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Research Data Management: Data Citation

Information for researchers on data management.

Data citation

Proper citation of data sources has both immediate and long term benefits to users and producers of data. For data producers, citation provides proper attribution and credit. Consistently cited data sets create a bibliographic "trail" much like citation metrics that are associated more traditionally with journal articles. This tracking allows data producers to demonstrate the impact of their work and helps to establish research data as an important contribution to the scholarly record. For users, citation makes it easier to find datasets, encouraging the reuse of data for new research questions.

Components of a data citation

Citing data is very similar to citing publications; there are many "correct" formats to use, but we suggest including the following important information:

  • creator(s) or contributor(s)
  • date of publication
  • title of dataset
  • publisher
  • identifier (e.g. Handle, ARK, DOI) or URL of source
  • version, when appropriate
  • date accessed, when appropriate

The order of the information is not as important as having sufficient information to find the data set(s) used. Consider the style guidelines of the research domain or lab group, data source, or preferred publisher (see "Related information" below).

Data publishers may provide a suggested citation that can include additional information such as resource type, retrieval date, and funder or sponsor information. Some repositories will also request citation of related publication(s) along with the data. Follow the most appropriate format while meeting the requirements of the data suppliers.

Data citation format examples

DataCite  |   Guidelines

Barclay, Janet Rice (2013) Stream Discharge from Harford, NY. Cornell University Library's eCommons @ Cornell.

Malekjani, Shokoufeh (2012) Microstructural response of nanocrystalline Al to cyclic loading. Deacon Research Online.

DRYAD  |  Guidelines

Yannic G, Pellissier L, Dubey S, Vega R, Basset P, Mazzotti S, Pecchioli E, Vernesi C, Hauffe HC, Searle JB, Hausser J (2012) Data from: Multiple refugia and barriers explain the phylogeography of the Valais shrew, Sorex antinorii (Mammalia: Soricomorpha). Dryad Digital Repository. 

ICPSR  |  Guidelines

Jacob, Philip, and Henry Teune. International Studies of Values in Politics, 1966. ICPSR07006-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1978. doi:10.3886/ICPSR07006.v1

Figshare  |   Guidelines

Rodriguez, Tommy (2013): 17,170 Base Pair Alignment of Thirteen Time-Extended Lineages [data: (complete) mtDNA; format: ClustalW]. figshare. Retrieved: 16 26, Jan 04, 2016 (GMT)

Related Information

Data Services Librarian

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Jim Kelly
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