TheyBuyForYou Platform and Knowledge Graph: Expanding Horizons in Public Procurement with Open Linked Data

Tracking #: 2797-4011

Ahmet Soylu
Oscar Corcho
Brian Elvesæter
Carlos Badenes-Olmedo
Tom Blount
Francisco Yedro Martínez
Matej Kovacic
Matej Posinkovic
Ian Makgill
Chris Taggart
Elena Simperl
Till C. Lech
Dumitru Roman

Responsible editor: 
Jens Lehmann

Submission type: 
Tool/System Report
Public procurement is a large market affecting almost every organisation and individual; therefore, governments need to ensure its efficiency, transparency, and accountability, while creating healthy, competitive, and vibrant economies. In this context, open data initiatives and integration of data from multiple sources across national borders could transform the procurement market by such as lowering the barriers of entry for smaller suppliers and encouraging healthier competition, in particular by enabling cross-border bids. Increasingly more open data is published in the public sector; however, these are created and maintained in siloes and are not straightforward to reuse or maintain because of technical heterogeneity, lack of quality, insufficient metadata, or missing links to related domains. To this end, we developed an open linked data platform, called TheyBuyForYou, consisting of a set of modular APIs and ontologies to publish, curate, integrate, analyse, and visualise an EU-wide, cross-border, and cross-lingual procurement knowledge graph. We developed advanced tools and services on top of the knowledge graph for anomaly detection, cross-lingual document search, and data storytelling. This article describes the TheyBuyForYou platform and knowledge graph, reports their adoption by different stakeholders and challenges and experiences we went through while creating them, and demonstrates the usefulness of Semantic Web and Linked Data technologies for enhancing public procurement.
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Solicited Reviews:
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Review #1
By Fathoni A. Musyaffa submitted on 10/Jun/2021
Review Comment:

The paper is well structured and generally easy to read, elaborating semantic technology stack implementation in the domain of public procurement. It also provides two ontologies for handling public procurement analysis, as well as tools for digesting and analyzing integrated procurement data. In addition, the TBFY project also cooperates with different stakeholders to adopt and evaluate the TBFY platform.

There are only minor considerations:

- Some sections of the paper may not be as easy to read, due to the long sentence formulation. For example, a) The sentence following “The Spanish company OESIA….”, “The city of Zaragoza,....” on page 15. b) The sentence follows “Regarding the KG and its ability to meet the key information requirements...” on page 17. c) Section 8.4 has a lot of parentheses. The overuse of the parentheses hinders the sections’ readability.

- Minor typo: “for all government suppliers in their spend analysis” -> Perhaps “spending analysis” instead?

- Image quality problem for Fig. 1 and Fig. 2. It looks fine on-screen, but the printing output from a laser printer of Fig. 1 is blurry. Maybe it can be solved using a text text-searchable PDF image instead?

- On page 16, the second column has a different spacing.

Overall, the paper provides a system tool that is relevant to provide an impact in the public administration and business domain. The ontologies and platform are also extensively documented in the relevant Github repositories.