World Bank Research to be Open Access

April 14, 2012

I’ve written here before about the encouraging trend to make more scholarly research available online at no charge, including efforts by JStor, The Royal Society, and the National Academies Press.  Now, according to an article at Ars Technica, the World Bank has decided to make its research and knowledge products, as well as the data underlying them,  available free of  charge under a new Open Access Policy.

…  the Bank says it will apply to “manuscripts and all accompanying data sets… that result from research, analysis, economic and sector work, or development practice… that have undergone peer review or have been otherwise vetted and approved for release to the public.

Most of the material will be made available under a liberal Creative Commons license [CC-BY].  The Bank has set up a new Web site, the Open Knowledge Repository, to make its work available for browsing and download.  (At the time I am writing this, there appears to be a problem with the site’s SSL certificate for secure [https:] access; you may get a security warning from your browser.)  There are currently more than 2,100 papers and books available in the Repository, and more will be added over the coming months.  Data sets will be available, too, and will probably be of considerable value to researchers, given the World Bank’s special insight into the process of economic development.

“Making our knowledge widely and readily available will empower others to come up with solutions to the world’s toughest problems,” World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick said in the Bank’s announcement.

It is great to see another significant institution move toward making information more widely and easily available.

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