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This presentation discusses open and free knowledge sharing as a driver for economic growth. It reviews the impetus for Open Access, from the October 2003 “Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities” through some recent mandates for Open Access that stem from the Berlin Declaration. It also discusses some of the challenges posed by the move to Open Access publishing, in particular the potential for a new “digital divide”. The World Bank’s Open Development agenda is reviewed, including the Access to Information policy and the Open Data Initiative, but with emphasis on Open Access.
With respect to Open Access, it discusses the implementation of an Open Access policy, the adoption of Creative Commons Licensing, and the launch of the Open Knowledge Repository (https://openknowledge.worldbank.org). It then examines recent articles in the media regarding a working paper published in May 2014 by two World Bank researchers who conclude that one third of a specific type of World Bank report, known as Economic and Sector Work (ESW), that are highly technical and country-specific are never downloaded from the Bank’s Documents and Reports archive website. The data on downloads of ESW analyzed by the researchers was through June 2012, just prior to implementation of Open Access at the World Bank. Data are then presented for downloads of ESW from the Open Knowledge Repository (OKR), the Open Access repository launched in April 2012, which demonstrate that all ESW in the researchers dataset that are deposited in the OKR (70% of the documents in the researcher’s dataset are in the OKR) were downloaded between the launch of the OKR in April 2012 and early May 2014, on average 213 downloads per document. Overall, for 3,552 ESW reports in the OKR there have been 582 thousand downloads, or on average 164 per document.
The dramatic increase in downloads of ESW since the implementation of Open Access at the World Bank highlights the success of a dissemination model that adheres to best practice Open Access publishing, and thus for open and free knowledge sharing as a driver for economic growth.
The conclusions are that knowledge, to have value, must be shared, and that fast and reliable access to knowledge will advance science, drive innovation, and spur economic growth. It therefore follows that publically funded research should be published Open Access, ideally with immediate availability. The posting of PDF files on a website does not ensure discoverability or access. For effective dissemination and impact, knowledge assets must be organized and structured, tagged for easy, reliable discovery and access, optimized for access on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and provided in a format and licensed in a manner that supports sharing and reuse.
Presented by Carlos Rossel, Publisher at The World Bank Group (www.linkedin.com/pub/carlos-rossel/10/930/b62)