Dear DUWG Colleagues: I'm polling for your thoughts on a matter the U.S. Transparency teams are working through regarding how we publish our data to IATI. We think this might be relevant to a few other publishers as well, and appreciate your feedback, thoughts, and ideas:
The U.S. is currently considering the best way to consolidate our reporting without losing granularity by agency. Currently, U.S. foreign assistance data is published under three different publishers: USAID, MCC, and USG (the latter of which combines around 20 other U.S. agencies' data). By reporting under more than one "publisher", we're concerned that it's difficult for users to see all U.S. foreign assistance data unless they're aware of this peculiarity (does the common user in -say- Indonesia really know that MCC is also a U.S. Government agency?) Ideally, the standard would have a designated space for an "umbrella" publisher and also sub-department or agency (think UN and its bodies, Oxfam and its country branches, governments and their departments/agencies, etc.) However, the highest-level is currently "publisher", which for many, is already disaggregated. We understand adding a designated umbrella field to the standard to be a significant undertaking that may affect other, non-umbrella publishers.
Instead, we are advised to consider options within the existing standard that may partially resolve the issue. Some of these we're already doing. Options include: Leaving the publisher field disaggregated, and identifying the umbrella org within the Activity ID prefix (e.g. US-USAGOV-MCC-XXX); Aggregating the publisher to publish under 1 USG, and identifying agency (sub-"publishers") within either (a) the reporting-org narrative field, (b) the participating org field with type: "extending", or (c) in an other-identifier element, using an internal codelist of departments.
(1) Are there other publishers facing the same constraint? Perhaps UK, Germany, Canada, Spain, SIDA, UN Oxfam.
(2) How are you handling it? Are we all handling this consistently? If not, how will users know what to filter by?
(4) USERS: Are you aware of this issue when searching for data? How do you aggregate / disaggregate the above publishers' data? Is that process easy and clear to you and other users?
(3) Any recommendations for the US, IATI Secretariat, or all publishers with umbrellas and sub-entities?
Thanks, all! We're really looking forward to this discussion.