Almost one third of the 1,450 contracts on ResourceContracts, an online repository of publically available investment contracts, feature annotations that provide plain language summaries of each contract’s key environmental, social, fiscal and operational provisions.
These annotations don't just make the terms of contracts clearer. They provide simple points of comparison between the different contracts in the repository, making it easier to find similarities, trends and telling differences between the terms between companies and governments.
Want to compare contracts quickly and easily? Try using the ResourceContracts Clips tool. This new feature lets you select and compare annotations from one or more documents in ResourceContracts, view them side by side, or save or print them to compare offline.
This blog sets out some useful information about how governments, advocates and others can use this new tool.
What can Clips be used for?
Clips is a useful tool for users seeking to understand and compare different contracts. Specifically, it can help users with the following tasks and research questions.
Comparisons across countries: For instance, how do provisions on royalties compare across national jurisdictions?
- Comparisons for one company operating in different countries: For instance, what is the income tax rate paid by a company in different jurisdictions?
- General contract negotiation preparation: The increasing number of governments committing to contract disclosure, combined with the Clips functionality, will assist governments to more efficiently appraise themselves of different countries’ practices regarding specific issues in contracts. This can help with preparation for contract negotiations, potentially minimizing some information asymmetries between governments and companies.
How it works
- When viewing any contract that contains annotations, turn on the Clips tool.
- While the Clips function is "on," you can select annotations in the current document, or in any other document that contains annotations.
- Once you have clipped the annotations you want, use the All Clips page to sort, compare, share, download or print selected Clips.
- You can sort Clips onscreen and compare annotations text in real time. You can also download or print your Clips. All Clips lists can also be shared via email or as a link.
Turn on Clips
- To activate the Clips function, you need to be viewing a contract.
- Click on the Clips icon (next to the Download and Share button).
- A Clip icon will become visible next to each annotation (in the annotations column on the left).
- You'll also see a blue View Clips button in the top right of the screen—this indicates that the Clips function is "on."
- To deactivate the Clips function at any time, click Hide link next to the View Clips button. Whenever you return to the site using the same browser and device, ResourceContracts will remember the Clips you have selected.
- When the Clips function is on, each annotation in the left sidebar can be clipped individually by clicking the Clip icon to the right of that annotation.
- The icon will change color from grey to blue when each annotation is selected.
- To remove an annotation from your Clips, click the Clip icon to deselect.
- You can also add all annotations in a single document to your Clips by clicking on the Clip All button (near the top of the annotations column).
- The View Clips button in the top right corner of the page shows the total number of Clips selected.
- The Clips function is browser-based. Anyone using your web browser or device will see your Clips when they use the site.
All Clips Page
- To view all your Clips, click on the blue View Clips button to go to the All Clips page.
- On the All Clips page you can compare, sort, share, download or print the selected Clips.
- To remove all saved Clips, click Clear All Clips (located towards the top left of the page, below the search panel).
Share and Download Clips
- Use the Share Clips button to share a link to your selected Clips via Facebook, Twitter or email. You can also use the Share Clips tool to display or copy a unique URL for your selected Clips.
- Use the Download button to save all selected Clips in PDF or spreadsheet form.
- Use the Print button to print out the results displayed on the All Clips page.
View Original Document Text
- Compare Clips using the document’s original PDF page, which opens in a separate window, from the All Clips page.
- Click the icon for the relevant Clip located in the View column to open a mini-window displaying the document’s relevant PDF page.
- Use the mini-window to move through the original PDF for the selected document, or close the window to clear your screen.
- Open as many mini-windows as needed to compare the original documents on your screen.
Sort and Narrow Selected Clips
- Use the column titles at the top of the All Clips page to sort your Clips by category or by selected/un-selected.
- Edit the number of Clips for sharing, downloading or printing by using the checkbox for the first column (on the left) of the All Clips page. To remove a Clip from results to be shared or downloaded, click the checkbox for that Clip to un-select it.
Charles Young is a technical open data consultant to NRGI, Sam Szoke-Burke is a legal researcher for the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment and Jed Miller is an open data consultant and one of the original creators of ResourceContracts.