GoodGuide currently acquires data from over 1,000 different sources. Our sources include scientific institutions, governmental agencies, commercial data aggregators, non-governmental organizations, media outlets and corporations. Product-level information is typically obtained from the manufacturer's website or from product labels. Company-level information for public firms is primarily obtained from rating services that serve the socially responsible investment market (Thomson-Reuters Asset4 and IW Financial). Company-level information for private firms is primarily obtained from de novo research conducted by GoodGuide using licensed databases and the Internet.
The age of data we use in GoodGuide ratings varies by source. Our goal is to refresh product-level information at least once every 18 months. Company-level information for public firms may be refreshed as our contributing data sources are updated (some licensed data sources provide incremental updates on a monthly basis, while others operate on a quarterly schedule). Company-level information for private firms is refreshed at least once every 24 months.
Access to Raw Data
Our full ratings detail provides information about how a product/company scores on each indicator, but does not generally provide the raw data that we used in order to assign that attribute score. Our ability to disclose the raw data elements behind a score varies by indicator and data source. There are three main reasons for this: 1) for company-level data, several of our licensed data providers do not allow republication of their actual raw data 2) for some attributes, our score is driven by a score or grade given by a third-party - the supporting data for that score is not available to us and the raw third-party score would not be meaningful to our users; and 3) for some attributes, our score reflects a review of an extensive amount of data (e.g., the results of searches for information about controversies affecting a company) that would be difficult to republish or even consistently cite via URL in a usable and easy to maintain fashion.
GoodGuide is in the best position to provide access to raw data when we ourselves are the source - for example, because we collect the data ourselves, we are able to provide access to ingredient-level information that we use to score personal care and household chemical products on Health, or attribute information that we use to score cell phone or cars on Environment.
Commitment to Data Quality
GoodGuide is working to be the most reliable source of information on products and companies. We employ quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) processes to ensure that GoodGuide maintains the highest standards of data integrity. The quality and credibility of each contributing data source is assessed based on its public reputation and the reviews of experts in relevant fields and by a detailed assessment of the data collection process used by the source. Our information architecture helps us avoid data quality issues by using industry-standard identification and cross-referencing systems (e.g., using chemical CAS numbers to connect information about ingredients) to facilitate matching data from external sources to their proper location in the GoodGuide ontology. Our QA/QC protocols include procedures to proactively minimize data errors, resolve potential data issues, and ensure timely updates of sources.
Error Reporting and Correction Procedures
If you believe a GoodGuide rating is incorrect or based on inaccurate data, we encourage you to report the issue to us for investigation. Please be sure to identify the relevant GoodGuide URL, product or company name so we can research your complaint. Please describe the apparent error and provide documentation (or URLs) that support use of different data or a revised rating. GoodGuide does not charge any fees for investigating or correcting errors. Upon written request, we can treat submissions as confidential information.
We follow a standard procedure when addressing error reports: Our science team will review complaints and any provided documentation and inform you about our planned response to your error report in a timely manner. Based on our review, error reports are classified into one of the following categories and handled as specified:
- Raw Data Error: If a user provides evidence indicating that GoodGuide contains incorrect information about a product's or company's identity or attributes (e.g., incorrect product-brand relationship, missing product ingredients, etc.), GoodGuide will attempt to confirm the accuracy of proposed corrections using publicly available sources. If a user proposes alternate, more up-to-date information for consideration in rating a single product or company on any given indicator, we will review whether our current data is misleading in the light of the new information provided. In the event that GoodGuide determines a correction or update is warranted, we will proceed to integrate the resulting score change into our services during our next scheduled database push (which occur bi-monthly). If incorrect or out-of-date data materially impacts the score assigned to a product or company, GoodGuide will temporarily suspend publishing that entity's record until its score can be publicly updated.
- Data Sourcing Concerns: If a user raises issues about a source GoodGuide relies on and proposes an alternate source for use in scoring an indicator, GoodGuide will evaluate the proposed new source against its criteria for sourcing data. We consider whether a source is credible in the domain relevant to the data element, whether it is publicly available or requires fees, and the extent of its coverage. If the source provides more accurate or more current information than GoodGuide's existing source and covers a significant proportion of the GoodGuide universe, GoodGuide will integrate it into our rating system. We prioritize integrating new sources that cover a significant percent of our product catalogue or company universe, in order to maintain comparability in the indicator data we use to rank products or companies. GoodGuide generally updates product or company ratings at least once every 18 months, so a switch to a new data source may take up to this amount of time to implement.
- Scoring Methodology Dispute: If a user raises issues about the scoring methodology GoodGuide uses to rate a product or company (e.g., maintaining that it should not be rated on some specific indicator or taking issue with the weight accorded to a rating component), we will consider that feedback in the context of overall stakeholder feedback on the GoodGuide rating system. We do not implement custom modifications to our scoring methodologies that are specific to a company or product. We do regularly review and enhance our methodologies in response to user feedback and new scientific or regulatory developments.
In many cases, data that would be relevant for a thorough assessment of an important attribute is unavailable for either a product or company. This may be because we have not yet identified a credible data source for a given issue or topic. Or it may be that the data are not publicly available because companies have not disclosed critical information. GoodGuide is working collaboratively with key stakeholders around the world, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, private research agencies, and companies to promote the quantity and quality of disclosure of important data to the public. If you are aware of data sources that are not yet included in GoodGuide that would improve our product or company coverage, please contact us to nominate these sources for evaluation.