Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) – Definition

Cite this article as:"Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated November 23, 2018, last accessed November 26, 2020,


Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Definition

The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number is a nine-digit unique identification number assigned to U.S. businesses by the Dun & Bradstreet company. It is popularly known as the social security number for businesses. This number system is also used by the United Nations and European Commission.

A Little More on What is a DUNS Number

Dun and Bradstreet creates this number and adds the company to its database along with the company’s name, address, phone number, number of employees, nature of the business and other details.

Dun and Bradstreet introduced this numbering system for their business credit reporting system. In October 1994, it was adopted by the federal government as the standard business identifier.

The Data Universal Numbering System lists over 260 million companies globally including big corporations, small enterprises, partnerships, and non-profit organizations. It can be issued to any business across the globe. Businesses need to have the DUNS number as well as the Employer Identification number for working with certain U.S government agencies. Some United Nations offices and Australian government agencies also ask for the DUNS number from certain businesses.

DUNS is very useful for both the companies and the federal government. As it provides all the details of the company it helps the businesses to learn more about other companies and find possible customers, associates, and vendors.

On June 27, 2003, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget announced that a DUNS number is mandatory for applying for grants.

DUNS number can be obtained through the DUNS website and it may take up to 30 days to get one. It is provided at free of cost to the U.S. based businesses. An authorized representative of the organization needs to complete the application process providing legal name, title, email address, mailing address, the total number of staffs and contact name of the company.

Data Universal Numbering System +4

A DUNS+4 includes the unique nine-digit DUNS number provided by the Dun and Bradsheet and a four-character suffix to it. The suffix contains four alphanumeric characters and may be assigned by a business concern to establish additional CCR records for identifying alternative Electronic fund transfer accounts for the same parent concern. It doesn’t have any other significance and it is not tracked by the Dun and Bradsheet. DUNS+4 is also known as Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) indicator.

References for Data Universal Numbering System

Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS)

ebXML and Web services, Patil, S., & Newcomer, E. (2003). IEEE Internet Computing, (3), 74-82.

The design and implementation of a corporate householding knowledge processor to improve¬†data¬†quality, Madnick, S., Wang, R., & Xian, X. (2003).¬†Journal of management information systems,¬†20(3), 41-70. This paper suggests that advances in corporate householding are needed to address certain categories of data quality problems caused by data misinterpretation. This paper summarizes some of these data quality problems and recent results from studying corporate householding applications and knowledge exploration. It further outlines a technical approach to a corporate householding knowledge processor (CHKP) to solve a particularly important type of corporate householding problem–entity aggregation.

Improving the quality of corporate household data: Current practices and research directions, Madnick, S., Wang, R., Dravis, F., & Chen, X. (2001).  This paper proposes conceptual definitions for corporate household, corporate household knowledge, and corporate household knowledge processor. After describing research challenges and conceptual definitions, the paper summarizes current practices and approaches.

Global content management services for product providers and purchasers, Trappey, A. J., & Trappey, C. V. (2004). Computers in Industry, 53(1), 39-58. This research defines a method for developing eXtended Markup Language (XML)-based content management services for global product manufacturers and distributors. The research defines, develops and integrates new technologies and methodologies into a global content management (GCM) services platform.

An organizational memory for facilitating knowledge: an application to e-business architecture, Chang, J., Choi, B., & Lee, H. (2004). Expert Systems with Applications, 26(2), 203-215. This paper proposes a knowledge facilitating organizational memory (KFOM) to decipher a harmony mechanism of OM from the Oriental Yin and Yang perspective.

Strategic industrial alliances in paper industry: XML-vs Ontology-based integration platforms, Naumenko, A., Nikitin, S., Terziyan, V., & Zharko, A. (2005). The learning organization,¬†12(5), 492-514. This paper develops a model to identify cases related to design of ICT platforms for industrial alliances, where the use of Ontology‚Äźdriven architectures based on Semantic web standards is more advantageous than application of conventional modeling together with XML standards.

Overview of the federal procurement process and resources, Halchin, L. E. (2012). Current Politics and Economics of the United States, Canada and Mexico, 14(1), 1.

Integrating Design Document Management Systems Using the Rosettanet E-Business Framework., Kotinurmi, P., Laesvuori, H., Jokinen, K., & Soininen, T. (2004, April). In ICEIS (4)(pp. 502-509). In this work, one e-business framework, RosettaNet, is used to tackle the challenges of product development (PD) integrations. A proof-of-concept implementation of a RosettaNet integration is provided to support PD and the lessons learned are discussed. This work presents a practical case of B2B integration with semantic technologies and describes the benefits of applying such technologies.

The role of data availability in intrametropolitan workplace location studies, Leone, R. A. (1972). In Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 1, number 2 (pp. 171-182). NBER.

ebXML and web services, Sanjay, P., & Eric, N. (2003). This paper explores ebXML as a top-down effort to standardize business processes. The paper provides a detailed comparison of its messaging function with that of bottom-up Web services.

Web Service Technologies, Principles, Architectures, and Standards, Bertino, E., Martino, L. D., Paci, F., & Squicciarini, A. C. (2009). (pp. 9-23). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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