University of Wisconsin–Madison

OpenBook Wisconsin

OpenBook Wisconsin (OBW) is a State of Wisconsin website that provides public access to expenditure information for all state agencies, including UW–Madison and all other UW institutions.

OBW was authorized by 2011 Wisconsin Act 32, s.16.413 of the Wisconsin Statutes, which requires the Department of Administration (DOA) to create an online reporting tool for all agency expenditures in excess of $100. For ease of administration, DOA will report all expenditures, regardless of the amount.

Expenditure Disclosure

The OBW expenditure reporting tool can retrieve state agency expense data by fiscal year, from fiscal year 2008 to the current month, with filters by state agency, expense category, and vendor. Due to university funding structure changes, the tool will retrieve UW data starting with fiscal year 2013. Only the original payment transaction is displayed; any adjustments are not reflected in this data.

In this first phase, OBW will report results from the state common general ledger system which includes travel payments, vendor payments, capital expenditures, and procurement card (PCard) detail (except for UW card data, which will be included in the future). Employee names and agencies may appear in the initial phase if they received travel or other work expense reimbursement.

Later phases will include grant awards and vendor contracts (capital projects and contracts by fiscal year), as well as data from the separate UW general ledger systems, including employee salary and fringe benefit amounts. Employee salary data is public information under state law. OBW will include the following employee payroll data:  employee name, agency, class, gross pay, and year-to-date gross pay.

As directed by law, OBW does not include aid payments to individuals, organizations, and local assistance payments.

Sensitive Employee Information and Personal Safety

The university and DOA have taken precautions to protect sensitive employee information. OBW will not display an employee’s social security number, home address, or home telephone number. OBW will display fringe benefit costs in total, not by individual employee, in order to protect employee confidentiality of health care plan participation and other benefit elections. UW–Madison will also exclude payments to people who receive stipends for participating in scientific research studies.

The university wants to protect employees with legitimate personal safety concerns that require the removal of their name from OBW. While there are very limited reasons which justify the removal of an employee name under the law, names will be removed that would potentially jeopardize a person’s safety. Legitimate safety concerns include having been the victim of a crime (e.g., domestic abuse) or circumstances involving court orders that require the removal of the employee’s name.

A UW–Madison employee who believes that they have a personal safety concern that meets the criteria should send an OBW name removal request to the Office of Human Resources:

The Office of Human Resources will work with legal counsel to determine if an employee name should be removed. If approved, only the employee’s name will be removed; the expenses and payroll information associated with this employee will still be included on the OBW website. Approved removal of an employee name from OBW will also authorize the name removal from the university directory.