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Meyer, Justus; Wohlrabe, Klaus (2018): Standing on the shoulder of giants: the aspect of free-riding in RePEc rankings. In: Applied Economics Letters, Vol. 25, No. 4: pp. 223-228
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Research papers in economics (RePEc) rankings have become a well-established source of information about actual and perceived academic performance of institutions, academic fields and their authors. One essential ingredient is the impact factors calculated in RePEc which differ from the standard ones. RePEc reports the ratio of the cumulative citations of all articles of a journal and the number of listed items. The continuously updated RePEc impact factors account for the whole journal and citation history. This approach gives rise to a potential free-riding of authors who profit from journal ranking established in the past. In this article, we demonstrate how the rankings of economists change if one calculates yearly impact factors. The distribution of gains and losses is most pronounced among middle-field ranked authors while the top group shows relative persistence.