Using open contracting data

Open contracting data can be a powerful tool to drive better decision making and improved policy in public contracting, if it is used well.

Open Contracting data can be used to:

  • Deliver better value for money, saving government money and time;
  • Build a fairer business environment and a level playing field for suppliers; and
  • Improve public integrity by deterring fraud and corruption; and
  • Track and improve service delivery.

In this section, you will learn how to find OCDS data, what format OCDS data is, and access all of our guides, tools, and methodologies that will help you to use it.

Tools and guidance for data use

Unpack our range of tools and resources to support users and publishers’ journeys and encourage self-learning. We maintain tools to facilitate accessing OCDS data, converting it between JSON and CSV, and reviewing its quality.

Quick ’n’ easy

Key open contracting approaches explained

Featured tools for accessing OCDS data

OCP Data Registry

The Data Registry helps you find and download public procurement datasets that are available in the OCDS format. Currently, you can access data from over 50 publishers from around the world.

OCDS Kingfisher Collect

OCDS publishers worldwide publish using different access methods, from APIs to bulk downloads. With Kingfisher Collect, you can download OCDS data directly from the publisher’s websites.

Data tools

We maintain tools to facilitate accessing OCDS data, converting it between JSON and CSV, and reviewing its quality.

Kingfisher: A family of tools to collect, pre-process, summarize and query OCDS data. It is used internally by our data analysts to provide feedback to publishers of OCDS data, and by a data analyst to calculate indicators and do research (though a goal is to increase use by the wider community). Kingfisher collect also serves as a data source for other tools.

Data Review Tool: An online tool to report structural errors in OCDS data. It is primarily used by implementers of OCDS to check their conformance to the standard. Its library is used by Kingfisher to automatically check OCDS data after its collection.

Flatten Tool: A command-line tool to transform JSON data to tabular formats, and vice versa. It is an important tool for users who are more familiar with tabular data.

OCDS Kit: A suite of command-line tools and a Python library for working with OCDS data. It contains common functionality used by Kingfisher, in particular.

Redash: A deployment of Redash to give users access to the Kingfisher database.

Pelican: An online tool to report quality issues in OCDS data, sourced from Kingfisher. It is used internally by our data analysts to provide feedback to publishers of OCDS data, and by program managers to better understand a local partner’s data.

Contact our expert

James McKinney,
Head of Technology

Learning guides and resources

To get you started with our OCDS tools, we have developed a number of resources that appeal to the different learning styles of our community of data users. Whether you are new to the OCDS and want to understand its history and key components, or you are a journalist or researcher looking to grab OCDS from your country and perform some analysis, these should get you going.

See detailed guides and resources that show practical tools around data use or bite-size guides on specific skills needed to work with data. Need something quick? Check out our videos or skills quizzes to boost your knowledge on thorny data concepts and tools.

Guides and References
Our comprehensive technical data use guides and references show you what is possible with our tools and your OCDS data hand-in-hand.

Learning Videos
Need to quickly learn how to perform a specific task with one of our OCDS tools or brush up on a key concept? Check out one or more of our learning videos.

Learning Labs
Check out our self-paced, interactive learning labs that walk you through building specific skills and knowledge for OCDS data use

Contact our expert

Camila Salazar,
Head of Data Analytics and Learning

What format is OCDS?

The OCDS is serialized in a JSON format as well as a CSV format.

JSON looks like this:

  "ocid": "ocds-213czf-1",
  "id": "1",
  "date": "2001-02-03T04:05:06Z",
  "tag": [
  "initiationType": "tender"

The benefit of JSON is that it allows relationships to be communicated by nesting information in a structure, similar to a document with headings and sub-headings. It is more ‘lightweight’ than some alternatives, meaning more information can fit into smaller file sizes. Finally, it is the format preferred by many software developers for building tools for monitoring and analysis.

CSV looks like this:


CSV is familiar to anyone who has used Excel (with rows and columns). It can get a little bit complicated to display the relationships between stages of the procurement process, actors, values, etc. in spreadsheet format, but it is the data format that the widest number of people are able to use with less technical training. That is why we encourage publishers to publish in both formats and we maintain tools to convert data between the two formats.

If you open the above CSV in spreadsheet software like Excel, it looks like this:

ocid id date tag initiationType
ocds-213czf-1 1 2001-02-03T04:05:06Z planning tender

To get a sense of what a contracting process looks like in OCDS, you can browse our JSON examples and our Excel examples.