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Research Data Management: Data Citation

Data Citation

Attribution and credit for research outputs also applies to research data. Data citation provides the information necessary to locate, attribute and access the research data, also enabling it to verified or reused.

Benefits of data citation

  • Facilitates a link from publications to underlying data
  • Ensures recognition of scholarly effort
  • Increases transparency of research
  • Enables the measurement of  impact
  • Facilitates access to and re-use of data

A Persistent Identifier should be included in the citation:

  • ORCID (for people) 
  • DOI (Digital Object Identifier) unique, alphanumeric string assigned by a registration agency to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location. DOIs may be assigned to any item of intellectual property that is defined by structured metadata
  • ARK (Archival Resource Key) an URL designed to support long-term access to information objects. An ARK can refer to digital, physical, or intangible objects or living beings and groups

ADVICE: Use the Library's DOI service to obtain a DOI for a dataset. 

A dataset citation should include where applicable:

  • Author/Principal Investigator/Data Creator
  • Publication date/Release Date, for a completed dataset
  • Title of Data Source – formal title of the dataset
  • Version/Edition Number – the version of the dataset used in the study
  • Format of the Data – physical format of the data
  • Publisher
  • Resource type
  • Persistent Identifier - such as a DOI
  • Location or Identifier – a persistent URL where the dataset may be accessed e.g.,  Digital Object Identifiers (DOI), Handles, Archival Resource Key (ARK), etc.
  • Access Date and Time – when data is accessed online
  • Subset of Data Used – description based on organization of the larger dataset
  • Editor or Contributor – reference to a person who compiled data, or performed value-added functions
  • Publication Place – city and state and country of the distributor of the data
  • Data within a Larger Work – refers to the use of data in a compilation or a data supplement (such as published in a peer-reviewed paper)

See also guidelines provided by the Data Curation Centre

Learn more about...

Data citation principles

  • FORCE 11  a community of scholars, librarians, archivists, publishers and research funders that has arisen organically to help facilitate the change toward improved knowledge creation and sharing

Software citation principles

  • Smith AM, Katz DS, Nieme KE, FORCE11 Software Citation Working Group.(2016) Software citation principles. PeerJ Computer Science 2:e86 

Measuring the impact of your research data

  •  Alex Ball, Monica Duke (2015). ‘How to Track the Impact of Research Data with Metrics’. DCC How-to Guides. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre. Available online:

How to find datasets

  • Web of Science includes the Data Citation Index to research data from repositories across disciplines and around the world. You can access it from the Library catalogue. It indexes data and provides links to repositories where it is stored. Click here for short tutorial on the Data Citation Index

  • ​Scopus searches include simultaneous searches for relevant research data and the search results page includes dataset results. Read more about this feature on the Scopus blog.