Acquisition Sun could be setting on DUNS

The federal government is taking the first steps toward getting rid of a proprietary business identifier it uses in its procurement processes and that critics say weakens open-data initiatives.

To track its spending, the government requires contractors and grantees to obtain a unique identifying code under the Data Universal Numbering System, which is maintained by Dun and Bradstreet. Companies and the government must pay each time they use the codes, which ends up costing millions of dollars every year.

Critics of the DUNS number say that continuing to use a proprietary code to track public information makes little sense economically or for governmental efforts to open up access to public data in new ways.

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