News

World Bank stakes leadership position by announcing Open Access Policy and launching Open Knowledge Repository under Creative Commons

Diane Peters, April 10th, 2012

The World Bank has announced a new Open Access Policy! Effective July 1, 2012, the Open Access Policy requires that all research outputs and knowledge products published by the Bank be licensed Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) as a default. Today, as the first phase of this policy is unfolded, the Bank launched a new Open Knowledge Repository with more than 2,000 books, articles, reports and research papers under CC BY. President of the World Bank Group, Robert B. Zoellick, said in the press release:

“Knowledge is power. 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.”

CC BY is the most permissive Creative Commons license, allowing others to reuse, remix and redistribute works, even commercially, as long as attribution is given to the copyright holder. It is recommended for those seeking maximum dissemination and re-use of their materials while preserving copyright. We applaud the World Bank for its leadership and embracing this objective by incorporating CC as the framework for its Open Access Policy.

Lawrence Lessig, Board member and co-founder of Creative Commons, says,

“The World Bank is not only leading by embracing the principles of open access. But by making its works available under a CC BY license, it is encouraging the widest spread of the knowledge it is producing. This work is incredibly valuable in assuring access to knowledge universally, and not just at elite universities.”

The Open Access Policy reinforces scholarship norms. The terms require that publishing embargoes are respected and research is made available under CC BY. The Bank “expects the amount of time it takes for externally published Bank content to be included in its institutional repository to diminish over time” and that the working paper versions of journal articles will be made available under CC BY without any embargo period. Additionally, the CC BY policy only applies to works published by the Bank. Works published by third party publishers will be made available in the repository under CC BY-NC-ND, with the option of CC BY should the publisher choose.

All of this content will be aggregated via the Open Knowledge Repository, which has been built with an eye toward maximizing interoperability, discoverability, and reusability by complying with Dublin Core metadata standards and the Open Archives Initiatives protocol for metadata harvesting:

“The repository will be fully interoperable with other major international repositories such as RePEc (Research Papers in Economics), SSRN and Economists Online. This means that the World Bank publishes just once in its own Open Knowledge Repository while its research is also “harvested” and made openly available through many other searchable online repositories, increasing the number of people able to find World Bank content.”

Currently, the repository contains books and papers from 2009-2012 in various fields and from all around the world, including the World Development Report and two World Bank journals, the World Bank Economic Review (WBER) and the World Bank Research Observer (WBRO). The Bank will continue to add new and old content, including those works published prior to 2009, and beginning in 2012, the Bank will include links to research-related datasets.

To learn how this exciting new move builds on the Bank’s other open efforts, read the press release.

For more info on the Open Access Policy, read the policy. For more info on the Open Knowledge Repository, see the feature article and FAQ.

12 Responses to “World Bank stakes leadership position by announcing Open Access Policy and launching Open Knowledge Repository under Creative Commons”

  1. Sam says:

    I have a feeling that while it will help re-distribution of new concepts, this could also create situation where people steal new research ideas from others.

  2. Natanael L says:

    Well, it isn’t theft if the original author allows it, which is the case with CC. Merely changing the license will probably not have any effect on those who were willing to be dishonset in the first plave, anyway.

  3. toshiyuki Masubuchi says:

    I have a feeling that while it will help re-distribution of new concepts, this could also create situation where people steal new research ideas from others.

  4. Many people are obviously turned off as a gut reaction when they hear of something called The World Bank. Yet as an nonconforming idealist I am aware of how through the manipulation of information even so-called sinister organizations or ones that are collectively agreed upon to be untrustworthy have actually turned out to be like Quasimodo or Frankenstein: someone with good intentions who is socially classified as a “monster” or a similar label.

    In order to create a free world, we must be willing to cooperate with each other and not erroneously claim authority over ideas and objects as belonging to one person or group of people that thinks they are the only one that had the idea or got to it first, or the only one capable of developing such an idea. Once we let go of our false ideas of ourselves and what “success” means as a comparative model, once we develop faith in each other and grow to be supportive of each other within our interconnecting communities, we will realize that Creative Commons is a powerful solution to suppression of creative power all over the planet.

  5. Jory got it all right. Good initiative if all parties will only agree to work together for the common good and not for selfish interests.

  6. Danyl Strype says:

    Interesting that “Sam” and “Toshiyuki” have posted exactly the same comment. I suspect these comments are the work of an automated FUD bot, programmed by anti-CC parties. The comment is self-contradictory, and seems designed to spread the lie behind the nonsense phrase “intellectual property” – the lie that ideas can be owned, and therefore one can “steal” them. This lie is exposed by Richard Stallman of the Free Sofware Foundation in this essay:
    https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.html

  7. Matt Taylor says:

    Sharing of research products and information is a good thing. Like any knowledge it can be used for good or evil and generally over the course of history most of it gets used for mostly good purposes.

    I applaud this stance by the world bank. All publicly funded institutions in every country should be taking this step.

  8. Kieth Brian Tomo says:

    Awesome

  9. robb s. says:

    This action by the World Bank is a major step toward digital age transparency in an organization that has log been criticized for its lack of openness. I applaud Mr. Zoellick’s action.

  10. Mike says:

    Interesting that “Sam” and “Toshiyuki” have posted exactly the same comment. I suspect these comments are the work of an automated FUD bot, programmed by anti-CC parties. The comment is self-contradictory, and seems designed to spread the lie behind the nonsense phrase “intellectual property” – the lie that ideas can be owned, and therefore one can “steal” them. This lie is exposed by Richard Stallman of the Free Sofware Foundation in this essay:
    https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.html

  11. This was one of the Great Initiative we have ever witnessed.
    As this initiative will encourage & empower to resolve toughest issues, due to its open access nature. These type of policies are very crucial at this stage!

  12. Tom says:

    I have a feeling that while it will help re-distribution of new concepts too, Mr. Zoellick’s action is great!