Community review opens for updated guide to publishing occurrence data from impact assessments

6 December deadline for stakeholder comment and feedback on joint GBIF-IAIA publication

Whale shark (Rhincodon typus), Australia. Photo 2009 Erik Schlogl via iNaturalist Research-grade Observations, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

GBIF and the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) invite community review and feedback from practitioners, consultants and other experts on their updated joint publication, Best Practices for Publishing Biodiversity Data from Environmental Impact Assessments.

Offering a thorough revision to the same groups' 2011 publication, the guide aims to help practitioners, consultants and others improve the curation, archiving and management of primary biodiversity data captured during environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and enviromental and social impact assessments (ESIAs).

The data gathered through baseline assessments and biodiversity monitoring is one of the most expensive and time-consuming elements of the impact assessment process, and it plays a crucial role in understanding current and future impacts of proposed development activities. But despite its value, not just to the project but also to science and society, such data has rarely been shared beyond a given project and thus fails to yield returns on its substantial investments of time and money.

This updated guide shows how those involved in EIAs can make more effective use of available resources to share the most detailed data possible through the GBIF network. By doing so, practitioners, consultants and other professionals can also increase knowledge and understanding about species distributions and provide baseline data for future assessment.

The updated publication both supports and responds to wider interest from the private sector as reflected in initiatives like the Equator Principles and Western Australia's Index of Biodiversity Surveys for Assessments.

Community members interested in participating as peer reviewers are encouraged to review the contributor guidelines and then provide their suggestions for improvements on the documents via GitHub by the deadline of 6 December 2020.

In addition to input on the documents, feedback on the community peer review process and the digital documentation programme (including suggestions on topics we should consider covering) are always welcomed at

Those interested in staying informed on the release of future documents for review should subscribe to GBIF's 'digital documentation' mailing list. GBIF will also post announcements to its Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

How do I participate in the community peer review?

Community members interested in contributing to this peer-review process can read the overview of the digital documentation programme to place their efforts in context, then review the specific instructions and expectations on how to offer suggestions and improvements.

To lend your voice and participate as a reviewer, we ask community members to:

  1. Create a GitHub account (view video how-to).
  2. Read the document, Best Practices for Publishing Biodiversity Data from Environmental Impact Assessments
  3. Create and comment on issues on the best practices GitHub repository (watch video how-to)
  4. Start, follow and support discussions that arise on the GBIF Community Forum

Please remember that all interactions within this process must adhere to the GBIF Code of Conduct, which aims to encourage a "safe, hospitable, and productive environment" that is "professional, respectful and harassment-free for all participating."