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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).
The US State Department has become the world’s leading user of ediplomacy. Ediplomacy now employs over 150 full-time personnel working in 25 different ediplomacy nodes at Headquarters. More than 900 people use it at US missions abroad.
Ediplomacy is now used across eight different program areas at State: Knowledge Management, Public Diplomacy and Internet Freedom dominate in terms of staffing and resources. However, it is also being used for Information Management, Consular, Disaster Response, harnessing External Resources and Policy Planning.
In some areas ediplomacy is changing the way State does business. In Public Diplomacy, State now operates what is effectively a global media empire, reaching a larger direct audience than the paid circulation of the ten largest US dailies and employing an army of diplomat-journalists to feed its 600-plus platforms. In other areas, like Knowledge Management, ediplomacy is finding solutions to problems that have plagued foreign ministries for centuries.
The slow pace of adaptation to ediplomacy by many foreign ministries suggests there is a degree of uncertainty over what ediplomacy is all about, what it can do and how pervasive its influence is going to be. This report – the result of a four-month research project in Washington DC – should help provide those answers.
ROBERT STEELE: Fergus Hanson of Australia has done a truly superb job of describing the considerable efforts within the Department of State to achieve some semblance of electronic coherence and capacity. What he misses–and this does not reduce the value of his effort in the slightest–is the complete absence of strategy or substance within State, or legitimacy in the eyes of those being addressed. If the Department of State were to demand the pre-approved Open Source Agency for the South-Central Campus, and get serious about being the lead agency for public intelligence in the public interest, ediplomacy could become something more than lipstick on the pig. The money is available. What is lacking right now is intelligence with integrity in support of global Whole of Government strategy, operations, tactics, and technical advancement (i.e. Open Source Everything).
But as US action around the world aimed at eliminating the recently won right to self-determination for the peoples of Asia and Africa under the guise of “Western democracy” fighting “totalitarian communism”, which left a trail of millions murdered by the US and its allies (starting with Korea and moving to the Congo, to Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, and from Guatemala to Brazil to Argentina, Uruguay, El Salvador, and Chile, to Southern Africa and the Middle East), the cruel US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan in the last decade have hardly changed this anti-democratic trend. Yet two important victories are always touted by supporters of US foreign policy on the democratic front: namely, the fall of the Soviet Union and the ensuing “democratisation” of Eastern Europe, and the end of Apartheid in South Africa. The US hopes that its policies in both places will guide it to achieve similar ends for those uprisings of the Arab world that it cannot crush.
Joseph Massad is Associate Professor for Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University in New York.