Frequently Asked Questions

World Bank Open Knowledge Repository

1. What is the World Bank Open Knowledge Repository (OKR)?

The World Bank Open Knowledge Repository (OKR) is the World Bank’s official open access repository for its research outputs and knowledge products. Through the OKR, the World Bank collects, disseminates, and permanently preserves its intellectual output in digital form. The OKR is interoperable with other repositories and supports optimal discoverability and re-usability of the content by complying with Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) standards and the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH).

By extending and improving access to World Bank knowledge, the Bank aims to encourage innovation and allow anyone in the world to turn Bank knowledge into solutions to development problems that will help improve the lives of poor people around the world.

2. Why did the Bank create an institutional repository?

The OKR and the Open Access Policy (July 2012) build upon the World Bank’s ongoing Open Development Agenda, which includes the Open Data initiative (April 2010), and the Access to Information Policy (July 2010). The Open Access Policy requires that Bank research outputs and knowledge products be deposited into the World Bank institutional repository (the OKR), allowing any user in the world to read, download, save, copy, print, reuse and link to the full text of the work, free of charge. The goal of the OKR is to allow anyone to easily access World Bank research and knowledge, and to build upon it to help find faster solutions to development problems.

3. What are the benefits of the OKR vis-à-vis other sites within the Bank’s general web site?

The OKR both improves access to those who regularly use World Bank knowledge and increases the range of people who can now access Bank content— from governments and civil society organizations (CSOs) to students and the general public. The benefits of the OKR include the following:

  • It contains only research outputs and knowledge products;
  • It is interoperable with other repositories and research directories, which means that its content can be indexed and made discoverable through archives such as RePEc, , Google Scholar and other popular portals frequently used by researchers;
  • Its content is available under a set of Creative Commons (CC) copyright licenses. The majority of works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY), the most liberal of CC licenses, which allows use and reuse of content with minimal restrictions;
  • It automatically provides citation information for each work, including a permanent URI, which allows researchers to properly cite and link back to all World Bank works used in their research;
  • It includes links to articles published in journals not published by the Bank, as well as the full text of each article once the publisher’s embargo (if applicable) has lifted;
  • It includes chapters or books published by external (non-Bank) publishers, once the publisher’s embargo (if applicable) has lifted;
  • In the future, if available, the OKR will include links to datasets associated with a specific work.

4. What type of content is available in the OKR?

The OKR contains thousands of World Bank research outputs and knowledge products across a wide range of topics and from all regions of the world, including:

  • World Bank Group Annual Reports and Independent Evaluation Studies;
  • Books published by the World Bank Group including flagship publications, academic books and practitioner volumes;
  • All World Development Reports (WDRs) plus recent WDR background papers;
  • Journal articles published in World Bank Economic Review (WBER) and World Bank Research Observer (WBRO), two journals published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank;
  • Accepted manuscripts of Bank-authored journal articles from selected external publishers (after an embargo period if applicable);
  • Metadata and links to Bank-authored external journal articles;
  • Serial publications (typically data-intensive outlook reports);
  • Policy Research Working Papers (PRWP)—a series of papers that disseminate findings of work in progress in order to encourage the exchange of ideas about development issues;
  • Selected other papers of high research quality;
  • Economic and Sector Work (ESW) studies—a series of analytical reports prepared by Bank staff. ESWs gather and evaluate information about a country’s economy and/or a specific sector;
  • Knowledge Notes, providing short briefs that capture lessons of experience from Bank operations and research;
  • The latest Country Opinion Surveys done in client countries for feedback on World Bank Group activities.
  • Selected translated titles.

5. How often is new content added to the OKR?

The OKR is updated on a regular basis as new research outputs and knowledge products are published and released for publication

6. Are there any restrictions on use of the content in the OKR?

The majority of works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY), the most liberal of licenses offered by Creative Commons. It allows anyone to use, reuse, distribute, and build upon the Bank’s copyrighted material – even commercially – as long as the Bank is given credit for the original creation. No prior permission is required to do so. Other content available on the OKR — such as externally published material — may be available under different licenses. All content is clearly labeled in the OKR with the specific license terms under which it may be used.

By using the OKR, users agree to the Terms of Use for OKR. Please read the Terms of Use at before using any content in the OKR.

7. Are externally-published, peer-reviewed journal articles written by World Bank researchers available in the OKR?

The Open Access Policy requires that, beginning July 1, 2012, manuscripts published through external publishers must be made freely available online through the Bank’s OKR, preferably without delay. If an external publisher requires an embargo period, the Bank will respect the requirement, but every effort will be made to limit the duration of the embargo. The version of the manuscript made available will be the final manuscript as accepted for publication, not the final published version.

Pre-print versions of externally published journal articles are available in the OKR under a CC BY license. These are working versions of papers prior to being accepted for publication into a journal. Pre-print versions are typically published in the Bank’s Policy Research Working Paper Series (PRWPs).

8. Why is World Bank content published externally (by third-party or commercial publishers) available only after an embargo period?

Top tier academic journals and reputable academic presses are considered by the World Bank to be important channels for publishing and disseminating its research outputs and knowledge products. Embargo periods are set by publishers to recover their investment in managing, producing and disseminating books and journals. Every effort will be made to limit the duration of the embargo. Working versions of articles (pre-prints), prior to their acceptance for publication, are available in the OKR under a CC BY license.

By using the OKR, users agree to the Terms of Use for OKR. Please read the Terms of Use before using any content in the OKR at

9. What is the difference between the World Bank eLibrary and the OKR?

The World Bank eLibrary is a subscription-based product for institutions that adds value through its enhanced functionality and research tools. The World Bank eLibrary offers a variety of conveniences for librarians, researchers and regular users of Bank research and publications. These tools include individual accounts for customized content alerts and saving search criteria; MARC records for library catalogs; and a powerful full-text search engine that allows users to access content at the chapter-level in addition to the publication-level. It also contains all articles published in the World Bank Research Observer and World Bank Economic Review with no embargoes, and the full backlist of publications since the 1990s.

In the future, eLibrary will contain XML-based content, allowing users to access books and reports via mobile devices and at a more granular level – such as by chapter, table, or figure – without the need to download. In addition, World Bank Open Data will be incorporated and users will be able to build custom ebooks from eLibrary content for use in course packs or supplemental material. For more information, please visit, see our Comparison Chart, or contact Customer Service at

10. What are Global Practices and Cross-Cutting Solutions Areas?

In 2013, the World Bank Group (WBG) adopted a new strategy for achieving two ambitious goals: eradicating extreme poverty by reducing the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day to 3 percent by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity by fostering the income growth of the bottom 40% every country. Underpinning the strategy are the 14 Global Practices (GPs) and 5 Cross-Cutting Solutions Areas (CCSAs) that, in concert with the Bank Group regions, will pool their expertise to address client countries’ most pressing developmental challenges, and ultimately enable the Bank Group to meet its goals.

The Global Practices are Agriculture; Education; Energy and Extractives; Environment and Natural Resources; Finance and Markets; Governance; Health, Nutrition, and Population; Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management; Poverty; Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilience; Social Protection and Labor; Trade and Competitiveness; Transport and ICT; and Water. The five Cross-Cutting Solutions Areas are Climate Change; Fragility, Conflict, and Violence; Gender; Jobs; and Public-Private Partnerships.

Users may browse OKR content according any Global Practice or Cross-Cutting Solutions Area. For more information on GPs and CSSAs, see The World Bank Group A to Z.