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Data Management Services

Data Citation Guide

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 counts 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, Digital Object Identifier) 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.

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Data Citation Format Examples

Click on the "guidelines" links for detailed information and instructions for each style.

DataCite (guidelines)

Barclay, Janet Rice (2013) Stream Discharge from Harford, NY. Cornell University Library's eCommons @ Cornell. http://hdl.handle.net/1813/34425

Solar Maximum Mission Coronagraph/Polarimeter project team and NASA. (1997) Solar Mission Maximum Mass Coronal Ejection Image 26 Oct 1986 [DOY 299]. High Altitude Observatory. http://mlso.hao.ucar.edu/smm/smmcp_events/1986oct26.html

Malekjani, Shokoufeh (2012) Microstructural response of nanocrystalline Al to cyclic loading. Deacon Research Online. http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30045928

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. doi:10.5061/dryad.2jj36325

Figshare (guidelines)

17,170 Base Pair Alignment of Thirteen Time-Extended Lineages (data: (complete) mtDNA; format: ClustalW). Tommy Rodriguez. Figshare. http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.815894 Retrieved 00:14, Oct 07, 2013 (GMT)

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

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Related Information

CODATA Data Citation Standards and Practices Task Group. CODATA. http://www.codata.info/taskgroups/TGdatacitation/. A description of CODATA's efforts toward data citation standards and practices.

Data Citation. Australian National Data Service (ANDS). http://www.ands.org.au/cite-data/index.html. Clear guidance from the Australian National Data Service. 

Get Recognition: Data Citation. The DataVerse Network. http://best-practices.dataverse.org/data-citation/.

Provide a citation and document provenance for your dataset. DataONEhttp://www.dataone.org/best-practices/provide-citation-and-document-provenance-your-dataset. Part of DataONE's Best Practices for managing data.

The Ethics of Data Sharing and Reuse in Biology. Duke, Clifford S. and John H. Porter. BioScience 63(6):483-489. 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/bio.2013.63.6.10. A thoughtful treatment of citation and co-authorship issues with respect to data reuse.

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For more information, contact the Digital Commons Team at (912) 478-4056 or digitalcommons@georgiasouthern.edu. A member of the Digital Commons Team will contact you as soon as possible during regular business hours.

Portions of this guide are adapted from the Cornell University Research Data Management Services Group website under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.