The Open Ownership Principles — Structured data

Data should be structured and interoperable

  • BO data should be available as structured data, with declarations conforming to a specified data model or template.
  • Data should be available digitally, including in a machine-readable format.
  • Data should be available in bulk, as well as on a per record basis, free of charge.

The utility of BO data is enhanced when the data is available in a structured format. This allows the data to be easily analysed and linked with other datasets, enhancing the data’s ability to expose transnational networks of illicit financial flows and support effective and timely due diligence. When BO data is structured and interoperable it is also easier to verify, as a greater range of verification mechanisms can be used. The Beneficial Ownership Data Standard (BODS) is a template for publishing structured data about BO in a format (JSON) that can be read and understood by computer systems around the world.

When data is machine readable and available in bulk, multiple declarations can be analysed together. This allows users such as Financial Intelligence Units and other government departments such as procurement agencies, banks, and journalists to apply data science and machine learning techniques to identify suspicious patterns of ownership or beneficial owners that appear on other datasets of interest (for example, sanctions lists). Where the private sector and civil society have access to BO data in bulk, evidence shows that innovations can drive development of new due diligence products and identification of potential corruption cases. Data should be available in machine-readable, bulk format, free of charge. Implementers can also consider making the data available through other modes, such as an Application Programming Interface (API).

Implementation Guide

This OO Principle is particularly relevant in the following aspects of implementation. These correspond to steps in our Implementation Guide.


Example Paper Forms for Collecting Beneficial Ownership Data
Guidance · Open Ownership · Jun 2019

This document provides example forms to guide officials tasked with developing paper forms to collect beneficial ownership information.

Beneficial ownership data in procurement
Briefings · Eva Okunbor and Tymon Kiepe · Mar 2021

This policy briefing outlines the main ways beneficial ownership data can improve public procurement processes and objectives, and discusses some of the key considerations and decisions that implementers face.

It is available in English, Spanish and Indonesian.

Example Beneficial ownership declaration form
Guidance · Open Ownership · Mar 2021

OO’s example disclosure form was made to demonstrate good practice in form design for collecting structured BO data in line with the Open Ownership Principles (OO Principles).

Beneficial Ownership Data Standard template
Guidance · Open Ownership · Mar 2021

This spreadsheet template allows beneficial ownership information to be represented as Beneficial Ownership Data Standard (BODS) 0.2 data. Once completed, the spreadsheet can be submitted to Open Ownership’s Data Review Tool for validation and conversion to BODS JSON.

Beneficial ownership declaration forms: Guide for regulators and designers
Guidance · Open Ownership · Mar 2021

This guide introduces a number of considerations for form development, and presents a worked example of a form that addresses these issues.

Relational database design considerations for beneficial ownership information
Guidance · Opening Extractives · Dec 2021

This guidance note provides technical guidance on considerations for relational database design when building a system that holds beneficial ownership information. In particular, it focuses on the requirements for publishing data to meet the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard.