Research: Understanding and building evidence for open contracting

We use and commission research to:

  • Better understand the openness of public contracting
  • Identify problems in public contracting processes and systems
  • Build evidence for open contracting reforms

Our current research projects

  • Efficiency: Can OCDS data help us to better understand how efficient public contracting processes are? Camila Salazar is working with Centro de Desarrollo Sostenible to develop a robust research methodology and document findings for Portugal and Chile.
  • Medicines: Which types of procedures and rules lead to better value for money in procurement of medicines? Nicolas Penagos is investigating these questions through comparative analysis with the government of Chile.
  • Legislative guidance: How do countries build robust and effective legislative frameworks for open contracting? Lindsey Marchessault is working with Trustlaw to document best practices from Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, and Ukraine.

Action Research program

We develop evidence-based policy reform by supporting researchers around the world to use open contracting data to develop actionable recommendations to improve procurement outcomes.

We recently conducted our first Action Research call to investigate the effectiveness and integrity of COVID-19 emergency response procurement. We have selected research projects from 11 countries.

We plan to launch our next Action Research call looking at the efficiency of procurement systems in the context of COVID-19 recovery towards the end of 2020.

Our past research projects

  • Value: 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. Read our research with Spend Network.
  • Gender: What are the barriers facing women-led businesses in public procurement? How can we better understand what enables women-led businesses to participate equitably? What dimensions of open contracting can support women-led businesses? Our research report developed with Value for Women provides insights into emerging best practice and recommendations.

Mythbusting: 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. You can read the report at

Measuring short term effects of open contracting reforms: 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.

Contact us with your ideas

Lindsey Marchessault,
Director, Data and Engagement