Large research initiatives such as the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) or the Seismic HAzard haRmonization in Europe (SHARE) projects concentrate a great collaborative effort on defining a global standard for seismic hazard estimations. In this context, there is an increasing need for identifying ground‐motion prediction equations (GMPEs) that can be applied at both global and regional scale. With increasing amounts of strong‐motion records that are now available worldwide, observational data can provide a valuable resource to tackle this question. Using the global dataset of Allen and Wald (2009), we evaluate the ability of 11 GMPEs to predict ground‐motion in different active shallow crustal regions worldwide. Adopting the approach of Scherbaum et al. (2009), we rank these GMPEs according to their likelihood of having generated the data. In particular, we estimate how strongly data support or reject the models with respect to the state of noninformativeness defined by a uniform weighting. Such rankings derived from this particular global dataset enable us to explore the potential of GMPEs to predict ground motions in their host region and also in other regions depending on the magnitude and distance considered. In the ranking process, we particularly focus on the influence of the distribution of the testing dataset compared with the GMPE’s native dataset. One of the results of this study is that some nonindigenous models present a high degree of consistency with the data from a target region. Two models in particular demonstrated a strong power of geographically wide applicability in different geographic regions with respect to the testing dataset: the models of Akkar and Bommer (2010) and Chiou et al. (2010).