OpenGov Voices: Beta release of the open contracting data standard

An image of Felipe Estefan, Open Government and Citizen Engagement specialist at the World Bank's Governance Global Practice.
Felipe Estefan, Open Government and Citizen Engagement specialist at the World Bank’s Governance Global Practice. Image credit: World Bank’s Governance Global Practice.

This post was originally posted by Open Contracting on September 04, 2014.

Each year, governments around the world spend over $9 trillion dollars of citizens’ money through public contracts. All too often, however, little to no data is made available to the public about these contracts. If data is available, it is often supplied in ways which make analysis very challenging or downright impossible.

Yet, if data relating to public contracts is released in a clear, reusable and timely way, the rewards will be great. Governments will have data to make better decisions and enhance their effectiveness, private companies will be better able to compete in the market and citizens will be able to hold their governments accountable for how they spend public resources.

To help unlock these benefits, the Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) is pleased to share for broad consultation the Beta Release of the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS). This Standard is currently being developed for the OCP by the World Wide Web Foundation through the support of Omidyar Network and the World Bank.

The objective of the Data Standard is to support governments to publish contracting data in a more accessible, interoperable and useful manner and to enable the widest possible range of stakeholders to use contracting data effectively.

Some of the features provided by this Beta Release include a description of the overall Open Contracting Data Standard Model and a JSON Schema for open contracting releases and records that includes a set of recommended fields.

The development of the Open Contracting Data Standard is an open process and inputs and feedback are encouraged. Although this will be an ongoing process, those comments provided before September 30, 2014 will be more likely to fully inform version 1.0 of the Standard. These comments will help refine the standard, both the structure and fields, in preparation for the initial release version.

Those interested in providing comments can do so in two different ways:

  • Inline comments on the document – Log in to the Open Contracting Data Standard Github site and then highlight portions of text to add comment. To “reply” to an existing comment, highlight the same portion of text, and then add your comment. See instructions at the top of the Github login page for more help on commenting.
  • Mailing list – If you have more general comments that don’t fit well as inline comments, please join the OCDS mailing list and start a discussion with your thoughts.

For specific details on the process of the development of the standard please email

We look forward to your help on this vital project.

The Open Contracting Partnership

Further information

Felipe Estefan specializes on Open Government and Citizen Engagement. Estefan is currently part of the Public Integrity and Openness Department in the World Bank’s Governance Global Practice. In his role, he designs and implements strategies to advance transparency, accountability and citizen participation as a path towards improved governance and enhanced development outcomes. Prior to joining the World Bank, Estefan served as Planning Producer for CNN. He has designed and implemented digital engagement strategies for clients and organizations in the public and private sectors, including the Office of the Vice President of Colombia and hip-hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons. Estefan, a native of Bogotá, Colombia, graduated from the Public Diplomacy program at Syracuse University. He holds an MA in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and an MS in Public Relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He can be reached on Twitter: @FelipeEstefan

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