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Which World Bank reports are widely read?

Knowledge is central to development. The World Bank invests about one-quarter of its budget for country services in knowledge products. Still, there is little research about the demand for these knowledge products and how internal knowledge flows affect their demand. About 49 percent of the World Bank’s policy reports, which are published Economic and Sector Work or Technical Assistance reports, have the stated objective of informing the public debate or influencing the development community. This study uses information on downloads and citations to assesses whether policy reports meet this objective. About 13 percent of policy reports were downloaded at least 250 times while more than 31 percent of policy reports are never downloaded. Almost 87 percent of policy reports were never cited. More expensive, complex, multi-sector, core diagnostics reports on middle-income countries with larger populations tend to be downloaded more frequently. Multi-sector reports also tend to be cited more frequently. Internal knowledge sharing matters as cross support provided by the World Bank’s Research Department consistently increases downloads and citations.” Policy Research Working Paper 6851.

  • See also The Economist - A publishing giant goes after the authors of its journals’ papers: “…any scientist worth his grant has a website, and that site will often let the casual visitor download copies of its owner’s work. And, though it has taken a while, some publishers have decided they do mind about this—indeed one, Elsevier, based in the Netherlands, has been fighting back. It is using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), an American law that lets copyright holders demand the removal of anything posted online without their permission, to require individual scientists to eliminate from their websites papers published in its journals. In doing so it has stirred a hornets’ nest.”

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