The partners behind ResourceContracts.org are announcing a call for proposals for five grants of up to USD 10,000. CSOs, researchers, think tanks and journalists are encouraged to apply. Others are also welcome to apply.
We encourage proposals that stimulate innovative use of the contract data; catalyze creative methods for contract analysis to gain new insights into contracts available through ResourceContracts; and promote improved understanding of extractive investments and their implications. Project outcomes can include reports, technical trainings, data-driven and contract analysis, or data visualizations where ResourceContracts data is utilized as a core component.
ResourceContracts.org is an online, searchable, user-friendly repository of publicly available oil, gas and mining contracts from around the world. It is curated by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) and the World Bank. ResourceContracts.org intends to reduce information asymmetries in natural resource contracting. ResourceContracts.org provides data and tools for policymakers, communities and investors to search, download, analyze and monitor existing contracts and to use this knowledge to inform future deals.
The site currently hosts more than 1,100 contracts and associated documents from more than 70 countries. It covers more than 30 different resources. Users can search contracts by country, natural resource or type of contract; view and download summaries of key social, environmental, fiscal and operational provisions; and download the contracts as open data. Each contract is made available as machine-readable text using high-quality optical character recognition and more than 180 of these contracts are annotated to provide summaries of key provisions.
Contracts have previously been locked up within PDF documents. By making the contracts searchable with comprehensive metadata, the project aims to enable data-driven contract analysis.
Possible project examples
Projects could, for example, include:
Analysis of contract annotations: Use the contracts and features available through ResourceContracts.org to conduct analysis of annotated contracts and their terms. For example, projects could seek to compare a specific type of contractual term across contracts to discern relevant trends and develop suggestions for improvement of contracts based on such analysis.
Contract text mining using for example R or Elastic Search: Use the ResourceContracts API to compare text from multiple contracts to compare key terms, clauses and provisions.
Analysis of contracts and project-level data: Use new project payment disclosures along with contracts to understand fiscal revenues from extractives activities and to highlight public interest implications of these activities. Project-level data from across countries are available at ResourceProjects.org or from government disclosure sources (such as Companies House in the United Kingdom).
Policy research: Analyze contracts the degree to which provisions conform to generally applicable legislation and to regional and international practice. One could provide policy input on how new legislation or regulations could address previous shortcomings, and priorities for future contracts to be awarded.
Workshop and trainings: ResourceContracts.org could be used as part of a technical training for CSOs or journalists. Workshops or trainings should focus on contract analysis (including how to use ResourceContracts to better understand oil, gas and mining contracts and their implications) and data use.
Contract retrieval and analysis: Retrieve, standardize and analyze new contracts not currently available at ResourceContracts.org.
Journalism: Use the contracts available through ResourceContracts.org (along with other extractives sources such as company or geospatial data) to carry out research on a specific country, company or commodity, and use these findings to shape reports, web products and/ or articles.
General requirements for the grants include:
Types of data use: Applicants should use data available at ResourceContracts (metadata, the contract text or annotations) as main source of projects. Additionally, we encourage applicants to use other datasets from sources such as EITI, geospatial databases, the SEC or data found and generated by CSOs.
Demonstrating use: The grants are focused on demonstrating the application and utility of contract texts and data. Projects should use data from the site as a central element, and applications should spell out a strategy for how the data analysis or interpretation will have an impact on policy debates within a particular resource-rich country or internationally.
Openly licensed: The product (including code base to utilize the data) must be openly licensed (for example, under CC-BY-SA, MIT or a similar license in accordance with the Open Definition).
Grant selection will be done by NRGI, CCSI and the World Bank, the partners behind ResourceContracts.org.