There has been a steady trickle of institutions and organizations committing to open access to some subset of their data, with the UK government [announcing opendata](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2011/07/28/opendata-for-uk-government-pushing-semantic-web-development-for-government-transparency/) last year. Now the [World Bank](http://web.worldbank.org/) has become perhaps the first major international organization to require [open access](http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/000406484_20120403130112) to its research outputs under a [CC](http://creativecommons.org/) licensing scheme.This is a continuation of a move started two years ago, when the World Bank opened its data store to the public. With this present phase, it will consolidate 2,000 books, articles, reports and research papers in a SEO [KR](https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/). Also, it will license these works under a CC license. There is an inforgraphic for their plans [here](http://siteresources.worldbank.org/NEWS/Resources/WB_OKRinfographic_ENGLISH_final.pdf).
There are commercial implications here as well. The author versions of articles published by commercial publishers and currently available only to journal subscribers will be made freely available via the public repository after embargo periods elapse, though their reuse will be more restricted than Bank-published material. Articles from 2007-2010 that appeared in the World Bank Research Observer and World Bank Economic Review (published by Oxford University Press), for example, are now in the repository. As I have written [before](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2012/03/06/bill-for-access-to-federally-funded-research-opposed-by-for-profit-journals/), I believe that this sort of access is inevitable, but the for-profits are fighting it as hard as they can lobby.
Peter Suber, director of the [Harvard Open Access Project – HOAP](http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/hoap/Main_Page), said the Bank’s new policy is “pioneering” in its adoption of Creative Commons licenses. “I’m delighted to see a major institution like the World Bank push the boundaries and not just make their work free of charge, but also free for use and reuse.”
While most of the Bank’s research outputs and knowledge products have been freely available, online in the past, “the good news is this initiative will give access to a much larger number of people, particularly in developing countries, to the published versions of our research articles,” said Adam Wagstaff, research manager in the Bank’s Development Research Group.
[OpenDOAR](http://www.opendoar.org/index.html) is an authoritative directory of academic open access repositories, sponsored by the [JISC](http://www.jisc.ac.uk/). With more people around the world accessing the Internet through multiple devices, institutions increasingly are adopting open access policies. According to OpenDOAR Directory of Open Access Repositories, there are currently 2,180 open access institutional repositories worldwide.