Frequently Asked Questions

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.

The OKR builds on the World Bank’s Open Access Policy (July 2012), the  Open Data initiative (April 2010),  the Access to Information Policy (July 2010), and Archives – all providing the public free, online access to the World Bank’s work, knowledge, history and data. 

2. What are the specific benefits of the OKR?

By applying open access standards and being hosted on an open source platform that is compatible with other institutional repositories (  harvesting content from the OKR, it both improves access to those who regularly use World Bank knowledge, and increases the range of people who can discover and access World Bank research and knowledge products. Benefits of the OKR include the following…

  • It contains only research outputs and knowledge products;
  • It is interoperable with other repositories and research directories so content can be indexed and made discoverable through other databases 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. World Bank formal publications and Policy Research Working Papers are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY), the most liberal of CC licenses, which allows use and reuse of content with appropriate attribution;
  • It provides citation information for each work, including a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) – a permanent link, that researchers can rely on when citing and accessing links to all OKR content;
  • It includes links to articles published by World Bank Group staff in non-World Bank journals, as well as access to the full text of each article once the publisher’s embargo has expired (if applicable);
  • It includes chapters or books published by external (non-Bank) publishers, once the publisher’s embargo has expired (if applicable);
  • When available, the OKR links to datasets associated with a specific work, as well as translations into other languages besides English.

3. 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:

  • Books and reports published by the World Bank Group since 2000, including flagship publications, regional updates,  and practitioner handbooks;
  • World Bank Group Annual Reports and Independent Evaluation Studies;
  • 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 for development projects. 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.

4. 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.

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

 World Bank Formal Publications and Policy Research Working Papers 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 — including 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.

6. 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).

7. 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