Official Rules: 2021 GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge

1. Administrator

  • Challenge Name: 2021 GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge (the “Challenge”)
  • Challenge Entry Form: (the “Challenge Entry Form”)
  • Administrator (the “Administrator”):
    GBIF Secretariat
    Universitetsparken 15
    DK-2100 København Ø

The Administrator is the lead sponsor and entity responsible for the Challenge.

2. Dates and timing

  • Submission Period: 20 January 2021 (1000 Central European Time | UTC +1) – 2 August 2021 (1600 Central European Summer Time | UTC +2) (the “Submission Period”)
  • Judging Period: 3 August–30 September 2021 (the “Judging Period”)
  • Winners Announced: October 2021

The Administrator will be the official timekeeper for the Challenge.

3. Eligibility

A. The Challenge is open to:

  • Individuals
  • Teams of individuals, with no limit on the number of people included in a team
  • Organizations—including corporations, not-for-profit corporations and other nonprofit organizations, limited liability companies, partnerships, and other legal entities)—at exist and have been organized or incorporated at the time of entry (“Organizations”)

The above are collectively, “Makers”.

An individual may join more than one team or Organization, and an individual who is part of a team or Organization may also enter the Challenge on an individual basis. If participating in a team, the team must appoint and authorize one individual (the ‘Representative’) to represent, act, and enter a Submission, on their behalf.

By entering a Submission on behalf of a team or organization, you represent and warrant that you are the Representative, and are duly authorized to act on behalf of your team or organization. The Representative shall act on behalf of the team to assume all rights and responsibilities regarding the challenge. If a team entry is selected as a winning entry, GBIF will pay prize money to the Representative, who will bear the responsibility of distributing the prize money to team members.

B. The Challenge is NOT open to:

  • Current staff members of the GBIF Secretariat
  • Individuals currently under direct contract to the GBIF Secretariat
  • Members of the GBIF Science Committee
  • Heads of Delegation to GBIF

4. Submission requirements

Makers must do the following to participate in the GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge:

  • Submit completed entries and accept the terms of use at
  • Entries must include:
    • Submission name/title
    • Team member(s) names and affiliations
    • Abstract and rationale (max. 1,000 words): The abstract should describe your submission, why it matters to GBIF communities, and how it intends to serve their needs.
    • Operating instructions and relevant technical requirements (how does it work?)
    • Link to intro video, screenshots and/or other visuals that demonstrate or describe the submission and its results in relevant form, e.g. prototype, demo, video, slides, et al.
    • Link(s) to source and submission documentation on any appropriate website or repository

A. Language Requirements

All submission materials must be in English or, if not in English, the Maker must provide an English translation of the demonstration video, text description, and testing instructions as well as all other materials submitted.

B. Application Requirements: What to Create

The 2021 Ebbe Nielsen Challenge is deliberately open-ended, so entrants have a broad remit for creating tools and techniques that advance in open science and improve the access, utility or quality of GBIF-mediated data. Challenge submissions may be new applications, visualization methods, workflows or analyses, or they build on and extend existing tools and features.

Each submission must include both a video demonstration and a written description

The video must demonstrate the use of the system and include explanations of inputs, process and outputs.

The written description must address the innovation and impact of the system, including the goals of the development, the tools used, and the ways that GBIF data is used by the system.

The judges and GBIF Secretariat staff must be able to access and operate or review the submission at no cost. If the submission is a stand-alone application, then it must operate on readily available hardware. If the submission is a script or other automated solution, then its operation must be repeatable and described with sufficient detail in the submission for it to be repeated. Provided that these conditions are met, entrants are welcome to document and present their entries via any appropriate repository or website—GitHub, Dryad, FigShare, Open Science Framework, Jupyter Notebook, et al.

Makers must abide by the licences and terms of use for data that their Submissions access via and its associated services. Entry materials must also not include third-party trademarks, copyrighted music or other material unless the Maker has permission to use such material. Visual elements must be freely accessible to the judges, whether uploaded through an external video hosting service like YouTube or Vimeo or posted as a zip archive to a cloud-based file-sharing service.

  1. Novelty: The submission should be “novel” in that a significant portion of the submission should be developed for the challenge. A submission based largely (or entirely) on work published or developed prior to the challenge start date will not be eligible for submission.
  2. Intellectual Property: GBIF is committed to open science, open data and open-source development. We encourage the Makers to adopt the most open licences possible for their Submissions, though each Submission will remain the property of its participants, unless otherwise specified. By entering a Submission, the Makers agree to grant GBIF a nonexclusive, nontransferable, irrevocable, royalty-free license to use it.
  3. Multiple Submissions: A Maker may submit more than one Submission, however, each Submission must be unique and substantially different from the others, as determined by the Administrator.

5. Submission rights

A. Maker Rights

Subject to the licenses described below, any applicable intellectual property rights to a Submission will remain with the Maker.

B. Administrator Rights

By entering the Challenge, you grant to the Administrator, and any other third parties acting on its behalf, a royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide perpetual license to display publicly and use for promotional purposes the Submission, in perpetuity. This license includes, but is not limited to, posting or linking to the Submission on Administrator’s, and partners’ websites and applications, and display and promotion of the Submission in any other media, worldwide.

C. Submission Display

The following Submission components may be displayed to the public: name, description, images, video URL, website URL, team members (username only), the Submission category and platform, and submitter type. Other Submission materials may be viewed by the Administrator and Judges for screening and evaluation. Makers represent and warrant that the Administrator and Challenge partners are free to use Makers’ Submission in the manner described above, as provided or as modified by Administrator, without obtaining permission or license from any third party and without any compensation to Makers.

6. Judging criteria

A. Criteria

Eligible Submissions will be evaluated by an expert panel of judges from relevant scientific, informatics and technology domains selected by the Administrator (the “Judges”), and scored using the following equally weighted criteria (the “Judging Criteria”):

  1. Openness and repeatability: Are the constituent elements of the submission, like code and content, freely available and transparent? Are they appropriately licensed?
  2. Applicability: Does the submission have sufficient relevance and scope that the communities GBIF support can use or build it?
  3. Novelty: Has a significant portion of the submission been developed specifically for the challenge? Submissions based largely or entirely on previously published work are not deemed to be eligible entries.

Jury members will score entries based on four categories:

  • Innovation
  • Impact
  • Quality of the system
  • Overall quality of the submission

B. Submission Review

Judges are not required to test the Application and may choose to judge based solely on the text description and video or screenshots provided in the Submission.

C. Tie Breaker

If two or more Submissions are tied, the tied Submission with the highest score in the first applicable criterion listed above will be considered the higher scoring Submission. In the event any ties remain, this process will be repeated, as needed, by comparing the tied Submissions’ scores on the next applicable criterion. If two or more Submissions are tied on all applicable criteria, the panel of Judges will vote on the tied Submissions.

7. Prizes

The 2021 Challenge will award up to €25,000 for submissions whose features, tools and techniques advance open science and improve the access, utility or quality of GBIF-mediated data.

The Judges will provide the Administrator with recommendations on the final number of winners and size of prizes, subject to the Administrator’s final determination.

8. Verification of potential winners

A. Verification Requirement


B. Required Forms

Potential winners will be notified using the email address associated with the Submission (the submitter is the “Representative” in the case of a team or Organization). In order to receive a Prize, the potential winner (including all participating team members in the case of a team or Organization) will be required to sign and return to the Administrator, declaration(s) of eligibility (or a similar verification document) and liability/publicity release(s), and any applicable tax forms (“Required Forms”).

Deadline for returning required forms: ten (10) business days after the Required Forms are sent.

C. Disqualification

The Administrator may deem a potential winner (or participating team members) ineligible to win if:

  1. The potential winner’s Representative or any participating member does not respond to multiple emails or fails to sign and return the Required Forms by the deadline listed above, or responds and rejects the Prize
  2. The Prize or Prize notification is returned as undeliverable
  3. The Submission or the potential winner, or any member of a potential winner’s team or Organization, is ineligible for any other reason

In the event of a disqualification, the Administrator may award the applicable Prize to an alternate potential winner.

9. Prize distribution

A. Substitutions & Changes

The Administrator has the right to make a Prize substitution of equivalent or greater value. The Administrator will not award a Prize if there are no eligible Submissions entered in the Challenge, or if there are no eligible Makers or Submissions for a specific Prize.

B. Prize Delivery

A monetary Prize will be mailed to the winning Maker’s address (if an individual) or the Representative’s address (if a team or Organization) after receipt of the Required Forms. Prizes will be payable to the Maker, if an individual, to the Maker’s Representative, if a team, or to the Organization, if the Maker is an Organization. It will be the responsibility of the winning Maker’s Representative to allocate the Prize among their team’s members, as the Representative deems appropriate.

C. Prize Delivery Timeframe

Within 45 days of the Administrator’s receipt of the Required Form

D. Taxes

Winners (and in the case of team or Organization, all participating members) are responsible for reporting and paying all applicable taxes in their jurisdiction of residence (federal, state/provincial/territorial and local). Winners are also responsible for complying with foreign exchange and banking regulations in their respective jurisdictions and reporting the receipt of the Prize to relevant government departments/agencies, if necessary.

10. Entry conditions and release

By entering the Challenge, you (and, if you are entering on behalf of a team or Organization, each participating members) agree(s) to the following:

  1. The relationship between you, the Maker, and the Administrator is not a confidential, fiduciary, or other special relationship.
  2. You will be bound by and comply with these Official Rules and the decisions of the Administrator and/or the Challenge Judges which are binding and final in all matters relating to the Challenge.
  3. You release, indemnify, defend and hold harmless the Administrator, Promotion Entities, and their respective parent, subsidiary, and affiliated companies, the Prize suppliers and any other organizations responsible for sponsoring, fulfilling, administering, advertising or promoting the Challenge, and all of their respective past and present officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives (hereafter the “Released Parties”) from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liabilities (including reasonable attorneys’ fees), including but not limited to negligence and damages of any kind to persons and property, defamation, slander, libel, violation of right of publicity, infringement of trademark, copyright or other intellectual property rights, property damage, or death or personal injury arising out of or relating to a Maker’s entry, creation of Submission or entry of a Submission, participation in the Challenge, acceptance or use or misuse of the Prize (including any travel or activity related thereto) and/or the broadcast, transmission, performance, exploitation or use of the Submission as authorized or licensed by these Official Rules.

11. Waiver of liability

Without limiting the foregoing, the Released Parties shall have no liability in connection with:

  1. Any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by the Administrator’s electronic or printing error, or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Challenge;
  2. Technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines, internet connectivity or electronic transmission errors, or network hardware or software or failure of the Challenge Website;
  3. Unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Challenge;
  4. Technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Challenge or the processing of Submissions; or
  5. Any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from the Maker’s participation in the Challenge or receipt or use or misuse of any Prize.

The Released Parties are not responsible for incomplete, late, misdirected, damaged, lost, illegible, or incomprehensible Submissions or for address or email address changes of the Makers. Proof of sending or submitting will not be deemed to be proof of receipt by the Administrator. If for any reason any Maker’s Submission is determined to have not been received or been erroneously deleted, late, lost, or otherwise destroyed or corrupted, the Maker’s sole remedy is to request the opportunity to resubmit its Submission. Such request must be made promptly after the Maker knows or should have known there was a problem, and will be determined at the sole discretion of the Administrator.

By entering, all Makers (including, in the case of a team or Organization, all participating members) agree to be bound by the Official Rules and hereby release the Released Parties from any and all liability in connection with the Prizes or Maker’s participation in the Challenge. Provided, however, that any liability limitation regarding gross negligence or intentional acts, or events of death or body injury shall not be applicable in jurisdictions where such limitation is not legal.

12. Publicity

By participating in the Challenge you consent to the use of personal information about you, if you are a winner, by the Administrator, and third parties acting on their behalf. Such personal information includes, but is not limited to, your name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions, comments and hometown and country of residence. It may be used in any existing or newly created media, worldwide without further payment or consideration or right of review, unless prohibited by law. Authorized use includes advertising and promotional purposes. This consent applies, as applicable, to all members a Maker’s team or Organization that participated in the winning Submission.

13. General conditions

  1. The Administrator reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Challenge, or any part of it, in the event of a technical failure, fraud, or any other factor or event that was not anticipated or is not within their control.
  2. The Administrator reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual or Maker it finds to be actually or presenting the appearance of tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Challenge or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or in a manner that is inappropriate, unsportsmanlike, not in the best interests of this Challenge, or a violation of any applicable law or regulation.
  3. Any attempt by any person to undermine the proper conduct of the Challenge may be a violation of criminal and civil law. Should Administrator suspect that such an attempt has been made or is threatened, they reserve the right to take appropriate action including but not limited to requiring a Maker to cooperate with an investigation and referral to criminal and civil law enforcement authorities.
  4. If there is any discrepancy or inconsistency between the terms and conditions of the Official Rules and disclosures or other statements contained in any Challenge materials, including but not limited to the Challenge Submission form, Challenge Website, advertising (including but not limited to television, print, radio or online ads), the terms and conditions of the Official Rules shall prevail.
  5. The terms and conditions of the Official Rules are subject to change at any time, including the rights or obligations of the Maker and the Administrator. The Administrator will post the terms and conditions of the amended Official Rules on the Challenge Website. To the fullest extent permitted by law, any amendment will become effective at the time specified in the posting of the amended Official Rules or, if no time is specified, the time of posting.
  6. If at any time prior to the deadline, a Maker or prospective Maker believes that any Official Rule is or may be unclear or ambiguous, they must submit a written request for clarification.
  7. The Administrator’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. Should any provision of these Official Rules be or become illegal or unenforceable in any jurisdiction whose laws or regulations may apply to a Maker, such illegality or unenforceability shall leave the remainder of these Official Rules, including the Rule affected, to the fullest extent permitted by law, unaffected and valid. The illegal or unenforceable provision shall be replaced by a valid and enforceable provision that comes closest and best reflects the Administrator’s intention in a legal and enforceable manner with respect to the invalid or unenforceable provision.
  8. Excluding Submissions, all intellectual property related to this Challenge, including but not limited to copyrighted material, trademarks, trade-names, logos, designs, promotional materials, web pages, source codes, drawings, illustrations, slogans and representations are owned or used under license by the Administrator.

14. Settlement of disputes

Without prejudice to the foregoing, any dispute or disagreement arising from the interpretation or execution of the Challenge shall be settled by arbitration as follows:

  1. Both parties will first endeavor to settle any difference amicably by direct dealings;
  2. If no agreement is reached within sixty (60) days, the matter will be submitted for arbitration to the chair of the GBIF Governing Board.

15. Additional terms

Please review the Administrator’s full terms of use at for additional rules that may apply to your participation in the Challenge. These terms, including the privacy policy, data user agreement and data publisher agreement, are incorporated by reference into these Official Rules. If there is a conflict between the Terms of Service and these Official Rules, the latter terms shall control with respect to this Challenge only.

Participation in the Challenge constitutes Maker’s full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules. By entering, a Maker agrees that all decisions related to the Challenge that are made pursuant to these Official Rules are final and binding, and that all such decisions are at the sole discretion of the Administrator.

The Administrator collects personal information from you when you enter the Challenge. The Administrator will not share any personal information with third parties except as described above or as is required to administer the Challenge.

16. Challenge results

Challenge winners will be posted on the Administrator’s website in September 2021.

17. Contact

If you have any questions or comment, or wish to send us any notice regarding this Challenge, please email us at