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The World Bank's Open Data initiative is intended to provide all users with access to World Bank data, according to the Open Data Terms of Use. The data catalog is a listing of available World Bank datasets, including databases, pre-formatted tables, reports, and other resources.

This section provides some of the tools that governments will need to take the first steps in an Open Data initiative. It is intended for public sector managers and staff who have been tasked with coordinating or organizing an Open Data initative.

As planning for an Open Data initiative takes shape and the number of participants expands, other sections of this toolkit will become relevant to various roles, including technology management, user engagement, and data production. In the very early stages of planning, technical support and the Open Data Readiness Assessment are also relevant.

Benefits of Open Data

As with any public initiative, Open Data involves some expenditure of public resources and effort. As such, public officials are often interested in the benefits of Open Data compared to the levels of required effort.

Similar to other global commodities, data has significant potential to provide benefits. In fact, data has been referred to as the new oil, because while both data and oil have intrinsic value, they both must be “refined” or otherwise transformed to realize their full potential. When government data are made accessible and re-usable, they enable individuals, organizations and even governments themselves to innovate and collaborate in new ways.