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WASHINGTON, April 10, 2012 – The World Bank today announced that it will implement a new Open Access policy for its research outputs and knowledge products, effective July 1, 2012. The new policy builds on recent efforts to increase access to information at the World Bank and to make its research as widely available as possible. As the first phase of this policy, the Bank launched today a new Open Knowledge Repository and adopted a set of Creative Commons copyright licenses.
The new Open Access policy, which will be rolled out in phases in the coming year, formalizes the Bank’s practice of making research and knowledge freely available online. Now anybody is free to use, re-use and redistribute most of the Bank’s knowledge products and research outputs for commercial or non-commercial purposes.
“Knowledge is power,”World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick said. “Making our knowledge widely and readily available will empower others to come up with solutions to the world’s toughest problems. Our new Open Access policy is the natural evolution for a World Bank that is opening up more and more.”
The policy will also apply to Bank research published with third party publishers including the institution’s two journals—World Bank Research Observer (WBRO) and World Bank Economic Review (WBER)—which are published by Oxford University Press, but in accordance with the terms of third party publisher agreements. The Bank will respect publishing embargoes, but expects the amount of time it takes for externally published Bank content to be included in its institutional repository to diminish over time.
The World Bank will be adopting an Open Access Policy as of July 1. In addition, the Bank recently launched the World Bank Open Knowledge Repository (OKR) and became the first major international organization to adopt a set of copyright licenses from Creative Commons. As a result, a wealth of Bank research and knowledge products are now freely available to anyone in the world for use, re-use, and sharing.
Why is this so significant?
How can open access contribute to the goal of eliminating poverty?
How does the new policy impact the Bank’s researchers and authors?
How will the OKR benefit users of Bank knowledge, in particular those in developing countries?
Join us in person at the World Bank or online for a lively conversation about these and other aspects of open access to research, and its potential for development progress.
Peter Suber Director of the Harvard Open Access Project and a leading voice in the open access movement
Cyril Muller Vice President for External Affairs at the World Bank
Michael Carroll American University law professor and founding board member of Creative Commons
Adam Wagstaff Research Manager of the World Bank’s Development Research Group
I recently had the distinct honor of being on the opening plenary of the 2012 Skoll World Forum in Oxford. The panel, “Innovation in Times of Flux: Opportunities on the Heels of Crisis” was moderated by Judith Rodin, CEO of the Rockefeller Foundation. I’ve spent the past six years creating linkages between the humanitarian space and technology community, so the conversations we began during the panel prompted me to think more deeply about innovation in the humanitarian space. Clearly, humanitarian crises have catalyzed a number of important innovations in recent years. At the same time, however, these crises extend the cracks that ultimately reveal the inadequacies of existing humanita-rian organizations, particularly those resistant to change; and “any organization that is not changing is a battle-field monument” (While 1992).
These cracks, or gaps, are increasingly filled by disaster-affected communities themselves thanks in part to the rapid commercialization of communication technology. Question is: will the multi-billion dollar humanitarian industry change rapidly enough to avoid being left in the dustbin of history?
Crises often reveal that “existing routines are inadequate or even counter-productive [since] response will necessarily operate beyond the boundary of planned and resourced capabilities” (Leonard and Howitt 2007). More formally, “the ‘symmetry-breaking’ effects of disasters undermine linearly designed and centralized administrative activities” (Corbacioglu 2006). This may explain why “increasing attention is now paid to the capacity of disaster-affected communities to ‘bounce back’ or to recover with little or no external assistance following a disaster” (Manyena 2006).