Research: Understanding and building evidence for open contracting
We use research to:
- Better understand the openness of public contracting
- Identify problems in public contracting processes and systems
- Build evidence for open contracting reforms
As often as possible, we will convert research findings into practical tools, guidance and advocacy resources for the field.
Our current research & guidance projects
- Improving Integrity: With support from UNODC, Gavin Hayman and Kristen Robinson are leading a project to (1) review and summarize best practices and emerging norms for anti-corruption in procurement and (2) convert the best practices and emerging norms into recommended updates that could be considered by future working groups of the official guidance on implementation of the UN Convention Against Corruption.
Many e-procurement reforms have been struggling. We reviewed recent e-GP reforms in Africa to better understand its challenges and propose 8 strategies for successful projects.
This 2-year project with the Africa Freedom of Information Centre (Uganda) and the Institute for Social Accountability (Kenya) explored the effectiveness of gender responsive procurement policies in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. The project is supported by the International Development Research Council (Canada), the Gates Foundation and the Hewlett Foundation.
We worked with the Global Data Barometer to document open procurement in practice as part of the Global Data Barometer project.
How can organizations buy goods and services across the three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental benefits? The new toolkit we developed with partners PUBLIC and Spend Network can help you get started, particularly in low tech environments.
We worked with Universidad de Chile, the Ministry of Public Works, and CENABAST (medical procurement authority) in Chile to research optimal solutions to redesign auctions for public works and medicine contracts.
We worked with Universidad Nacional de Colombia to develop guidelines for public procurement best practices in public hospitals.
Together with Prof Sope William-Elegbe of Stellenbosch University, we analyzed the barriers and the opportunities for WOBs in the South African post-Covid-19 procurement system.
Can OCDS data help us to better understand how efficient public contracting processes are? We worked with Centro de Desarrollo Sostenible to develop a robust research methodology and document findings for Portugal and Chile.
In partnership with the Institut of Analysis and Advocacy, we conducted this research on how to make the procurement of antiretrovirals more efficient, faster and more convenient for customers and suppliers.
How do countries build robust and effective legislative frameworks for open contracting? We worked with TrustLaw to document best practices from Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, and Ukraine.
What is the global value of public procurement? How much of it is open? How much of it is published according to the Open Contracting Data Standard.
What are the barriers facing women-led businesses in public procurement and how can open contracting enable them to participate equitably? Our research with Value for Women provides insights into emerging best practices and recommendations.
Which types of procedures and rules lead to better value for money in procurement of medicines? We analyzed these questions through comparative analysis with the government of Chile.
This research investigated 10 commonly cited reasons not to publish contracting information, using evidence from 20 countries and input from over 70 experts to dispel these most common excuses not to publish contracting information.
We worked with Oxford Insights to evaluate the implementation of commitments by 12 governments to improve the transparency of procurement and beneficial ownership made under the IMF COVID-19 rapid financing instruments.
This research was undertaken by the Government Transparency Institute with support from Hivos, Development Gateway, and The B-Team. It investigated the short term effects of open contracting reforms in Mexico, Slovak Republic & Paraguay on several indicators of procurement performance.
We worked with the Centro de Desarrollo Sostenible to develop a network of researchers in Latin America using OCDS data and OCP’s tools, applying artificial intelligence techniques and approaches.
Action Research program
We support evidence-based policy reform by supporting researchers around the world to use open contracting data to develop actionable recommendations to improve procurement outcomes.
Some highlights of our 2021/2022 Action Research program
- We supported research teams from 12 countries to analyze equity and effectiveness in public procurement, with support from Canada’s International Development Research Centre‘s Open Data for Development program.
- The Action research project was an opportunity to empower local researchers to generate actionable insights that could be translated into better procurement practices. We published a full report, with the findings of the projects and launched it on a webinar with our international community. We also published 11 individual country reports related to inclusion, equity and effectiveness in public procurement in , Malawi, Argentina, Costa Rica, Nigeria, Colombia, Philippines, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania and Puerto Rico, and a qualitative gender and inclusion framework developed by Oxford Insights.
- The findings from the research have been featured in different media publications and researchers organized and participated in different dissemination global events such as webinars, the Public Procurement Global Revolution XI conference at Nottingham University and the 2021 OGP Academy: The Case for Open Government.
- Some of these research projects led to successful follow up activities with key stakeholders, including trainings with government officials that led to the reactivation of the e-procurement portal in Nigeria, new monitoring projects with 20 civil society organizations, Congressional briefings in the US to discuss problems with recovery funds in Puerto Rico, roundtables in Kyrgygz Republic with Ministry of Health officials, or further research in Colombia on best practices for public works procurement at the local level.
In 2020, together with HIVOS, OCP supported a cohort of action research projects to investigate Covid-19 related emergency procurement.
Some highlights of our 2020 Action Research program
- 3000 USD grants to researchers seeking to better understand how contracting in their local contexts can be made more effective, efficient, and equitable.
- 24 grants given to researchers in Argentina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Georgia, Guatemala, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and the UK.
The 2020 cohort of the Action Research program focused on lessons learned from Covid-19 emergency procurement. Read the findings and recommendations for better emergency procurement from 12 countries.