The IMF has five datasets:

  • International Financial Statistics (IFS)
  • Balance of Payments Statistics (BOPS)
  • Direction of Trade Statistics (DOTS)
  • Government Finance Statistics (GFS)
  • Trade and Investment

They cover many variables from 1960 onwards and available by subscription. What are the closest open-data alternatives to these datasets?

So far I found these alternatives (the list is updated):

Direction of Trade Statistics (DOTS)

  • I take it your intended use does not fall under Fair Use? elibrary.imf.org/page/20/legal-notices
    – user3856
    Nov 1 '14 at 14:58
  • per Barry's comment. For those not covered by fair use (jounralists, academics), the use of the data is limited to non-commercial use: imf.org/external/terms.htm Nov 1 '14 at 15:32
  • @BarryCarter Doesn't the link concern only articles, not datasets? I see the five datasets only as subscription with a free trial (and they're free for the residents of the least developed countries). Nov 1 '14 at 19:19
  • Anton, could you please describe a little bit what information each dataset contains? Thanks! Nov 4 '14 at 5:53

The UN has several sources of datasets relating to government expenditures and trade that are free to use for commercial and non-commercial usage. Generally, the terms require attribution.

Note, not all UN datasets are free to use.

UN Data - data.un.org

Terms of Use - http://data.un.org/Host.aspx?Content=UNdataUse

All data and metadata provided on UNdata’s website are available free of charge and may be copied freely, duplicated and further distributed provided that UNdata is cited as the reference.

World Bank - data.worldbank.org/

Terms of Use - http://data.worldbank.org/summary-terms-of-use

You are free to copy, distribute, adapt, display or include the data in other products for commercial and noncommercial purposes at no cost subject to certain limitations summarized below.

You must include attribution for the data you use in the manner indicated in the metadata included with the data.


The IMF seemingly opened a free access to their stats:

Bulk download is available after registration.

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