Library Notes for Political Science

Teaching resources, news, and links to keep McGill’s Political Scientists informed

WorldBank data now free

Posted by Megan on April 22, 2010

In a great development for free data cause, the World Bank has released much of its data for public use. Previously only available to subscribers, the following databases are now freely available online:

  1. World Development Indicators (WDI)
  2. Global Development Finance (GDF)
  3. Africa Development Indicators (ADI)
  4. Global Economic Monitor (GEM)

The databases themselves have the same interface as the subscription products, and they are brought together with an attractive new web portal to the data.

See this press release for more information, quoted below:

The World Bank Group said today 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,

Experts say the Bank’s open data initiative has the potential to stimulate more evidence-based policymaking in developing countries by bringing more researchers and innovative analysis into the development process. The move is also likely to stimulate demand for data and increase countries’ capacity to produce it, they say.

And, for the first time, data will be available in languages other than English, with an initial 330 indicators translated into French, Spanish and Arabic.

“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.”

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