Friday, August 7, 2009

Declining Abstract Views and Downloads Per Person (and per Paper) at RePEc

The chart shows monthly abstract views and paper downloads per registered member at RePEc. I can't go back any further as I only started collecting the necessary data in October 2004 and RePEc doesn't seem to publish a time series on the number of members. The number of abstract views and downloads per item has also declined. Hypotheses that could explain this trend:

1. There is less interest over time in economics papers.

2. An increasing proportion of the people signing up are junior academics with fewer papers to their credit.

3. There is more stuff online (relative to offline information) and so each available paper is getting less attention.

4. Higher quality authors, working paper series,and journals were more likely to register for RePEc earlier on in its history.

There isn't much support for 1 as total downloads and abstract views has risen over time. On 2 there was a fall in the number of abstracts per member till early 2006 since when the number has been stable. The number of downloadable papers per member has been pretty much constant over time. The proportion of papers that is downloadable has increased over time though. So there is limited support for this hypothesis. But a fall in papers per author could also be support for 4. And as I mentioned downloads per paper has also declined.

I suspect it's mainly a mixture of 3 and 4, but there isn't any way to check this with the publicly available data.

I'll be happy to send anyone who is interested my membership data, shown in this chart:

No comments:

Post a Comment