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Research Data Management: Citation

Data Citation

What is data citation?
A method of providing a standard reference for datasets.  Correlates to the referencing method used for articles, books or other published resources.

Why should you care about data citation?
Data citation allows for discoverability and reuse of research data.  It also allows for attribution and tracking of use to better measure the impact of a dataset which in turn promotes better science.
What should I include in a data citation?
There are no uniformly agreed upon standards set for data citation.  While the appearance of the citation may vary by guideline source, best practices for data elements include:
  • Responsible party (author, study PI, government agency)
  • Title with unique identifers
  • Year of dataset publication or release
  • Data center/repository publisher
  • DOI or applicable identifier
  • URL of other location/access information for data
  • Date accessed

 What format should I use to cite data of others?
Some data producers and distributors provide guidelines for data citation as well as some style manuals. Your departmental librarian may be able to provide guidance on the data style guideline for your discipline.

How can I track citations for my data?
There are no high quality free data citation sources currently available. Some non-commercial tools available include:

Google Scholar - you can search for citations by entering the DOI in the search box. Beward that the times cited reported by Google Scholar may not be accurate.
ImpactStory - this site uses various tools to track your publications, including data sets and using alternative metrics.

Thomson Reuters offers a commercial product called the Data Citation Index. Due to high subscription costs, the UW does not currently subscribe.

I am a researcher. How can I get a persistent identifier for my data?
DOIs can be obtained through EZID to help you control and manage the distribution of your research.

Can I get an identifier for myself as a researcher?
ORCID is a nonprofit organization providing unique identifiers to researchers to connect them with their research.

What does a data citation look like?

Basic fields to include: author/s, title of dataset or use "Data from" and title of article or publication, year of dataset publication, distributor/repository, and permanent identifier.

Judith Kelley; National Science Foundation. Data on International Election Monitoring: Three Global Datasets on Election Quality, Election Events and International Election Observation.  ICPSR31461.v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2011.
Payne JL, Boyer AG, Brown JH, Finnegan S, Kowaleski M, Krause Jr RA, Lyons SK, McClain CR, McShea DW, Novack-Gottshall PM, Smith FA, Stempien JA, Wang SC (2008) Data from: Two-phase increase in the maximum size of life over 3.5 billion years reflects biological innovation and environmental opportunity. Dryad Digital Repository.
Denhard, Michael (2009): dphase_mpeps: MicroPEPS LAF-Ensemble run by DWD for the MAP D-PHASE project. World Data Center for Climate.

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