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Cite Data

How do I cite data and enable my data to be cited?


What is data citation?

Data citation treats data in the same fashion as other scholarly outputs, such as books, journal articles and conference papers. It allows datasets to be cited within a publication by including a bibliographic reference to acknowledge the original data creator/s.

Why should I cite the data I use?

With many researchers now sharing and reusing data, there is a growing need to cite data to acknowledge its source(s) and creator(s) and provide a link back from the publication to the data that underpins it.

How do I cite the data I use?

Refer to the data in the methods section and include a citation to the data in the references section. Be guided by the format specified within your discipline, by the data publisher or the journal you are publishing within.

Carefully check through supporting documentation supplied with the data as a preferred citation may be included. Some data repositories and archives provide formats for citing data as part of the metadata record for the dataset. 

If a preferred citation format cannot be found, the DataCite Consortium provides a recommended minimum format for citing data. The required elements are creator, publication year, title, publisher and identifier. The optional elements are version and resource type. Here are some example DataCite-style citations:

  • <Creator> (<PublicationYear>): <Title>. <Publisher>. <Identifier>
  • <Creator> (<PublicationYear>): <Title>. <Version>. <Publisher>. <ResourceType>. <Identifier>

In addition to the above elements, the University of Oregon Libraries provide a recommended format that includes listing the name of the software used to analyse the data.

Why should I make my data citable?

Having your data cited helps to build standing in your area of research in the same way as a track record of publication does. You can encourage the citation of your data by taking the following steps: 

  • Share your data. Other researchers can cite data that has been shared or used.
  • Make it easy for people to cite you. Include a preferred citation for people to use if you publish or deposit your data.
  • If you are applying a licence or determining rights for sharing or re-use of your data, specify attribution to the original data creator.

Where can I find further information about data citation?

ANDS provide an excellent Data Citation Guide.

Ball, A. & Duke, M. Short term benefits and long term value for making datasets citable, UKOLN, University of Bath.

Ball, A. & Duke, M. (2011). How to Cite Datasets and Link to PublicationsDCC How-to Guides. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre.

Attribution: The content on this page is based in part on the University of Newcastle Libguide on Data Management Planning. It is used with permission.