10 common mistakes IATI publication

IATI regularly organizes community events, where members and interested parties share knowledge and experiences. Recently, the IATI Virtual Community Exchange was held. Spread over two days, there were both plenary and parallel workshop sessions on transparency, data use, analytics and new initiatives. Some sessions were theoretical and conceptual, but most sessions were very practical. So was the session with the topic: “10 common mistakes to avoid for IATI publishers”. The presentation was given by two people who provide support in the field of IATI; so the data comes directly from the source.

  1. Confusion about the Organization ID and the Publisher ID. Wrong API key.
    The Organization ID is the ID assigned by third parties and is therefore not an IATI specific ID. The Publisher ID is the ID that is assigned to the organization by IATI. The API key is only applicable when using products such as Aidstream. Take note that the API key gives admin access to IATI.
  2. Organization file not published
    Every publisher must have at least 1 organization file and 1 activity file. The organization file contains information such as the publisher ID, but also data on previous IATI publications. See for example the Oxfam organization file.
  3. Confusion between IATI registration and Aidstream registration.
    The Aidstream registration can only be set up if there is an existing IATI registration. Logical, but it sometimes causes confusion.
  4. Incorrect participating organization IDs
    Internally used organization IDs are still sometimes used, instead of the organization IDs of participating organizations, as registered with IATI. This can be easily recognized if, for example, the organization ID consists of only a number or a name. The organization ID has a specific and recognizable mask.
  5. Publishing hidden G-drives and/or incorrect file formats such as HTML or PDF.
    The file that can be interpreted by IATI is always an XML file. Other file formats are not recognized. This problem can be identified by the Validator. Especially when there are ‘own fabricated uploads’ this problem can occur.
  6. Activity ID without Organization ID.
    An activity ID starts with the organization ID, so an activity ID that does not contain the organization ID is incorrect. And this mistake is often made.
  7. Creating new activities for each quarter or for each result indicator.
    Creating new activities for every quarter or for every result indicator is not necessary and means a lot of extra work. An activity can contain multiple results and indicators and you can complete the activity with the latest data on results and finances throughout its duration.
  8. Confusion between transaction types.
    Incoming funds are sometimes confused with incoming commitments, expenses where the donor is marked as the party who spent the money, etc. The transaction type is an important characteristic which must be chosen correctly. For all incoming funds, the organization is the recipient and for all expenditures, the organization is the issuing organization. So it should always be viewed from the perspective of the activity.
  9. Lack of baselines.
    When organizations put a lot of work into publishing realized results, but have not completed the baseline, progress cannot be measured either. For reports, including those used by donors, progress numbers and visualizations are the most commonly used. However, these are empty if no baseline (or target) has been filled in.
  10. Publishing sensitive data
    Depending on the country or type of projects, there may be secret or sensitive data attached to the project. This data should not be published in IATI as it may pose risks to individuals or organizations. It is important to verify the texts as well, as they may contain certain data that should not be published. And if published, read this about removing data.


8 of these 10 problems do not apply when using the IATI Publisher from ProjectConnect. By eliminating manual input and by automatically formatting the IATI file, it is no longer possible to make formatting errors. For publishing sensitive data, a preview function and an optional formal approval step have been added.

Source: 10 publishing errors in IATI

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