Citing Data

Citing data is important in order to give the data producer appropriate credit, allow easier access to the data for re-purposing or re-use, and to enable readers to verify your results.

How do I cite data?

You should check your publication’s relevant style guide before citing data to see what their rules or recommendations may be. However, citing data is still in its infancy and many publishers and style guides have yet to adopt rules for this type of citation. In the absence of formal standards, there seems to be some consensus that a complete citation should include the following pieces of information:

  • Creator or author
  • Publication year — the date when the dataset was published or released (not the collection or coverage date)
  • Title of the data set
  • Publisher — the data center or repository
  • Any applicable identifier, including edition or version
  • Availability and access — typically in the form of a URL or digital object identifier

Examples:

  • Denhard, Michael (2009): dphase_mpeps: MicroPEPS LAF-Ensemble run by DWD for the MAP D-PHASE project. World Data Center for Climate. http://dx.doi.org/10.1594/WDCC/dphase_mpeps
  • Manoug, J L (1882): Useful data on the rise of the Nile. Alexandria : Printing-Office V Penasson. http://n2t.net/ark:/13960/t44q88124
  • ABC News, and The Washington Post. ABC News/Washington Post Poll, May 2007 [Computer file]. ICPSR24588-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-04-17. doi:10.3886/ICPSR24588

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Content on this page adapted from CDL Data Management Guidelines and University of Virginia Citing Data guide.