GBIF releases two technical documents for community peer review

Spanish-language OpenRefine guide and update on publishing sensitive species data mark milestone for digital documentation initiative

Giant anteater (Myrmecophagia tridactylis, classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Species, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Photo 2017 Cameron Rutt via iNaturalist Research-grade Observations, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

GBIF has released two technical documents for open peer review by its communities of practice:

This paired release marks an important milestone for efforts started last year. Having long supported or produced technical documentation intermittently, GBIF committed in its 2019 work programme to coordinate a more coherent and dynamic approach that commissions subject-matter experts to prepare key guidance materials and engage GBIF communities of practice with oversight by an editorial panel.

The first two documents—colloquially, 'the OpenRefine guide' and 'Sensitive species best practices'—are now open for comment until Wednesday, 5 August 2020. Community members interested in participating as peer reviewers can gain valuable context from the overview of the digital documentation programme. They can then get specific instructions and expectations for offering their suggestions and improvements.

In short, to lend your voice and participate as a reviewer—on either one, both, and/or subsequent consultation periods—we ask community members to:

  1. Create a GitHub account.
  2. Read the documents—in this case, the OpenRefine guide and Sensitive species best practices
  3. If you see something, say something by creating or commenting on issues on GitHub (see video how-to
  4. Follow and support the conversation on the GBIF Community Forum

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 maintained in open GitHub repositories are 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 vibrant volunteer translator community.

We encourage people interested in participating in these or future peer review processes to subscribe to the digital documentation mailing list.

Questions, comments and suggestions about this paired community review process or the digital documentation programme can be directed to