Saturday, October 5, 2013

Pure Brilliance From FRB St. Louis: EconomicAcademics.org

This just in from Christian Zimmermann and the RePEc Team at FRB St. Louis:

"Congratulations, you made the list! .. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is launching a blog aggregator, EconomicAcademics.org, to highlight and promote the discussion of economics research. Your blog is part of this effort. This email explains why and how you can help promote the discussion of economic research in the blogosphere ... EconAcademics.org lives at http://econacademics.org/ and aggregates blog posts that discuss economic research. The aggregator looks through blog posts for a link to some research indexed on a RePEc service, currently EconPapers, IDEAS and NEP. IDEAS then also links back from the abstract page to the blog posts ... This blog aggregator is provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, which also offers with FRED database and graphing tool as a useful resources for bloggers. Feel free to use the graphs on your blog, best done by embedding them so that readers can click on them to get more details about the data. FRED lives at http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/." 

This is totally brilliant. First, it's a brilliant public service. I am grateful. Everyone should be grateful. But second, and this is really what I want to emphasize, ya gotta love the brilliant business/marketing move. Instantly, every blogger now has a strong incentive to report on (and link to) RePEc papers whenever possible -- in case you missed it above, blog posts get noticed by the aggregator only if/when they link to a RePEc paper -- and hence authors have a correspondingly strong incentive to put their papers on RePEc. And it's all tangled up with the wonderful FRED. The idea may not make billions for FRBSL/RePEc/FRED, but in its own way it's as brilliant as Google's pagerank (and cynics will say as obvious -- just sour grapes).

Oh wait. I forgot to mention a RePEc paper above, so this post won't get picked up by EconAcademics. Hmmm... In the future I'll have to change that...

Anyway, SSRN et al. must be reeling! Of course it will be interesting to see how they and others respond. FRBSL/RePEc/FRED have scored a significant first-mover blow, but surely the fight isn't over. And as usual with healthy competition, everyone will benefit.