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Open Development

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At a Glance
  • Former World Bank President, Robert B. Zoellick, noted on September 29, 2010, “We need to democratize and demystify development economics, recognizing that we do not have a monopoly on the answers. We need to throw open the doors, recognizing that others can find and create their own solutions. And this open research revolution is underway. We need to recognize that development knowledge is no longer the sole province of the researcher, the scholar, or the ivory tower.”
  • As part of its modernization agenda, the World Bank is committed to greater openness in its knowledge, operations and partnerships.
  • The Bank’s new Open Access policy marks a significant shift in how Bank content is disseminated and shared. The Bank will now have an aggregated portal for research and knowledge products, where the metadata is curated, the content is discoverable and easily downloaded, and third parties are free to use, reuse, and build on it.

Overview
Open Development means that the Bank is actively working to make its operations and research more open, transparent and accountable and to open up the way it develops its research and knowledge. The Bank is opening up on three fronts: Knowledge, Operations and Partnerships. We are open about what we know (data, tools, and development knowledge), open about what we do (operations, projects and its finances and commitments), and open in the way we work (Open Aid Partnership, knowledge platforms).

Open About Data and Knowledge
The Bank collects a wealth of data and knowledge about our clients and their economies and on complex development topics. This information has the potential to improve development projects and spark innovative thinking around development challenges. Opening up our data and development knowledge allows a more robust picture of development to emerge.

Open Data Initiative

  • Data.worldbank.org now provides free access to over 8,000 indicators and is accessible in Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Spanish.
  • Maps.worldbank.org shows maps for all 142 IBRD and IDA countries; 30,000+ project locations have been mapped and geographic locations depicted for 1,600 active Bank projects.
  • The Climate Change Knowledge Portal is a hub for climate information.  
  • A Microdata Library offers access to raw data from 700+ household surveys and sources.
  • ADePT—is a tool that automates the economic analysis of survey data.
  • The World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) data tool provides access to international trade and tariff data.

Open Knowledge

  • The Bank will implement a new Open Access policy for its research outputs and knowledge products, effective July 1, 2012. The new policy builds on recent efforts to increase access to information at the World Bank and to make its research as widely available as possible. As the first phase of this policy, the Bank launched a new Open Knowledge Repository to house all the Bank’s research and knowledge products and adopted a set of Creative Commons copyright licenses allowing anyone to distribute, reuse and build upon the Bank’s published work, even commercially, as long as the Bank is given credit for the original creation. With this, the Bank became the first international organization to implement an Open Access policy and adopt Creative Common licenses. Information:  http://openknowledge.worldbank.org 
  • South-South knowledge exchanges allow developing countries to share knowledge globally.
  • A competition platform encourages innovation: Apps for Development competition in 2011 had 107 entries from 36 countries. An Apps for Climate competition is now underway.
  • Innovation Grants are prototyping new approaches to old problems and scaling up solutions, with $1 million in Development Marketplace and the Innovation Fund awards.
  • First Knowledge Report assessed Bank’s role as a producer, customizer, and connector of knowledge.
  • The e-institute, a new virtual e-learning platform, allows cutting-edge global knowledge to be accessible via e-learning courses.

Open About Operations and Results
The World Bank has opened up about its own operations and data on finances and projects. This information promotes better monitoring of project results and impact on people, enhances transparency, and strengthens country dialogue and civic engagement.

  • The Projects & Operations Portal offers project-level information, including project locations, financial details, procurement information, and official project documents.
  • The electronic Corporate Scorecard provides a snapshot of the Bank’s overall performance and provides users with easy on-line access to indicators, longer time series, and more detailed data.
  • The World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group publishes project performance evaluations.
  • The World Bank Finances site offers a high-level financial view of Bank resources available to countries in a social, interactive format.
  • The AidFlows website shares information on the location of projects and how much development aid—both from the Bank and from donors -- is provided and received around the world. 
  • Under its Access to Information policy, the Bank posted 14,000 new documents to the public on its Documents and Reports site, which in turn had over 4 million page views in 2011.

Partnerships for Openness and Transparency
In 2011 the Bank continued to integrate the governance and anti corruption agenda into all of its work, across countries, sectors and projects. The Bank is tracking aid flows to present a more complete picture of what money is being committed to development and where it is being spent. It is also partnering with others to encourage greater openness in development projects, aid, and in government.

  • The Open Aid Partnership seeks to increase transparency through open data on aid flows and public service delivery. Malawi piloted this and mapped aid from 27 donors.
  • Building on its role as a global connector, the World Bank is investing about $3 million a year in six new Knowledge Platforms to collaborate on solving thorny development problems. For example, the Open Development Technology Alliance, knowledge platform on ICT, seeks to use external expertise and citizen feedback to improve public service delivery.
  • The Bank is helping signatories of the Open Government Partnership achieve greater standards of transparency and participation through mapping of public spending. It is also helping governments implement Access to Information legislation.
  • The Bank has supported the Government of Kenya in launching the first Open Data Initiative in Africa, which made several large data sets, including the national census, available to the public. 

For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org/open.
Media Contacts: David Theis, (202) 458-8626, dtheis@worldbank.org
Updated April 16, 2012




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