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Google Season of Docs

Google Season of Docs

Google Season of Docs is a global program that brings the open source and technical writer communities together. Since 2019, the INCF network has served as a mentoring organization that pairs technical writers with developers of open source software to work on 3-month technical writing projects. 

Call for mentors to join us in Google Season of Docs 2024
Before the organization applications are due, we are soliciting ideas for projects that are aligned with INCF community activities - please submit your project ideas here latest April 1! (INCF project list from 2019, for for reference)

More information
GSoD 2024 timeline
GSoD 2024 mentor guides

2024 Project Proposal

Streamlining the BIDS Online Presence - Brain Imaging Data Structure

About your project

The Brain Imaging Data Structure (BIDS) is an open global community driving the standardization of neuroscience data across a broad and growing range of modalities and health research disciplines. First released in June 2016, it is supported by a worldwide research network and endorsed by organizations like the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF). A very large community of users, ~29K since April of last year1, use the BIDS specification. More than 300 BIDS contributors currently support and maintain the BIDS community resources to structure and share their data as well, encompassing over 40 domain-specific and modality-specific technical specifications, open software conversion and analytics tools, and global infrastructure for collaborating on emerging standards in neuroscience (see Poldrack, et al, 2024 for more detail). Working through online collaborative tools including GitHub, GitHub Pages, ReadTheDocs, Google Docs, and OSF, in the last decade BIDS online resources have spawned a variety of materials for new users navigating the neuroscience informatics space. As the BIDS community works on the technical aspects of its next release (1.10.0) streamlining the wealth of documentation and resources has come into focus.

While the BIDS main site and BIDS technical specification already see high and growing usage, barriers remain in onboarding new users and facilitating new user contributions to the BIDS community. The BIDS core steering and maintainers groups are also keen to optimize adherence to FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable, Wilkinson, et al, 2016) for best practices and seek to resolve documentation-related aspects of these challenges.

Improvements from this project will not only lower barriers to adoption and satisfy FAIR guiding principles, but they will improve the experience of referencing all BIDS documentation for new and old users alike.

Project Scope

The project scope to streamline the BIDS Online Presence includes:

  • User feedback Add feedback form within the main BIDS website.
  • Impact statement Centralize top-level grant and funding-facing information.
  • Consolidate into one website Bring together the many resources into a comprehensive web portal.
  • Organize docs by function Categorize and add clear summaries to each tutorial, how-to guide, explanation, and reference document to make them all more findable.
  • Restructure main website Implement a more friendly main website structure and improve navigation.
  • Focus on user-based utility Refine personas and user stories through continued user-feedback and user-testing, which will also guide future work.

Work that is out-of-scope for this project: general communications planning, technical specification work generally, extensive development of documentation specific to BIDS apps or software suites.

Measuring your project's success

BIDS will be seeking community feedback throughout the program duration, in particular in addressing challenges discovered by documented user experience at the outset of the program. Key targets will also be defined via the BIDS Community Survey which will provide consultative input in late spring 2024.

The project mentors and writer will together be looking for key aspects of improvement, including accessibility and findability of community resources and navigability for new community members learning about BIDS for the first time. BIDS project mentors will aim to seek both qualitative and quantitative user feedback as these efforts build momentum into a sustainable practice after the project.




April Get familiar with the current BIDS docs and community ecosystem by:
  • Reviewing best tech writing practices on “Write the Docs” and the “Google Tech Writer Overview” sites for these styles of documentation writing.
  • Auditing existing documentation, creating a friction log relevant to new user on-boarding experience and existing user workflows and docs contribution. 
May Focus on first priority improvements and begin updating online resources.
June Circulate documentation updates within the community and continue with site navigation re-organizations.
July Incorporate feedback from the BIDS community and circulate the site navigation re-organizations for engagement and feedback.
August Incorporate navigation feedback and continue with improvements. 
September Engage user community for advanced feedback on improved navigation and resources.  Integrate feedback and continue priority resource improvements.
October Establish a sustainable process for documentation updates by the BIDS maintainers.
Develop a roadmap of recommendations for future documentation improvements.

Project budget

Budget item


Running total


Technical writer for consolidation of BIDS resources into a comprehensive portal; audit/implementation of features to improve user friendliness of BIDS website (inc implementation of feedback function); and to categorize and add summaries to each tutorial, how to guide, explanation, and reference document to make them more findable and understandable

5000.00 USD

5000.00 USD

per GDocs standard practice

Volunteer Stipends

500.00 USD

1500.00 USD

3 volunteer stipends x 500  USD each



6500.00 USD


Additional Information

About the mentors

  • BIDS co-mentors (Rémi Gau, Eric Earl, and Christine Rogers) have extensive experience with writing and developing documentation for global communities, on-boarding new community contributors, and working with interactive review and development processes. 
  • Both Rémi Gau and Eric Earl have a strong background in working with and on-boarding new contributors, building community, and supporting BIDS online documentation and resources.
  • Christine Rogers has twice mentored successful projects for Google Season of Docs with INCF, and has also co-mentored 7 successful Google Summer of Code projects since 2019.
  • All mentors have the significant technical background necessary to bridge science, technology, and documentation.

1 Number estimated thanks to our Google Analytics user statistics April 1, 2023 to March 27, 2024.