Data Citations

Why cite data? Giving appropriate attribution to research data sources allows for easier access to research data on the Internet, increased acceptance of research data as legitimate, citable contributions to the scholarly record, and to support data archiving that will permit results to be verified and re-purposed for future study. View more on DataCite.

Also, several journals and publishers are recognizing the need to cite data in articles. Here is a list of journals that have open data polices.

On this page:

Elements of an effective citation
Citation Examples
Data Citation Tools

Elements of an Effective Citation

  1. Responsible Party (examples: study PI, sample collector, government agency)
  2. Name of Table/Map/dataset with any applicable unique IDs
  3. Name of Database/Publication/Repository
  4. edition/year/volume/vintage/version
  5. analysis software
  6. Date accessed
  7. URL of the table
  8. parameters selected


Citation Examples

Tables, charts, graphs, maps, or figures appearing in a publication
United States Bureau of the Census. "Table 151. Retail Prescription Drug Sales: 1995 to 2007." Statistical Abstract of the United States.Year: 2009. http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/tables/09s0151.pdf. Accessed: 11/4/09.

Interactive Database with static URLs
United States Bureau of the Census. "P3. RACE [71] - Universe: Total Population." Dataset: Summary File 1. American FactFinder. Year: 2000. http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=01000US&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U&-_lang=en&-mt_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_P003&-format=&-CONTEXT=dt. Accessed: 11/04/09.

Interactive Database without static URLs
Bureau of Economic Analysis. "Per Capita real GDP by state (chained 2000 dollars)." Dataset: Gross Domestic Product by State. Parameters: all industry total, 2008, all states and regions. Regional Economic Accounts. Date Generated: 11/04/09.

American Chemical Society's Style for Printed Data Sets
Rind, D. 1994. General Circulation Model Output Data Set. IGBP PAGES/World Data Center for Paleoclimatology Data Contribution Series #1994-012. NOAA/NCDC Paleoclimatology Program, Boulder, Colorado, USA.

See References - American Chemical Society for more detail.

Geoscience Information Society's Style for Data Sets
Defosse, G.E., and M. Bertiller. 1998. NPP Grassland: Media Luna, Argentina, 1981-1983. Data set. Available on-line [http://www.daac.ornl.gov/] from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A.

See GSIS Task Force on Geoscience Data - Citation Styles for more detail.

Data Citation Tools

DataCite Tool

Use DataCite to mint DOIs for your data. Also search across the metadata directory of research data sets to find and reuse data.