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Biomedical research continuously generates large amounts of heterogeneous and multimodal data spread over multiple data sources. These data, if appropriately shared and exploited, could dramatically improve the research practice itself, and ultimately the quality of health care delivered. This paper presents DIstributed Semantic MEDiator (DISMED), an open source semantic mediator that provides a unified view of a federated environment of multiscale biomedical data sources. DISMED is a Web-based software application to query and retrieve information distributed over a set of registered data sources, using semantic technologies. It also offers a user-friendly interface specifically designed to simplify the usage of these technologies by nonexpert users. Although the architecture of the software mediator is generic and domain independent, in the context of this paper, DISMED has been evaluated for managing biomedical environments and facilitating research with respect to the handling of scientific data distributed in multiple heterogeneous data sources. As part of this contribution, a quantitative evaluation framework has been developed. It consist of a benchmarking scenario and the definition of five realistic use-cases. This framework, created entirely with public datasets, has been used to compare the performance of DISMED against other available mediators. It is also available to the scientific community in order to evaluate progress in the domain of semantic mediation, in a systematic and comparable manner. The results show an average improvement in the execution time by DISMED of 55% compared to the second best alternative in four out of the five use-cases of the experimental evaluation.