When it comes to open data, the devil is in the details. Publishing data in an open format is admirable — but in order to be valuable, the data must meet basic criteria for formatting and standardization. That’s why DG is contributing its open source jOCDS Validator to the international open contracting community. Tested with millions of records, we’re excited to make this easy-to-use, secure tool available to the public.
The Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) is a structure for publishing procurement data that a number of countries are adopting. Countries recognize that open data is important — and that publishing data in a standard format makes for easier use by the public and the government. But a few questions remain: How do we know that countries are publishing data according to the standard? And how can we be sure that the data is accurate?
Once data is validated and ready for import and publishing, it can be used in tools such as DG’s Corruption Risk Dashboard, which uses a red flagging approach to identify risky procurements.
Figure 1: from the Corruption Risk Dashboard
The Validator supports all core extensions of OCDS in offline mode — allowing users to validate without internet access. All other extensions are supported in online mode (as some OCDS extensions are available only through URL, which by definition requires Internet access). The Validator works with all currently released versions of the standard — 1.0.0 , 1.0.1, 1.0.2, 1.1.0, and 1.1.1 — and will update it to work with all the upcoming versions.
The Validator has a powerful schema caching mechanism that is useful when validating large volumes of tenders.
The tool provides options for different user needs. It provides a command line interface (CLI) tool that is easy to install and use, enabling standalone deployment and use of OCDS validation as a service. It also runs as an easily-started REST API tool, which allows validation in the browser or while using a REST client.
To ensure user privacy, jOCDS does not store incoming OCDS data. Additionally, the data is sent and received over a secure channel, meaning that the online tool can be used to validate data that has yet to be published.
There are two ways to access the Validator:
Option 2: Command line tool. The Validator can be invoked from the command line to validate local files. This is particularly useful for data editors and scientists. In this mode, the Validator works offline with the core extensions, so one doesn’t need Internet access (it takes an executable file of about 10MB installed on one’s own machine).
DG is pleased to provide this free service to the OC community, and we would greatly appreciate your feedback, thoughts and suggestions. So please reach out through Github or send us an email at email@example.com!
Github source code: https://github.com/devgateway/jocds
General remarks https://github.com/devgateway/jocds/blob/master/README.md
Command Line Interface (CLI): https://github.com/devgateway/jocds/blob/master/jocds-cli/README.md
Download CLI and REST API binaries: https://bintray.com/devgateway/jocds/jocds
Demo site: https://jocds.dgstg.org/
The jOCDS Validator is an open source tool licensed with an MIT license.
Building on DG’s open contracting work and reinforced by the global pandemic, we took stock. So where does open contracting data currently stand? Frankly, it is promising, but we still have a way to go.
As we review our strategy, we plan to share here much of what we’ve learned through programming in more than a dozen countries – from our work and from our excellent partners – about the state of data in agriculture, tobacco control, open contracting, and the extractive industries. For each theme, we’ll explore who are the key data users, the decisions they make, the most important data gaps, and the crucial risks of data (mis)use. Here we share previews from some of our flagship programs.
As governments look to “build back better,” we can expect an influx of government spending to stimulate the economy, and a shift in priority goods and services to purchase. While the world transitions from emergency response to recovery, governments’ focus will shift from using technology to procure other products, to procuring technology products themselves.