Background Currently primary scientific data, especially that dealing with biodiversity, is neither easily discoverable nor accessible. Amongst several impediments, one is a lack of professional recognition of scientific data publishing efforts. A possible solution is establishment of a ' Data Publishing Framework' which would encourage and recognise investments and efforts by institutions and individuals towards management, and publishing of primary scientific data potentially on a par with recognitions received for scholarly publications. Discussion This paper reviews the state-of-the-art of primary biodiversity data publishing, and conceptualises a 'Data Publishing Framework' that would help incentivise efforts and investments by institutions and individuals in facilitating free and open access to biodiversity data. It further postulates the institutionalisation of a 'Data Usage Index (DUI)', that would attribute due recognition to multiple players in the data collection/creation, management and publishing cycle. Conclusion We believe that institutionalisation of such a 'Data Publishing Framework' that offers socio-cultural, legal, technical, economic and policy environment conducive for data publishing will facilitate expedited discovery and mobilisation of an exponential increase in quantity of 'fit-for-use' primary biodiversity data, much of which is currently invisible.