Yesterday, the World Bank Announced that 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.
“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.”
Hans Rosling, Gapminder Foundation co-founder and vigorous advocate of open data at the World Bank, said, “It’s the right thing to do, because it will foster innovation. That is the most important thing.”
Walji said the World Bank will launch an “Apps for Development” allowing “mash ups” or combine global datasets from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators to help tackle existing development challenges, such as infant mortality , literacy and extreme poverty.”
… The new website at data.worldbank.org offers full access to data from 209 countries, with some of the data going back 50 years. Users will be able to download entire datasets for a particular country or indicator, quickly access raw data, click a button to comment on the data, email and share data with social media sites.