The Global Biodiversity Information Facility: enabling a global informatics infrastructure
for biodiversity

Éamonn Ó Tuama,
GBIF Secretariat

Originating through an OECD Global Science Forum recommendation, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), established and funded by countries since 2001, is the world’s largest multilateral initiative for enabling free access to biodiversity data via the Internet to underpin scientific research, conservation and sustainable development. It achieves this by building an informatics platform including supporting tools and web services that enables online publishing and access to biodiversity data for scientific analyses, by catalysing the development of exchange standards, by promoting global participation and building capacity through a network comprised of national, regional and thematic Biodiversity Information Facilities. The GBIF Data Portal ( provides unified access to the network offering a continually expanding set of biodiversity data records – currently over 321 million indexed records from some 8842 datasets from 379 data publishers.
Now entering its third five-year phase, GBIF will address the challenges and opportunities of extending its coverage to include the undiscovered biodiversity largely residing in the microbial world and typically approached through genomic/metagenomic studies. And, building on its position as a long term sustainable network, GBIF will support the global community in meeting the CBD Aichi Targets, complementing other initiatives such as IPBES and GEO BON by ensuring access to sound, standardised, primary biodiversity data at national scales.
In this presentation, we introduce the GBIF informatics architecture and network, and demonstrate the value of open access to primary biodiversity data with examples drawn from, amongst others, climate change, food security, invasive species, traditional medicine plants and disease vector investigations.