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World Bank Opens Up Development Data

April 20, 2010 in External, Open Data

world-bank-open-data

Today, the World Bank announced that it’s making a large portion of its development data open and available from a dedicated new website at:

http://data.worldbank.org

The excellent set of new term and conditions are http://opendefinition.org/-compliant so this is real open data, available under an explicit license which allows for use, reuse and redistribution by anyone! This is significant change from the previous situation, where, for example, commercial use was restricted and many datasets were only available to paying users.

New datasets and indicators will be added in the coming months, while further API development is one of their future goals but from today there are already more than 2000 sets of statistics that users can find, download, manipulate, use, and re-use complete freely.

Further information from the press release:

The World Bank Group today announced that it has thrown open the doors to its statistical databases and is challenging the global community to use the data to create new applications and solutions to help poor people in the developing world.

Recognizing that transparency and accountability are essential to development, the World Bank Group is now providing free, open, and easy access to its comprehensive set of data on living standards around the globe — some 2,000 indicators, including hundreds that go back 50 years. The data will be available in Arabic, French and Spanish in addition to English.

In the coming months, the World Bank will also launch an “Apps for Development” competition, challenging the developer community to create tools, applications, and ”mash-ups” using World Bank data with the goal of producing better tools for understanding development.

And in a separate press release:

The World Bank Group said today it will offer free access to more than 2,000 financial, business, health, economic and human development statistics that had mostly been available only to paying subscribers.

The decision–part of a larger effort to increase access to information at the World Bank?means that researchers, journalists, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), entrepreneurs and school children alike will be able to tap into the World Bank’s databases via a new website, data.worldbank.org.

Experts say the Bank’s open data initiative has the potential to stimulate more evidence-based policymaking in developing countries by bringing more researchers and innovative analysis into the development process. The move is also likely to stimulate demand for data and increase countries’ capacity to produce it, they say.

And, for the first time, data will be available in languages other than English, with an initial 330 indicators translated into French, Spanish and Arabic.

“It’s important to make the data and knowledge of the World Bank available to everyone,” World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick said. “Statistics tell the story of people in developing and emerging countries and can play an important part in helping to overcome poverty.”

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