Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)

Free and Open Access to Biodiversity Data

GBIF is an international open data infrastructure, funded by governments. It allows anyone, anywhere to access data about all types of life on Earth, shared across national boundaries via the internet.

By encouraging and helping institutions to publish data according to common standards, GBIF enables research not possible before, and informs better decisions to conserve and sustainably use the biological resources of the planet.

GBIF operates through a network of nodes, coordinating the biodiversity information facilities of Participant countries and organization, collaborating with each other and the Secretariat to share skills, experiences and technical capacity.


Developed by: 

GBIF arose from a recommendation in 1999 by the Biodiversity Informatics Subgroup of the Megascience Forum, set up by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). That recommendation was endorsed by OECD science ministers and in 2001, GBIF was officially established through Memorandum of Understanding between participating governments.

Web services: 

The GBIF community offers several free to use, open-source tools and services to publish and access GBIF-compliant biodiversity data and metadata.

  • GBIF Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT): A tool to publish standardized biodiversity data
  • GBIF APIs: a set of webservices to access data and metadata from GBIF
  • rgbif: an R package to search and access data from GBIF using these webservices
  • GBIF species API: a webservice to match and lookup scientific names in the GBIF backbone taxonomy
  • GBIF tools: a collection of other GBIF tools