About / Intro


This website contains the specification of version 0.3 of the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard (BODS) plus support for its use.

BODS is an open standard providing guidance and a structured template for collecting, sharing and using high-quality, machine-readable data on beneficial ownership.


The utility of beneficial ownership data is enhanced when the data is available in a structured format. This allows the data to be easily analysed and linked with other datasets, enhancing the data’s ability to expose transnational networks of illicit financial flows and support effective and timely due diligence.

BODS enables beneficial ownership transparency by providing a solid conceptual and practical framework for collecting and publishing beneficial ownership data, resulting in data that is interoperable, more easily reused and of higher quality.

BODS is developed by Open Ownership, a non-profit organisation focused on beneficial ownership transparency, in partnership with Open Data Services.

An open data standard working group of data experts, beneficial ownership specialists and other interested parties also provides advice and helps guide the development of BODS.

The working group is co-chaired by Open Ownership and Open Data Services - and anyone can apply to join the group by filling out this form. Virtual group meetings are held quarterly and communication is coordinated through a Google group.

Current status of the standard

This is v0.3 of the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard. A changelog is provided, and the documentation of previous versions is maintained in archive form.

Implementers should be aware that future changes are anticipated before a version 1.0 release. However, from the v0.1 release onwards, any structural changes or major definitional changes will only take place following consultation.

The schema contains a structure, fields and codelists but does not yet enforce validation constraints on most fields.

Get involved

All changes to the standard draft, documentation and specification take place via GitHub at https://github.com/openownership/data-standard/.

A feature tracker is available on GitHub which documents all new BODS features being researched, proposed or implemented.

Features currently on the tracker are those adopted for development by the Open Ownership and Open Data Services teams following work with implementers of beneficial ownership reforms and in consultation with the Data Standard Working Group.

However, anyone can submit a feature request ticket, contribute to a feature development ticket, or make an implementation proposal. The data standard support team at Open Ownership will consider and reply to any submitted feature requests within a month from submission.

See the project issue tracker for a list of open bugs, issues and features.

If you would like to be involved in the development and review of the Standard, see the Governance page.

Partners and funders

The initial development of BODS was funded by Open Ownership as part of a UK Department for International Development (DfID) funded project and its development continues to be funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office which replaced DfID.

Open Ownership is a non-profit organisation supporting countries that are making the beneficial ownership of companies more transparent. Its day-to-day management is done by an executive team who are overseen by a Steering Group made up of leading transparency and accountability organisations.

In order to focus on its mission, Open Ownership is fiscally sponsored by Global Impact. Fiscal sponsorship is a common mechanism in the non-profit sector that enables organisations to launch new programmes without needing to complete the full process of establishing a new legal entity.

The specification and documentation of BODS have been developed by Open Ownership, Open Data Services and OpenCorporates. Read the credits for full details of the people who have helped develop BODS.

License and contributor agreement

Schema content of the Open Ownership Register is published under the GNU Affero General Public License v3.0.

The BODS schema is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0. Stakeholders can use the software for any purpose, to distribute it, to modify it, and to distribute modified versions of the software. Contributors are required to accept the contributor agreement.


To connect with the data standard support team at Open Ownership, please email support@openownership.org.