PPROC, an Ontology for Transparency in Public Procurement

Tracking #: 1142-2354

Jose Felix Munoz Soro
Guillermo Esteban
Oscar Corcho
Francisco Serón

Responsible editor: 
Guest editors Semantic Web 4 Legal Domain

Submission type: 
Full Paper
Public procurement or tendering refers to the process followed by public authorities for the procurement of goods and services. In most developed countries, the law requires public authorities to provide online information to ensure competitive tendering as far as possible, for which the adequate announcement of tenders is an essential requirement. In addition, transparency laws being proposed in such countries are making the monitoring of public contracts by citizens a fundamental right. This paper describes the PPROC ontology, which has been developed to give support to both processes, publication and accountability, by semantically describing public procurement processes and contracts. The PPROC ontology is extensive, since it covers not only the usual data about the tender, its objectives, deadlines and awardees, but also details of the whole process, from the initial contract publication to its termination. This makes it possible to use the ontology for both open data publication purposes and for the overall management of the public contract procurement process.
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Solicited Reviews:
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Review #1
By Aldo Gangemi submitted on 14/Aug/2015
Review Comment:

The authors have made their homework to accommodate the requests by the reviewers. I am satisfied from my part, but there are some linguistic and narrative issues that need to be solved to create a good SWJ camera-ready, so please read carefully my comments below:

1) The following sentence (p. 3) can be reformulated as I suggest below, for better understanding:

We have considered this approach appropriate because this concept of a legal institution (or of the domain to be represented, which amounts to the same thing) as a group of resources focused on the attainment of an objective is closely associated with the functional aspects of organizations, as is the case with computer applications or tools. For all these reasons, we can state that the PPROC ontology is “institution-oriented”.
We have considered this approach appropriate because considering public procurement (i.e. the domain to be represented) as a legal institution consisting of a group of resources focused on the attainment of an objective is closely associated with the functional aspects of organizations, as is the case with computer applications or tools. For those reasons, the PPROC ontology is “institution-oriented”.

2) The following sentences:

"This perspective has determined the semantic relationships of the model because these are organized according to the role that each concept plays ... In order to identify and define these relationships ..."

use "these" twice without any apparent referenced entity, please rewrite it (the whole paragraph is still suffering from readability issues).

3) At p. 5, the sentence:

"These three ontologies differ in two main aspects. The first is the source of the ontology knowledge."

does not mean much ... what is "the source of ontology knowledge"?!, please change this paragraph as well.

4) The authors use the term "competency questions" in the paper, which is quite common in ontology design, but still needing a bibliographic reference for the general public.

Review #2
By Axel Polleres submitted on 06/Sep/2015
Review Comment:

This manuscript was submitted as 'full paper' and should be reviewed along the usual dimensions for research contributions which include (1) originality, (2) significance of the results, and (3) quality of writing.

My minor comments from the previous revision have been implemented in a satisfactory manner. I have no further comments and think the work can be accepted "as is".


We regret to report that the Provincial Government of Huesca has stopped publishing the data about their public contracts in their SPARQL endpoint (http://www.dphuesca.es/sparql). The reasons are internal and have no relation with the PPROC ontology.

On the other hand, the Regional Government of Aragon will begin soon to publish the information about their contracts using PPROC.