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.

OCDS 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 a list of tools to facilitate accessing OCDS data, converting it between JSON and CSV, and reviewing its quality. We also keep track of re-usable and open-source tools developed by others that can help you analyze and present OCDS data and insights to different audiences.

Featured tool

OCDS Kingfisher

A family of tools to collect, pre-process, summarize and query OCDS data. It is used internally by helpdesk 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). It serves as a data source for other tools.

Tools gallery

Access Convert Review Analyze Present
OCDS Kingfisher

Redash

Flatten Tool

OCDS Kit

OCDS Toucan

jq

Data Review Tool

jOCDS Validator

Google Colaboratory Notebooks Tower Builder

OCDS Show

Google Data Studio

 

See the full list of reusable OCDS Helpdesk and community tools in our Tools Directory.

Data tools

We maintain a list of tools to facilitate accessing OCDS data, converting it between JSON and CSV, and reviewing its quality. We also keep track of re-usable and open-source tools developed by others that can help you analyze and present OCDS data and insights to different audiences.

Kingfisher: A family of tools to collect, pre-process, summarize and query OCDS data. It is used internally by helpdesk 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). It 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.

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

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 and Toucan, in particular.

Toucan: An online tool to replicate the functionality of command-line tools in a browser. It gives access to OCDS Kit and Flatten Tool.

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

Contact our expert

Andidiong Okon,
Community and Capacity Building Manager

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.

  • Understanding OCDS JSON data (coming soon)
  • Understanding OCDS CSV data (coming soon)
  • Getting Familiar with the Flatten Tool (coming soon)
  • Reviewing Your OCDS data with the Data Review Tool (coming soon)

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

Knowledge Slides
Dive deeper into OCDS concepts that are vital for you to understand and use OCDS data and our tools.

Contact our expert

Camila Salazar,
Lead Data Analyst

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": [
    "planning"],
  "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:

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

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.