Finnish update adds 22 million occurrence records, surpasses pre-licensing totals

Finland becomes third-largest country publisher for 2017, returns to top ten all-time

Arctoparmelia centrifuga, Kuhmoinen, Finland. Photo by Kari Pihlaviita via iNaturalist research-grade observations, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

FinBIF, the GBIF national node in Finland, has published a major update comprising more than 22 million occurrence records from 10 datasets.

This refresh makes Finland the third-largest publisher of new occurrences in calendar year 2017, behind only the United Kingdom and Sweden, and pushed the total number of records published by Finnish institutions to more than 25 million. The milestone places Finland back among the top ten countries for data mobilization, actually exceeding the total number of Finnish records available prior to the implementation of machine-readable licenses.

As was the case with the United Kingdom, the introduction of standardized Creative Commons licences had a major impact on the amount of occurrence data published by Finnish institutions. For Finland, though, the 18 million occurrence records that were removed—about 85% of the country's mid-2016 total of 21 million—came from fewer than 10 datasets.

All but one of those datasets have now returned, joined by a new one, the largest in this update, the Finnish Bird Ringing and Recovery Database, which contains nearly 11 million records. Another dataset, the Finnish Entomological Database, consolidates what was previously a set of eight smaller, taxonomically distinct datasets and adds more than 750,000 new records.

“We are committed to open distribution of biodiversity data and are happy to be able to boost the Finnish contribution considerably, now that the newly constructed FinBIF is operational,” said Leif Schulman, Director of Luomus: the Finnish Museum of Natural History, who led the push to establish FinBIF.

The update has arrived just as FinBIF and Luomus (its host institution) are preparing to welcome the 24th meeting of the GBIF Governing Board.

“As in other instances, FinBIF’s effort of engaging its national networks of data partners to implement best practices on licensing has yielded big dividends,” said Donald Hobern, Executive Director of the GBIF Secretariat. “It’s pleasing and timely to see Finnish data publishers increasingly adopt an approach that ensures free and open access to biodiversity data.”

In the coming months, FinBIF expects to add several more datasets, which, though smaller individually, will boost the number of Finnish institutions sharing free and open data and contribute a cumulative increase of about another 2 million records. For the longer term, FinBIF’s role in assisting with the ongoing digitization of Finnish natural history collections will steadily expand the number of historical records available.

Datasets in the FinBIF update Number of occurrences
Finnish Bird Ringing and Recovery Database 10,930,328
Finnish Floristic Database (Finnish Museum of Natural History Collections) 4,804,348
Hatikka Observation Database 1,616,778
Finnish Winter Bird Census 1,221,952
Atlas of Finnish Macrolepidoptera 1,088,807
Finnish monitoring scheme of birds and mammals visiting bird feeders during winter 709,018
Finnish Floristic Database (Literature Sources) 690,014
National butterfly monitoring scheme in Finland 284,997
Finnish Floristic Database (Small Collections) 17,362

About FinBIF

Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility (FinBIF) compiles Finnish biodiversity information to a single service for open-access sharing. Its portal,, invites users to browse a wide range of information on species, their occurrences, distribution and scientific collections, and to record and share their own observations.

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