The University of Southampton

Researchers launch first knowledge graph on European public procurement

Published: 15 July 2019
Illustration
The TheyBuyForYou knowledge graph visualised with the Protege OntoGraph plugin.

An international research team including open data specialists from the University of Southampton have released a European knowledge graph that will boost procurement data analytics and decision making capabilities across the continent.

Researchers from the TheyBuyForYou project have integrated tender and company data to complete a first release of the open source knowledge graph for public procurement. As of the first quarter of 2019, the graph consists of over 23 million triples (records), covering information about almost 220,000 tenders.

Public procurement tenders amount to close to two trillion euros annually in the EU, making it critical that the market operates fairly and efficiently, supporting competitiveness and accountability. Data-driven insights can help make this happen, supporting buyers and suppliers alike in their decision making to enable a more open procurement landscape in Europe.

Professor Elena Simperl, Director of the Southampton Data Science Academy, explains: “Knowledge graphs bring together data from a variety of sources into a common format that can be easily extended and reused by organisations. By releasing the graph open source, we hope to encourage developers to use it in their own products and give us feedback on how we could improve it.”

TheyBuyForYou has built a technology platform in the first half of its three-year programme to visualise the comprehensive, cross-border and cross-lingual graph, which includes public spending and corporate data from multiple sources across the EU.

Dr George Konstantinidis, a data management expert in Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science, adds: “Managing, integrating, interacting with, and providing analytics on top of procurement data is dependent upon reliable, and well-designed data infrastructure. The TheyBuyForYou knowledge graph is a coordinated effort to achieve these goals.”

TheyBuyForYou is supported by EU Horizon 2020 funding and brings together researchers, innovators and public administrations from five European countries. ECS researchers, including Yuchen Zhao, Laura Koesten and Tom Blount, are working on guidelines for procurement data visualisation, using interdisciplinary expertise to devise concepts and technologies that make the graph and its properties easier to understand and use.

The knowledge graph is compatible with standards in the procurement domain and is available here.

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