» About GBIF.ES


About GBIF Spain

GBIF.ES is organized as a distributed infrastructure that includes entities from all Spanish regions (research institutes, universities, environmental governments, citizen science initiatives, etc.) along with a Coordination Unit. Through its Biodiversity Data Portal (, GBIF.ES is sharing more than 57 million biodiversity records (as of January 2024), under a common standard that includes quality control procedures, open-access licenses, and mechanisms for giving credit to data sources (DOIs). (You can consulte here the information about the Spanish data providers).

Our main task is to support institutions, centres and projects to ensure their biodiversity information is up-to-date, standardized, and scientifically validated. We coordinate all activities related to the GBIF network in Spain.

Spain is one of the GBIF founder members since the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The Ministry of Science and Technology (now Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities) commissioned the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) to initiate and coordinate the activities of GBIF in Spain (see the Resolution of State Secretary for Scientific and Technological Politics). The CSIC, with support and advice of the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales and the Real Jardín Botánico carried out this task by establishing the Coordination Unit in June 2003, currently located at the CSIC Scientific Information System (C/ Joaquín Costa, 22 – Madrid).

GBIF Spain purposes

The main mission of GBIF.ES is to support Spanish institutions, natural history collections, and relevant biodiversity projects in order to gain their participation in GBIF. We do this by:

  • Supplying them with technical supportinformationtrainingstandardssoftware, and advice.
  • Ensuring coherence between national initiatives and the GBIF information architecture in order to assure interoperability.
  • Analysing how to maximize the data value through the development of data analysis, validation, and visualization tools.
  • Compiling and distributing relevant information to the benefit of collections, as well as to the knowledge of biodiversity and its management.
  • Coordinating the activities of the institutions and international initiatives.

In order to be able to develop the functions described above, GBIF.ES provides a number of services for users.

Global relevance of GBIF.ES

With more than 57 million records of biodiversity published*, Spain is still among the top ten countries mobilizing more data to the GBIF network. More information:

In addition, from the GBIF.ORG statistics published for Spain for 2023 it can be seen that our country is one of the most active countries in biodiversity data usage. Spain ranks 6th worldwide regarding data download requests (13.492) and 8th in web traffic to GBIF.ORG website (154.375 effective visits). In terms of scientific production, Spain ranks 6th, with 130 published articles citing data shared through GBIF.

The high usage of the GBIF platform in our territory is an indicator of the importance of biodiversity research in Spain and the relevance of its management, as well as a reflection of its degree of implementation.

*The difference in the total number of records with the national portal is due to the fact that GBIF International ( includes records uploaded to the eBird app which have been taken in Spain. GBIF Spain (GBIF.ES) does not include these records in its count because they do not necessarily belong to Spanish data providers, which are the institutions making up the GBIF Spain network.

About GBIF

The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is an open-data scientific infrastructure funded by governments worldwide, aimed at providing anyone, anywhere, access to information about the living organisms that inhabit the Earth. Coordinated through an International Secretariat based in Copenhagen, GBIF is structured as a network of countries and international organizations. The GBIF network offers data providers around the world common standards and open-source tools that enable them to share information about where and when a particular species has been found. As of January 2024, the GBIF network comprises 62 countries, 43 organizations, and 2170 data providers (

The fundamental mission of GBIF is to provide access —via the Internet, freely and at no cost— to biodiversity data from around the world to support scientific research, promote biological conservation, and encourage sustainable development.

Context and brief history of GBIF

The initiative began in 1999 under the direction of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) during the scientific meetings of the Mega Science Forum Working Group, where international scientific proposals were discussed that, due to their complexity or scope, required the participation of several countries. The working group’s report concluded that “an international mechanism is needed to make biodiversity data and information accessible worldwide,” arguing that this mechanism could generate many economic and social benefits and enable sustainable development by providing solid scientific evidence. The science ministers of the OECD endorsed the recommendation to create a Global Biodiversity Information Infrastructure, whose members would be countries that, upon joining, would commit to establishing a national node as a gateway to that country’s biodiversity information and to contribute financially to the initiative.

In 2001, GBIF was officially constituted for a ten-year term through a Memorandum of Understanding among the participating governments. In 2002, the GBIF Global Secretariat was set up in Copenhagen. In 2003, the first annual work plan was established, and the initial calls for projects and contracts were made. From 2007, the transition from the initial prototype to the operational system began. In 2010, at the XVII GBIF Governing Board Meeting held in Suwon (South Korea), the future of GBIF was secured with the approval of a new “Memorandum of Understanding” that indefinitely extends the network. Additionally, the GBIF delegations unanimously approved the “Suwon Declaration,” which emphasizes the importance of the network for governments, science, conservation, and sustainability.