How to Cite Research Data

Research Data Management

Best Practices

Citing Data

When writing a paper or doing a presentation, it is important to cite not only the literature consulted but also the data files used, even if they are data files that you have produced. Citing data allows easier access to datasets, increases acceptance and use of data and incorporates it into the scholarly record, provides verification of research, encourages future study, and gives the data producer appropriate credit.

Citation Elements

To be most effective, a data citation should include at least the following elements. The utility of these elements will depend on the research discipline, source data center/repository, and data format.

  1. Responsible party (i.e., study PI, sample collector, government agency)
  2. Name of table, map, or dataset with any applicable unique IDs
  3. Name of data center, repository, and/or publication
  4. Analysis software, if required
  5. Date accessed
  6. URL and/or DOI/DOI link or other persistent link

Data Citation Guidelines and Examples

Style guides/manuals typically do not include data as a resource type. However, some journals, data centers/repositories and societies may provide more specific guidance on how to cite data.

Dryad provides an extensive list of standards and proposals for data citation.

Here are some other guides and examples:

Data Citation Tools

Unfortunately, most bibliographic management software programs do not provide templates for citing data sets. However, they can be used to store citations to data sets.

Maintained by: Brian Westra, bwestra@uoregon.edu