Guide to interest/task group annual reporting


As prescribed in the TDWG Process, conveners of Interest, Maintenance, and Task Groups (I/M/TG) are required to submit an Annual Report to the Executive Committee. An annual report should describe the group's activities and accomplishments during the past year and plans for coming year. This guide provides the annual schedule (ideal), recommendations for content, and a template (as GoogleDoc or Markdown) for I/M/TG annual reports. The purpose and audience of annual reports are described first to explain the context and motivation for reporting. The submission and review procedures give the expected timelines for submission, review and publication. Suggested section headings and content are then explained. A separate document contains the actual template, with basic metadata for the Interest/Task Group and section headings to be completed as appropriate.


The founding document of an I/M/TG is its charter, which tells the TDWG community what the group is about; it describes the purpose, scope of work, members, and the collaboration tools the group uses in pursuit of its objectives. The scope of a charter may be longer than a year. An annual report supplements the charter and enables the community to stay current without requiring the charter to be revised every year. The annual report should tell people what the group has done in the past year and what plans are for the coming year. It should demonstrate that the group is active and help readers determine whether they might want to participate or when to check back for results could be helpful to their own work. Charters and Annual Reports also help the Executive Committee coordinate the goals and activities among Interest, Maintenance, and Task Groups, so it is particularly important to call out any arising issues that could require coordination between groups. Finally, annual reports enable the Executive Committee to fulfill its charge to manage standards development, and in particular to know that a group is active, making progress, and to address any issues that might be impeding progress.


The most important audience of an annual report consists of TDWG members and participants; people who create, manage, and analyze biodiversity information. Report authors should assume that readers are familiar with biodiversity information and the basic principles of information management, but they might not know the current jargon, abbreviations, and acronyms of the most current information technology and projects. Abbreviations should be spelled out at first use, and references (preferably hyperlinks) should be provided to foundational resources.

Procedures and timeline

The convener of the Interest, Maintenance, or Task Group is responsible for submitting an annual report to the TDWG Executive Committee via the Secretary by November 15th. The report may be written by, or in collaboration with, other group members, but should be submitted by the Convener. The report will be reviewed by the Executive Committee within thirty (30) days, and either approved or returned to the convener with requested modifications. Upon approval, the report will be posted on either the group’s primary collaboration site (e.g., its GitHub repository) and linked from its landing page on this website.

In addition to the annual report, an abbreviated oral version should be presented by the convener or a designated representative at the annual meeting. Note, the annual meeting falls before November 15th in many years, the annual report should be submitted a week before the annual meeting begins. If the convener does not attend the annual meeting, a presenter should be designated or the presentation coordinated with the Secretary.