Data user agreement


The goals and principles of making biodiversity data openly and universally available have been defined in paragraph 8 of the GBIF Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The relevant excerpts of the attached Annex shall be construed as an operative part of this Data User Agreement, as well as the Definitions.

GBIF data publishing should take place within a framework of due attribution. Data users are encouraged to notify GBIF regarding data quality and other issues concerning data shared through the network, using the feedback mechanisms provided by GBIF Secretariat.


Using data and services available through the GBIF network therefore requires and implies agreeing with the following:

  • GBIF Secretariat provides a publication framework for biodiversity data, but is neither the owner nor custodian of such data, and therefore is not responsible for the actual content served by Data Publishers.
  • GBIF Secretariat cannot guarantee the quality or completeness of data, nor does it guarantee uninterrupted data access services. Users employ these data and services at their own risk.
  • In order to make attribution of use for owners of the data possible, the identifier of ownership of data must be retained with every data record shared onward for reuse.
  • Users must publicly acknowledge, following the scientific convention of citing sources in conjunction with the use of the data, the Data Publishers whose biodiversity data they have used, where appropriate through use of a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) applying to the dataset (s) and/or data downloads.
  • Users must comply with the terms and conditions included in the licence selected by each Data Publisher, and the licensing information included with each data download. If any provision of this Use Agreement conflicts with the terms and conditions within the licences selected by the Data Publisher, licences selected by the Data Publisher shall prevail.
  • Users must provide accurate and up to date personal data at the time of registration. Failure to do so implies automatic termination of this Agreement.
  • Data use through the available Application Programming Interfaces (API) shall comply with the technical specifications provided in the website of the GBIF Secretariat. In particular, it is forbidden to use APIs to create denial of service, disruption in the service, and in general to interfere with the normal operations of GBIF and the Data Publishers. Offenders may be denied further use of the API at the sole discretion of the GBIF Secretariat, and reported to relevant authorities for prosecution, if applicable.
  • The GBIF website uses cookies of a technical nature for website administrative purposes.
  • Personal information provided by registered users of is governed by the Privacy policy.
  • This Data User Agreement is governed by the laws of Denmark.

Citing data

Users are strongly encouraged to cite data retrieved from the GBIF network according to the recommended citation, as shown on the dataset, occurrence or download page on the platform. 


  • GBIF Secretariat: Legal entity empowered by the GBIF Participants to enter into contracts, execute the Work Programme, and maintain the central services for the GBIF network including software components and updates, interfaces, indexing and registry services, helpdesk and relevant training. 
  • GBIF network: The infrastructure consisting of the central services of the GBIF Secretariat, Participant Nodes and Data Publishers. Making data available through the GBIF network means registering and advertising the pertinent services via the GBIF central services. 
  • Biodiversity data: Primary data on specimens, observations, names, taxonomic concepts, and sites, and other data on biological diversity. 
  • Metadata: Data describing the attributes and combinations of biodiversity data. 
  • Data: Biodiversity data and metadata. 
  • Data publishing: The process of and agreements for making data freely and universally available on the Internet. 
  • Data Publisher: A custodian of data making it technically available. This may or may not be the data owner. If not they will have declared to GBIF that they have permission to make the data available. 
  • User: Anyone who uses the Internet to access data through the GBIF network. 
  • Owner of data: The legal entity possessing the right resulting from the act of creating a digital record. The record may be a product derived from another, possibly non-digital product, which may affect the right. 


Memorandum of Understanding for the Global Biodiversity Information Facility

Paragraph 8 – Intellectual Property

1. Applicable Law

Nothing in this MOU should be read to alter the scope and application of Intellectual Property Rights and benefit sharing agreements as determined under relevant laws, regulations and international agreements of the Participants.

2. Access to Data

To the greatest extent possible, GBIF is an open-access facility. All users whether GBIF Participants or others, should have equal access to data in databases affiliated with or developed by GBIF.

3. Intellectual Property Rights to Biodiversity Data

GBIF promotes the free dissemination of biodiversity data and, in particular:

(a) should not assert any proprietary rights to the data in databases that are developed by other organisations and that subsequently become affiliated to GBIF;

(b) should seek, to the greatest extent possible, to make freely and openly available, with the least possible restrictions on reuse, any data commissioned, created or developed directly by GBIF; and

(c) should respect conditions set by data publishers that affiliate their databases to GBIF.

When establishing affiliations or linkages with other databases, GBIF should seek to ensure that the data so made available will not be subject to limitations on the further non-commercial use and dissemination of those data, apart from due attribution of their source.

4. Attribution

GBIF seeks to ensure that the publisher/holder of data is acknowledged and requests that such attribution be maintained in any subsequent use of the data.

5. Access to Specific Data

Nothing in this MOU should be read to restrict the right of publisher/holder of databases affiliated with GBIF to restrict access to any data.

6. Validity of Data

It should be a condition of access to and use of GBIF accessible data that users acknowledge that the validity of the data in any databases affiliated with GBIF cannot be assured. GBIF disclaims responsibility for the accuracy and reliability of the data as well as for the suitability of its application for any particular purpose.

7. Legitimacy of Data Collection

Where the collection of new data has entailed access to biodiversity resources, GBIF should ask for reasonable assurances from the data publisher/holder that such access was consistent with applicable laws, regulations and any relevant requirements for prior informed consent.

8. Intellectual Property Rights to Biodiversity Tools

GBIF may claim appropriate Intellectual Property Rights available within applicable national jurisdictions over any tools, such as search engines or other software products that are developed by GBIF while carrying out the GBIF Work Programme.

9. Technology Transfer

The Participants acknowledge that, subject to any relevant Intellectual Property Rights, GBIF should seek to promote the non-exclusive transfer, on mutually decided terms, to research institutions, particularly in developing countries, of such informatics technology as it has available, especially in conjunction with training and capacity development programs.