World Bank and Open Access: Opportunities for Interoperability!

The World Bank launched its Open Knowledge Repository (OKR), a repository built on the dSpace platform, in April 2012 ( The site builds upon the Bank’s existing ‘Open’ initiatives such as Open Data and aims to provide access for all to the Bank’s research program to allow discovery, use and reuse under the most liberal licensing conditions. In addition our Open Access (OA) commitment seeks to promote interoperability between the OKR and other OA repositories, especially national and institutional repositories in developing regions of the World.

The term ‘interoperability” has been described as ‘the technical “glue” that makes it possible to virtually connect repositories to each other’ (p.5, Report by COAR Current State of Open Access Interoperability (2012)).  Broadly speaking, interoperability applies to a range of OA capabilities from Metadata Harvesting to Author Identification (initiatives such as ORCID).

At this time, the World Bank is focusing on the first of these Metadata Harvesting, while also exploring the other facets of interoperability. The aim being to provide  access to its research in developing countries (initially repositories in Africa) while investigating opportunities to provide access to African research content through the OKR. It is hoped this level of interoperability can be achieved through the well-established Open Archives Initiative protocol (OAI-PMH). As the Bank has content which is regionally and subject-focused, we would like to be a little more specific than the general OAI-PMH protocol suggests (our Open Knowledge Repository is already making its full metadata set available through an OAI-PMH compliant feed). To this extent we intend to work with our development partner to allow activation of feeds for subsets of our full metadata set (the ability to create feeds based on region, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, country, or topic, such as Health, Nutrition and Population). We hope this takes a more active approach to focusing our feed of research metadata to fit the needs of the national or institutional repository with whom we are working while allowing us to ingest metadata in exchange.

Matthew Howells 
Manager, Technology and New eProduct Development
External Affairs, Office of the Publisher
World Bank Publications

Please let us know if you are involved in an Open Access Repository and how you are adopting various standards.  Jean Shaw, Phi

About jgreigshaw

I work with Partnerships in Health Information which promotes partnership between libraries in Africa and the UK with an emphasis in African leadership. I have visited Kenya, Mali, Uganda and Zambia though Phi has contacts in many more African countries.
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