Change is afoot at the World Bank. Jim Yong Kim was recently named as the next president of the bank effective in June. Kim is a physician with a doctorate in anthropology and his development experience includes addressing the problem of making HIV treatment available in the developing world. Additionally, last week the World Bank announced its new Open Access policy, effective July 1, which formalizes its policy of making research and knowledge freely available online.
The new Open Access policy will be implemented in phases throughout the year. For the first phase, the World Bank just launched a new Open Knowledge Repository and adopted a set of Creative Commons copyright licenses.
Now anybody is free to use, re-use and redistribute most of the bank's knowledge products and research for commercial or non-commercial purposes. The policy will also apply to Bank research published with third party publishers including the institution’s two journals—World Bank Research Observer (WBRO) and World Bank Economic Review (WBER). The bank will respect publishing embargoes, but expects the amount of time it takes for externally published bank content to be included in its institutional repository to diminish over time.
While much of the bank’s research has been available for free on the World Bank website and other places, the Open Access policy marks a change in how that information is accessed. The Open Knowledge Repository will now be the new home for all World Bank research. It currently contains works from 2009-2012. It will be updated regularly and coverage will be expanded both backwards and forwards.