economists. RePEc promotes scholarly communication by providing a database that welcomes all providers of unpublished materials (working papers, discussion papers, research reports, conference papers) and publishers of journals (including scholarly societies, commercial and non-commercial publishers) to place their bibliographic information in the public domain. Individual economists are invited to identify the documents they have authored in the database.

RePEc's non-commercial status

The RePEc Project is volunteer-driven, inspired by the Open Source software movement. The project is managed by a multinational team of academic economists, librarians, and computer specialists. The RePEc group offers technical and organizational expertise in running web-based scholarly communication services. RePEc has received modest support for infrastructure projects. It cooperates closely with a number of publishers, but the project is entirely independent of commercial interests.

RePEc information is freely available

The RePEc database is public-access: it may be used without charge as long as the origin of the data is acknowledged. All RePEc data are freely accessible and may be republished for non-commercial purposes, but may not be sold. The RePEc Project does not publish the data itself. It is made available to RePEc services, who may present the data, provide search features, etc. as they wish. Different users will have different preferences and hence there are many services, each providing users with their unique presentation. Contributing to RePEc assures the widest possible circulation: a scope that no proprietary system, or single publisher's site, can provide.

Basic concept of the RePEc meta-database

Unlike initiatives in some disciplines, RePEc is a decentralized archive. Each institution (department, research institute, central bank, etc.) maintains their own archive of bibliographic text files describing each item they wish to publish in RePEc. Many times the text files are straightforward reformulations of the material already presented on the institution's web pages. The institutional contributor has complete control over the materials; changes made to archives are automatically reflected in RePEc services' display without the need for manual intervention. At this point in time, over 300 RePEc archives contribute to the database of over 100,000 working papers and 55,000 journal articles.

Availability of information through RePEc services

The data in the RePEc database are accessible from web-based RePEc services such as IDEAS (, EconPapers (, NetEc, and Inomics. They are also used in the NEP (New Economics Papers, service that provides subject-specific current awareness email lists. Any individual may freely subscribe to these awareness lists. Individuals may register with RePEc ( By registering, and claiming documents which they authored, a personal "RePEc CV" is automatically created with links to their documents, both published and unpublished. The LogEc logging service ( accounts for much (but not all) usage of RePEc data on a per-item basis. These data are then used to generate access statistics for authors, papers and institutional providers. The emerging CitEc Project provides automated citation analysis from full-text documents accessible from RePEc. It will eventually provide a full click-through citation index. Finally, RePEc collaborates with similar projects through the Open Archives Initiative (OAI), such as the University of California Digital Library, to disseminate publications in economics and related disciplines to the larger community of scholars.

Collaboration with learned societies

Learned societies gain from collaborating through RePEc. Several societies have given permission for RePEc to archive their conference proceedings. These materials then gain visibility, as a user need not visit a conference-specific web site, but will locate them in a search in any RePEc service by author, title, or keyword. The society's own RePEc archive may be used as a permanent repository for the conference proceedings. Likewise, a number of journals published by learned societies are included among the almost 150 journal titles in RePEc.

Over 3,100 authors of RePEc documents (including many leading economists in all fields) have registered with the RePEc Author Service. RePEc's presence among many of the leading economists and econometricians is apparent from Tom Coupé's rankings of 700 leading economists, of which many have listed their materials in RePEc. Many of the authors who have contributed the largest number of their works to RePEc are very well-known members of the profession.

The RePEc Project has mutually valuable links to the Econometric Society, the American Economic Association, the Royal Economic Society, and the Society for Computational Economics, all of whom have provided permission to abstract their associated journals in the RePEc database. The RePEc database also contains conference papers for a number of meetings sponsored by these societies; for instance, a series of the 750 downloadable papers from the Econometric Society's World Congress 2000 has consistently attracted more than 1,000 downloads per month. In this case, RePEc's approach highlights the usefulness of commingling these papers in a comprehensive database.


Learned societies can benefit from collaboration with the RePEc Project. To promote this collaboration, a society should:

For more information on the advantages of participation in the RePEc Project, please contact the RePEc team.