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World Bank offers its knowledge to all

The World Bank has launched an Open Knowledge Repository that allows anyone to distribute, re-use, and build on the organisation’s published work for free.

The repository is the home for all World Bank research outputs and knowledge products, it announced on 10 April.

The repository contains more than 2,100 books and papers from 2009-2012 including the World Development Report and other flagship publications, country studies and analytical reports. It also contains articles published in the two World Bank journals in 2007-2010.

It will be updated with new publications as well as with content published before 2009 and from 2013 will provide links to datasets associated with research.

While the vast majority of the works are in English, translated editions will also be added gradually.

The initiative is part of World Bank’s open access policy, which comes into in effect on 1 July and aims to make its research widely available. The launch of the repository and adoption of creative commons copyright licences is the first phase of the policy. The licence allows free use of any bank publication, even commercially, as long as the bank is given credit for the original creation.

“Anyone with Internet access will have much greater access to the World Bank’s knowledge. And for those without internet access, there is now unlimited potential for intermediaries to reuse and repurpose our content for new languages, platforms and media, further democratizing development by getting information into the hands of all those who may benefit from it,” Caroline Anstey, the bank’s managing director, said in a news release.

The bank’s Group President, Robert Zoellick, added, “Making our knowledge widely and readily available will empower others to come up with solutions to the world’s toughest problems. Our new Open Access policy is the natural evolution for a World Bank that is opening up more and more.”