The World Bank first established a policy on access to information in 1994 which it then called Information Disclosure Policy to ensure transparency, to explain its work to the widest possible audience, and to promote overall accountability. The disclosure policy was further updated in 2001 after extensive consultations with CSOs. This resulted in the placing of a greater number of project-related documents in the public domain.
However in 2010, The World Bank set forth a groundbreaking change in how its information is made available to the public by announcing a new Policy on Access to Information. Now the public can get more information than ever before about projects under preparation, projects under implementation, analytic and advisory activities, and Board proceedings.
Underlying the new policy is the principle that the World Bank will disclose any information in its possession that is not on a list of exceptions.
Today, nearly all of the World Bank documents ranging from Country Assistance Strategies (CAS) and sector studies, to project-related reports are disseminated. The Bank continues to review the provisions and implementation of its Disclosure Policy on a regular basis.
The Bank has established some 80 Public Information Centers (PICs) around the world, which provide the general public with copies of Bank publications and access to the Bank’s web site. The InfoShop, located in Washington, DC is the World Bank's development bookstore and information center, a one-stop-shop for economic development literature and a source of information on the Bank's work.
The InfoShop serves a worldwide audience via the Internet, the retail store, and through the network of PICs in World Bank country offices. The Bookstore also includes publications from many other organizations such as governments, academic institutions, international organizations, and CSOs.