Disparity between GBIF and iNat

While casually browsing GBIF, I noticed that the number listed for Research Grade Occurrences from iNat on GBIF is vastly lower than the actual number of research grade observations. In fact, GBIF is 21 million observations short, or, said differently, GBIF appears to be not counting more than a quarter of all iNaturalist RG Obs.

Now, I may be just looking at the wrong places, but I am still just curious as to why this is.

Sources of Confusion:


One source of the disparity is that iNaturalist only makes available to GBIF the RG observations that have sufficiently permissive observation copyright licenses. The iNat default is CC-BY-NC, but some users choose more restrictive licenses.


I’ve been struck by this issue for my own Observations. Originally I had set permissions that prevented sharing with GBIF. But about a month ago I’ve changed that to allowing sharing, and checked the box that applied the sharing to past Observations. Still, as of today, many of my RG Observations are not appearing in GBIF. This is resulting in, as one instance, a state research project that draws on GBIF data not including some of my Observations and therefore having somewhat unreliable data for its reports.

1 Like

just checking, did you change the licensing for just your photos, or also the observations themselves?

1 Like

You know, I didn’t recall so I went and looked at my settings for both (and sound) and they’re the same.

I see some older observations on GBIF, like https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/148839388.

What’s the URL of the observation?

@tiwane @thebeachcomber With apologies, I take back my comment. I just reviewed a batch of my Observations that were previously not shared with GBIF (as of a couple weeks ago) and they do now show as shared. Probably some of the permissions changes I recently made made the difference. Thanks for pushing me to investigate further. And thanks to all iNat staff and support folks for making iNaturalist such a great and productive platform.


This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.