About The World Bank Open Knowledge Repository

The World Bank is the largest single source of development knowledge. The World Bank Open Knowledge Repository (OKR) is The World Bank’s official open access repository for its research outputs and knowledge products.

The Open Access Policy and the OKR represent the third major development in the World Bank’s Open Development Agenda, joining these earlier initiatives:

  • Open Data Initiative (launched in April 2010): a range of reforms enabling free access to thousands of development indicators, as well as a wealth of information on World Bank project and finance, and
  • Access to Information Policy (launched in July 2010): a groundbreaking change in how the World Bank makes information available to the public.

By extending and improving access to World Bank research, the World Bank aims to encourage innovation and allow anyone in the world to use Bank knowledge to help improve the lives of those living in poverty. The OKR is constantly updated with new content, as well as legacy reports and research.

The OKR is built on DSpace, the open source platform heavily used in the open access community, powering over 2,000 open repositories, and is interoperable with other repositories. It supports optimal discoverability and re- usability of the content by complying with Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) standards. All OKR metadata is exposed through the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) and through a REST API.

Since its launch in 2012, millions of publications have been downloaded from the OKR, and nearly half of its users are in developing countries. The OKR was named one of ALA RUSA’s “Best Free Reference Web Sites of 2013” The World Bank also received the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resource Coalition (SPARC) “Open Access Innovator” award in 2012 for the OKR.


The OKR contains thousands of research works 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.


Using the World Bank Open Knowledge Repository

The OKR is designed for optimal use in areas with low bandwidth or mobile devices. PDF file sizes have been reduced to reduce download time and the site automatically adapts to the mobile device of the user for easier navigation and access to content.

Finding Content

Finding content in the OKR is quick and easy: users can Browse for World Bank content by Collections, Authors, Release Dates, Topics, and Title.  A variety of filters for narrowing search results are also available, including filtering content by Author, Date, Topic, Content Type, Keyword, Region, etc.

Site Features

The OKR offers a number of helpful features and content for users including:

  • 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;
  • Author profileswith biographies and other published works
  • Links to citations in Google Scholar
  • Icon for publications that have undergone Academic Peer Review
  • Related Items such as other titles in a series
  • Title suggestions based on what other users have downloaded
  • Links to articles published by World Bank authors in external (non-Bank) journals, as well as the full text of each article once the publisher’s embargo (if applicable) has lapsed;
  • Chapters or books published by external (non-Bank) publishers, once the publisher’s embargo (if applicable) has lapsed;
  • Links to associated data sets in the World Bank Microdata Catalog


Multilingual User Interface - Basic Facts

The Open Knowledge Repository now offers a user interface and search mechanism in French and Spanish, alongside English.
This is a beta launch. Please bear with us as we update and improve the multilingual user experience.
OKR items’ metadata and collections are in the process of being translated to enrich non-English search results. This is an ongoing process and we will keep updating records and collections as we go along.

Search Tips
Your search results will include records where your search term is found in the metadata.
The language you select for the interface will determine the language of the metadata records you see in your search results, with the following exception: English is the default language when metadata have not yet been translated.
You can click on the “Document Language” facet on the right side of the search result list to filter the results to documents available in a specific language. Please note that a record can hold documents in more than one language.


Usage Statistics

The OKR offers robust usage statistics so users can see which content is most popular and in which countries it is being used. Both publication-level and site-wide statistics are available to all users.

Publication Metrics

Each publication page provides the following real-time usage statistics:

  • Total abstract views and file downloads
  • Top file downloads per country
  • Top abstract views per country
  • Number of file downloads by author
  • Number of file downloads for past 3 months
  • Number of Abstract views for past 3 months

To view, simply scroll down to the Show Statistics button along the inside left navigation bar.

Open Knowledge Repository Metrics

The OKR also provides the top file downloads and abstract views by author, country, and title. Users may specify usage across the entire repository, a specific series or collection; geographic region; and within the current month, previous month, or all time. To view, try the “Statistics” tab at the top of the page.


High level statistics are available from Altmetrics for each item in the OKR. Users can quickly see demographics or other users, as well as a publications’ social media reach and impact. The first 100 items from each source is displayed as well as the Almetric donut– a visual summary of the percentage of Tweets, mentions on blogs, Google+, Mendeley, CiteULike, and others. Users can also sign up to be alerted via email when a publication of interest is shared.


Terms of Use

You are encouraged to use the content in the OKR to benefit yourself and others in creative ways. The majority of content in the OKR is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY 3.0 IGO). Works in the OKR that are not subject to the CC BY license are clearly labeled with the specific license terms under which those works may be used. By using the OKR, you agree to be bound by these Terms of Use for OKR.

Please read the Terms of Use before using any content in the OKR.



For more information, see our Frequently Asked Questions; or e-mail us at okr@worldbank.org.