I have noticed that many things in finance are closed or proprietary like MSCI Barra World (an index that tracks stocks globally). I sense that there may be a huge amount of work to do with such index but I am still interested whether anyone has open-sourced or tried to open-source a world stock index. So does there exist any open-source index?
[Answer to comment]
Let's take an example why the MSCI Barra products cannot qualify to be open source. They give some spreadsheet but then again you need to agree to very restrictive agreement. And read also after agreeing, you get warnings like below. How can you even suppose to build anything on top of it without having to pay something? Perhaps, I am abusing the terminology but I am looking for an index that allows its users to see how they do things like in science, not just spreadsheets or a lot of NDAs and other agreements.
-- Reproduction, redistribution or any other form of copying or transmission of the Index Data without MSCI's prior written consent is strictly prohibited. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Index Data and other MSCI intellectual property you access via the MSCI web site may not be used as a basis for any financial instruments or products (including, without limitation, passively managed funds and index-linked derivative securities), or used to verify or correct data in any other compilation of data or index, or used to create any other data or index (custom or otherwise), without MSCI's prior written permission. (source)
If I can understand right, you cannot even do financial research without MSCI permission.