How to publish your data through GBIF

Data publishing through GBIF consists of three steps:

  1. Become a registered and endorsed GBIF data publisher
  2. Review the GBIF data publishing manuals and decide your choice of tools
  3. Prepare your data and register them with GBIF

These straightforward steps ensure that the data published through GBIF are interoperable and discoverable; and that publishers are accredited through endorsement, to enable quality control and proper attribution. Get a brief explanation of each step below, along with links to more details and tools.

Register and receive endorsement as a publisher

First, check if your institution is already a publisher, by looking at this page.

If it is, inform the listed contacts and proceed to the next step.

If your institution is not listed, you’ll need to register as a new GBIF data publisher, and for that you need to be endorsed by a Participant node. If you live in an existing GBIF Participant country, that will normally be your national node, whose contact details you can find under the 'Participation' tab on your country page. We recommend that you make contact with your national node before registering, as they will often be able to offer good advice and support.

If your country is not currently a GBIF Participant, there are alternative options for endorsement including through our Participant Organizations.

Once you have identified a suitable Participant node to endorse your institution as a publisher, or if you need advice on where you could get endorsed, please contact the GBIF helpdesk. We will then seek formal endorsement on your behalf, and register you as a publisher. You will need to provide the following information:

  • Name of your institution
  • Name and email address of an administrative contact
  • Name and email address of a technical contact
  • The name of the GBIF Participant node by which the data publisher should be endorsed

Consult manuals and choose tools

GBIF has a suite of manuals to guide users through preparing their data resources for publishing. We currently support metadata, occurrence records and taxonomic checklists as the data types, and we have three document maps that will guide you through the process of publishing. Please refer to the appropriate map linked from the right of this page. 

These manuals will help you to understand the standards and tools we use in GBIF, and find the options that best suit your situation.


Prepare and register data

After deciding the best method, you can start to prepare the data in the standard format.

Once your data are in place, and you have installed the tools you need, the last step is to register your data resource. With the Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT), the registration is automated, while with Darwin Core Archive, TAPIR, BioCASe or other formats/protocols, you will need to provide the URL and send an email to the helpdesk to complete the process.

If you have any questions during the publishing process, please feel free to contact the GBIF Helpdesk.

You should be aware that by publishing data through GBIF, you are agreeing to the terms of the Data Sharing Agreement.


Other publishing options

To ensure that data are credible and that someone has responsibility for data maintenance, currently only institutions are entitled to become data publishers in GBIF. If you are an individual wishing to publish biodiversity data, there are a number of options:

  • You can contact your national GBIF node to see if they can offer or recommend data hosting options;
  • If you want to share species observations, there are a number of citizen science networks that publish data through GBIF. Some of the largest are listed on the right.
  • You may also find a suitable existing GBIF publisher in your own country to host your data. Try browsing the list of Endorsed Publishers under the Participation tab of your country page.

Bear in mind, also, that GBIF has published best practice guides for publishing biodiversity data from particular communities, including data from environmental impact assessments and from local government activities. Links are on the right.

Citizen science networks

Guides to publishing data