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Data Management: Citing Data

Citing Data

Citing Data

With many researchers now sharing and reusing data, there is a growing need to cite data as a scholarly output in the same way that traditional print outputs such as books, journal articles and conference papers are acknowledged - by including a bibliographic reference to acknowledge the original data creator/s.


For further information you can read:

Short term benefits and long term value for making datasets citable (Alex Ball & Monica Duke, UKOLN, University of Bath) Available online:

Data Citation for researchers (Australian National Data Service) Available online:

Ball, A. & Duke, M. (2015). ‘How to Cite Datasets and Link to Publications’. DCC How-to Guides. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre. Available online:

Standards for Data Citation

Standards for data citation vary across disciplines. Some data repositories and  archives provide formats for citing data as part of the metadata record for the dataset.

The DataCite Consortium provides a recommended minimum format for citing data:

Required elements

  • Creator
  • PublicationYear
  • Title
  • Publisher
  • ResourceType
  • Identifier

Optional elements

  • Version

DataCite format examples of a data citation :

Creator (PublicationYear): Title. Publisher. (resourceTypeGeneral). Identifier

Creator (PublicationYear): Title. Version. Publisher. (resourceTypeGeneral). Identifier

Citation Tips

Tips for Citing Data

  • If you are a student, check with your lecturer if your style manual/guide does not provide any advice
  • Consider using the minimum format for citing data from DataCite
  • Carefully check through supporting documentation supplied with the data as a preferred citation may be included.
  • Refer to the data in the methods section and include the citation to the data in the references section. Be guided by the format specified within your discipline, by the data publisher or the journal you are publishing within.

Tips for Getting Cited

  • Share your data. Other researchers can cite data that has been shared or used.
  • Make it easy for people to cite you. Include a preferred citation for people to use if you publish or deposit your data.
  • If you are applying a license or determining rights for sharing or re-use of your data, you can specify attribution to the original data creator.

Referencing Styles and Data

To cite data in APA 7th referencing style:

In-Text Citation

  • (Creator/s, A. A., Year)

(Paris et al., 2015)


Reference List

  • Creator/s, A. A., (Year). Title of dataset (Version number) [Format]. Publisher. Identifier

Paris, T., Kim, J., & Davis, C. (2015). EEG responses to two contexts of AV speech presentation [Data set]. Western Sydney University.

Data Citation Formatting Examples

Research Data Australia

Heathcote, A. (2006) Examining the origins of the word frequency effect in episodic recognition memory and its relationship to the word frequency effect in lexical memory. University of Newcastle, Australia.

PANGAEA - Earth & Environmental Science Data Library

Jahnke, A et al. (2007): Polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) in high-volume air samples collected during Polarstern expedition ANT-XXIII/1. doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.610160

Australian Social Science Data Archive

Dobson, A. J., et al. Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health, 2003: Food Frequency Questionnaire. [Computer file]. Canberra: Australian Social Science Data Archive, The Australian National University, 2005.


Barnes RSK, Ellwood MDF (2011) Data from: Macrobenthic assemblage structure in a cool-temperate intertidal dwarf-eelgrass bed in comparison to those in lower latitudes. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society doi:10.5061/dryad.v8gg2

SEER (Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results), National Cancer Institute (US)

Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program Populations (1969-2009) (, National Cancer Institute, DCCPS, Surveillance Research Program, Cancer Statistics Branch, released January 2011.

Data Citation Tools

Bibliographic Management Software


The EndNote software (Thomson Reuters) includes a template for reference type 'dataset' for versions X4 and above.

Other bibliographic management software may support creating custom templates for datasets. Consult your style manual or guide for advice, or use one of the DataCite standards.


Further Reading

Altman, M. & Florence, D. (2007) A Proposed Standard for the Scholarly Citation of Quantitative Data. D-Lib Magazine, 13(3-4). doi:10.1045/march2007-altman

Ball, A. & Duke, M. (2011) Data Citation and Linking. Data Seal of Approval.

Birney, E., Hudson, T. J., Green, E. D., Gunter, C., Eddy, S., Rogers, J., et al. (2009). Prepublication data sharing. Nature, 461(7261), 168-70. doi:10.1038/461168a

CODATA (The Committee on Data for Science and Technology) (2010). Data Citation Standards and Practices.

Constable, H., Guralnick, R., Wieczorek, J., Spencer, C., & Peterson, a T. (2010). VertNet: A new model for biodiversity data sharing. PLoS biology, 8(2), e1000309. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000309.

Green, T. (2009) We need publishing standards for datasets and data tables. OECD Publishing White Paper, OECD Publishing. doi:10.1787/603233448430

Mons, B., Haagen, H. van, Chichester, C., Hoen, P.-B. ’T, Dunnen, J. T. den, Ommen, G. van, et al. (2011). The value of data. Nature genetics,
43(4), 281-3. Nature Publishing Group. doi: 10.1038/ng0411-281.

Moore, A. J., McPeek, M. a, Rausher, M. D., Rieseberg, L., & Whitlock, M. C. (2010). The need for archiving data in evolutionary biology. Journal of
evolutionary biology, 23(4), 659-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.01937.x.

Page, R. D. M. (2010). Enhanced display of scientific articles using extended metadata. Web Semantics: Science, Services and Agents on the World
Wide Web, 8(2-3), 190-195. doi: 10.1016/j.websem.2010.03.004.

Piwowar HA, Day RS, Fridsma DB (2007) Sharing Detailed Research Data Is Associated with Increased Citation Rate. PLoS ONE 2(3): e308. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000308

Sieber, J. & Trumbo, B. (1995). (Not) giving credit where credit is due: Citation of data sets. Science and Engineering Ethics, 1(1), 11–20. doi:10.1007/BF02628694

Tenopir, C., Allard, S., Douglass, K., Aydinoglu, A. U., Wu, L., Read, E., et al. (2011). Data Sharing by Scientists: Practices and Perceptions. (C.
Neylon, Ed.)PLoS ONE, 6(6), e21101. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021101.

Wellcome Trust. (2003). Sharing Data from Large-scale Biological Research Projects: A System of Tripartite Responsibility.

Whitlock, M. C., McPeek, M. a, Rausher, M. D., Rieseberg, L., & Moore, A. J.(2010). Data archiving. The American naturalist, 175(2), 145-6.

Whitlock, M. C. (2010). Data archiving in ecology and evolution: best practices, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 26(2), 61-65.