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Frequently asked questions about IDEAS

RePEc is a way of organizing primary data about working papers and journal articles, through a protocol called ReDIF. IDEAS is one way to use the data collected under this protocol to make the information available to the general public.
EconPapers is a service similar to IDEAS with roughly the same coverage from RePEc. EconPapers and IDEAS enjoy a healthy competition.
EconWPA is an economics working paper archive that contains downloadable papers. This service is now defunct and the Munich Personal RePEc Archive (MPRA) has taken over its operations. IDEAS contains only information about papers, not the papers themselves (but links to online papers). Information about EconWPA and MPRA papers is available through IDEAS.
NEP (New Economics Papers) is a new and free awareness service based on RePEc, just as IDEAS is. While IDEAS shows you all what is currently in RePEc, NEP tells you what is new. NEP sends you regularly email of new papers in various subject fields. There are direct links to the full papers on the sites of the providers.
ERN, the Economics Research Network, is a commercial service that disseminates information about working papers in some economics fields. ERN uses mostly mailing lists, but information is also available through their web site. ERN downloads papers and makes them available through the ERN website. This service is currently free but will be fee based in the future. IDEAS, however, is free and will remain so. Furthermore, online papers are not at IDEAS, but on the sites of the original providers, giving them more control. Finally, IDEAS is much, much larger than ERN.
The holders of the primary information are the archives participating in RePEc. On their http or ftp server are files with all the bibliographic information they want to supply. A program fetches these files if they have changed since the last update, incorporates them in the central database and then creates the html files for display on the web. Then, a search index is created by Excite to allow you to search by keywords. IDEAS does not get any paper, only the bibliographic information about it, including relvant links.
In principle every night (US time), barring crashes and accidents. The index for the search is updated continuously but mostly on weekends, and the JEL tree once a week (Sundays as well). Crosslinks (to author profiles, citations and references) may take a little longer to appear. But, of course, it also depends on how often the primary archives update their data.
So you want to become an archive contributing to RePEc? Check out the easy step-by-step instructions! Also various useful documents are available for prospective and current archive maintainers.
Some working papers series have been indexed in the past by a series of volunteers, notably José Barrueco, Thomas Krichel, Victor Lyapunov, Féthy Mili and Sergei Parinov. These people have now better things to do. By joining RePEc, you have full control of the information about your papers, and the changes you make are timely propagated through the databases.
There is no need to register! Some providers of online material, however, require that you register with them. Information on how to proceed is usually provided. However, if you want to use MyIDEAS, you need to create an account at the RePEc Author Service.
Maybe it is downloadable, but we do not have this information in our database. The abstract page on IDEAS may list another version of it you can access. Or search for the title on IDEAS to see whether another version is there was not recognized. Ask the author(s) (the email address maybe available if you click on the name) or the institution providing the paper. Its name is listed under "Bibliographic Info". If the name does not lead to a homepage, you can try to find it through EDIRC. Its address may also appear at the top of the file that lists all papers of the series. Click on the working paper series name to see that, or search for the series handle in the search page. Do not ask me, I do not have that paper, I only relay the information about it.
IDEAS is just an example on how to use RePEc data. You may want to do it differently: different layout, selection or way of dissemination. A guide to getting the basic ReDIF data is available.
One way is to display the logo. Here is an example code: <IMG SRC=http://ideas.repec.org/ideas.gif WIDTH=290 HEIGHT=160 ALT=IDEAS> which looks like this: IDEAS, or, for a smaller image, <IMG SRC=http://ideas.repec.org/ideas.gif WIDTH=145 HEIGHT=80 ALT=IDEAS> which looks like this: IDEAS. You may also want to include a more explicit add: <TABLE width="75%" BORDER=2><TR><TD> <B><FONT FACE="Arial,Helvetica" COLOR=#ff0000> <A HREF=http://ideas.repec.org/><IMG SRC=http://ideas.repec.org/ideas.gif WIDTH=145 HEIGHT=80 ALT=IDEAS></A> <P> If you are interested in Economics research, have a look at this new and free dissemination service! Already over 2'200'000 working papers and articles from 8'000 serials are available. And an easy address to remember: <A HREF=http://ideas.repec.org/>http://ideas.repec.org</A>! </FONT></TD></TR></TABLE> which looks like this:
IDEAS

If you are interested in Economics research, have a look at this new and free dissemination service! Already over 2'2'000 working papers and articles from over 8'000 serials are available. And an easy address to remember: http://ideas.repec.org!

No! IDEAS is running on material and software hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis which prohibits us to do anything commercial with it.
Each paper is given a handle, for example "RePEc:cre:crefwp:30". This says, the information is provided by the "RePEc" system through the "cre" archive, which lists information about the series "crefwp", and the paper number is "30". The handle is unique and permanent and can thus be used for referencing.

Comments to Christian Zimmermann

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.