Two years after opening its vast storehouse of data to the public, the World Bank has consolidated more than 2,000 books, articles, reports and research papers in a search-engine friendly Open Knowledge Repository, and allowed the public to distribute, reuse and build upon much of its work—including commercially.
The repository is a one-stop-shop for most of the Bank’s research outputs and knowledge products, providing free and unrestricted access to students, libraries, government officials and anyone interested in the Bank’s knowledge. Additional material, including foreign language editions and links to datasets, will be added in the coming year.
In addition, the author versions of articles published by commercial publishers and currently available only to journal subscribers will be made freely available via the public repository after embargo periods elapse, though their reuse will be more restricted than Bank-published material. Articles from 2007-2010 that appeared in the World Bank Research Observer and World Bank Economic Review (published by Oxford University Press), for example, are now in the repository.
The new Open Access policy is the latest in a series of initiatives in the last two years to make the Bank more open, transparent and accountable. The Bank decided in April 2010 to stop selling its World Development Indicators data and instead make it freely available, along with more than 60 other datasets, encouraging their use by innovators around the world. The Bank’s open data site has attracted over 11.5 million visits since April 2010 and is now the Bank’s most popular website, accounting for almost one-third of all web traffic.