Project identifiers

A project identifier is a unique identifier for an infrastructure project. Every project in OC4IDS has a project identifier in the id field.

Project identifiers can be used to join up data published at different times or from different systems; for example, including a project identifier in contracting data makes it possible to join up data on the design, construction and supervision contracts within a single infrastructure project.

Local project identifiers in contracting data

A common need is to access data about the contracting processes related to an infrastructure project. When contracting systems use consistent identifiers to refer to infrastructure projects, this becomes possible. An example use case is automatically checking which projects have related contracting data, and then manually filtering projects for further scrutiny, monitoring or data collection.

Project identifiers in contracting data should be locally unique; this means that across all contracting data from a particular system or country, each project identifier refers to exactly one infrastructure project.

There are different approaches to including project identifiers in contracting data, with the best solution depending on the context of an implementation:

  • Include a free-text field for project identifiers in procurement systems and work with officials entering procurement information to make sure this is populated according to a defined pattern.

    Free-text entry of project identifiers can lead to data quality issues; for example, project identifiers can be mistyped or two groups can accidentally choose to use the same identifier for different projects.

    However, this approach allows some data quality checks to be run; for example, checking that all the contracting processes over a certain value from a given agency have a project identifier, and that the identifier matches a defined pattern or a local list of project identifiers.

    This approach also enables the joining up of data on multiple contracting processes relating to a single infrastructure project.

  • Establish a national project register managed by a central agency and integrated into procurement systems. In this model, officials entering procurement information would look up and use the project’s identifier from the national register. If the project is not yet in the register, they would request its addition.

    This approach supports more comprehensive and effective data quality checks; for example, project identifiers entered into procurement systems can be immediately checked against the project register to prevent errors in data entry (“validation at source”).

    A central register can ensure that project identifiers are locally unique, and more robustly supports use cases like identifying projects lacking related contracts.

    However, this approach requires political will and technical capacity to establish the central register and integrate it into procurement systems, and it requires an appropriate central actor to manage it.

Globally unique project identifiers

Project identifiers in OC4IDS should be globally unique; this means that, across the data of all OC4IDS publishers, each project identifier refers to exactly one infrastructure project.

If local project identifiers are available in existing systems or data, these should be re-used to create globally unique project identifiers for use in OC4IDS; otherwise, if local project identifiers are not available, publishers may assign local identifiers to projects in the systems used to generate OC4IDS data.

To make local project identifiers globally unique for use in OC4IDS, the OC4IDS Helpdesk assigns a project identifier prefix that publishers must add to local project identifiers, using the following identifier structure: [project identifier prefix]-[local project identifier].

Request a project identifier prefix

To request a project identifier prefix, contact the OC4IDS Helpdesk by emailing data@open-contracting.org and provide the name of your organization.