Global distribution of the digitised specimens in the Museum's collections.

The global distribution of specimens in the Museum's digital records.  © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London.  Map data from Open Street Map. Licensed under CC-BY-SA.

The Museum provides open access to data about the natural world.

Anyone can access data held by the Museum. This includes collection information, images, sounds, videos, research results and 3D scans. Data is held on the Data Portal and in standalone datasets. 

Why are collections data useful?

Humans are impacting biodiversity and radically affecting landscapes through industrialisation, increased consumption of natural resources, pollution and climate change.

Our data is vital in tackling current scientific challenges. The natural history collections at the Museum provide a unique historical perspective on the distribution of biodiversity and geodiversity over the last 200 years.

Using the Data Portal

The Data Portal provides open access to datasets produced by Museum scientists as well as digitised objects from the Museum's specimen collection.

We use Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) to retrieve data, which allows scientists to check and re-use other's data. DOIs also make it easier to track both the usage and impact of research and collections datasets. 

The Data Portal is expanding to include genomic datasets and 3D scans of objects.

Digitising the collections

The Digital Collections Programme is digitising the 80 million items in the collection. 

Biodiversity Trends Explorer

Biodiversity indicators are important tools for understanding, monitoring and communicating biodiversity changes and for tracking our progress towards UN development goals.