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Ekstrom Library

Data Management

Citing Data Sets

Citing your data source is as important as citing your other sources. Currently, there are not any standards for data citation, and most style guides do not contain guidelines for citing data. Some individual data repositories provide their own guidelines, like the Inter-Consortium for Political Science Research and the Roper Center.

There are numerous short-term benefits for making your data citable, including:

  • Increasing the ease of access to data sets
  • Ensuring that the data producers receive due credit
  • Showing the impact of the data set. Just as researchers are interested in their citation impact factor, it's interesting and useful to see the impact of sharing your data set1

For more on data citation and linking, please refer to the Resources & References box to the left.

Citation Elements

The elements listed here are meant to be recommendations rather than prescriptive. When in doubt, see if the repository from which you obtained the data has its own guidelines.

Basic Citation Elements

  • Authors or Principal Investigators
  • Publication Year
  • Title of the study
  • Publisher (e.g. the university/organizational affiliation of the PIs)

Potential Element

  • DOI or "Digital Object Identifier" - Is there a way to directly link back to the data set? This is akin to the "Retrieved from" portion of many online resources; however, a DOI is a unique and persistent identifier, which helps remedy those broken link issues.

Resources & References

These are some resources/guides for citing data. These are not prescriptive, as there are not yet any standards for data citation.




1 Ball, A., Duke, M. (2012). ‘Data Citation and Linking’. DCC Briefing Papers. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre.