Thursday, January 5, 2012

Trends in RePEc Downloads and Abstract Views per Paper

A couple of months ago, I reported on trends in RePEc downloads and abstract views per person. As I was commenting on this issue on the RePEc Blog, I thought I'd do a follow on post here. Here are the same trends per paper:

Both are also on a downward trend over time. In my post in November I suggested a number of reasons that might explain the trends in per person terms. The number of papers per registered member is unchanged over recent years. So that rules out any explanations about there being fewer papers per person to download as RePEc grows. Here are possible explanations for the per paper trends here:

1. The average quality of papers is declining as more working paper series are added from lower quality institutions.

2. Too much supply relative to demand. Economists can only read so many papers.

3. The average paper is getting older and older papers will be downloaded less.

4. People are downloading more papers through services like Google Scholar, bypassing RePEc servers. This might be supported by the recent decline in total downloads and abstract views on RePEc that I mentioned back in November and Christian hinted at today.

I suspect it is a bit of each of these. If you have any ideas about how to test these hypotheses let me know!

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