Call for author proposals for new and updated GBIF technical guides (closed)

Deadline for authors’ submissions to prepare documentation on each of four priority topics:
13 September 2021

Northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) with radio telemetry device affixed to its head, San Mateo County, California, United States. Photo 2020 ungerlord via iNaturalist Research-grade Observations, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

The GBIF Secretariat seeks proposals from qualified experts or teams of experts to prepare new or updated documentation on the following topics. The chosen subjects for this documentation are based on priorities detailed in the 2021 Work Programme as well as recommendations from the Documentation Steering Panel.

  • Updated guide to collection digitization
    Build on more than a decade's worth of experience across the scientific collections community since publication of the 2008 publication
  • Updated guide to publishing camera-trap data
    Provide a fresh look at current approaches, extending 2014 publication and other more recent sources
  • NEW! guide to prioritized data mobilization based on data gaps and biases
    Intended as practical companion guide to 2016 publication; see also GBIF Data Blog posts on gaps
  • NEW! guide to publishing species migration/telemetry data
    Offering approaches and best practices for sharing tracking data for individual organisms

Individual authors or teams of authors may submit proposals. Writing should begin in 2021 with first drafts completed within six months. The GBIF Secretariat will release completed guides for community review. Authors should be prepared to address this feedback and prepare responses and edits prior to the guides’ “first-final” publication.

Candidates should send their proposals to author and prepare individual guides to These proposals must include:

  • Summary of the writing approach
  • Draft outline for the guide
  • Candidate(s)’s knowledge and experience on the topic
  • Project budget
  • CV or similar (two (2) pages maximum), including publications and examples of similar documentation prepared within the past five years

Key details

  • Proposal deadline: 13 September 2021
  • Expected start of contract: third quarter 2021 with first drafts due within six months
  • Contract duration: 12 months from start of contract
  • Contract fees paid in two (2) installments


The GBIF Secretariat will publish the guides as part of its digital-first documentation. This programme aims to provide technical guidance and support training and skills development across GBIF's communities of practice while streamlining processes for updating and maintaining guidance over time.

The systems and the processes used in GBIF's digital documentation programme are intended to be as transparent, open and self-policing as possible. Text and other content are maintained in open GBIF GitHub repositories and published into HTML and PDF formats using an open-source publishing toolchain called AsciiDoctor. Support for translations is integrated via CrowdIn, which provides a free non-commercial licence that steadfastly supports the efforts of GBIF's volunteer translator community.

It is helpful but not required that authors know how to use GitHub or AsciiDoctor prior to writing a guide.

Additional questions about the call for proposals and documentation programme should be emailed to Laura Anne Russell.