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Research Data Management: Citing data

Citing data

In this module we'll explain why and how to cite datasets. Once you've establised a link between your publication and the underlying data anyone reading the publication will be able to find the dataset. Also, anyone looking at your data is able to find your publication.

Referencing your data files in publications based on that data is important for several reasons:

  • Replication - other researchers may want to replicate findings from your research and need information to identify and find the referenced data.

  • Credit - citations appearing in publication references are harvested by key electronic Social Sciences indexes, such as Web of Science, providing credit to the researchers.

  • Measure impact - by tracking citations to data and by determining types and levels of usage, funding agencies (and others) can measure impact.

Watch the video Persistent identifiers and data citation explained (4:51) to learn more about data citation.

How to cite data

So which elements are essential for other people to identify and retrieve your data? Sometimes additional elements may be requested, but be sure to include at least the following items.

  • Author: Name(s) of each individual or organizational entity responsible for the creation of the dataset.

  • Date of Publication: Year the dataset was published or disseminated.

  • Title: Complete title of the dataset, including the edition or version number, if applicable.

  • Publisher and/or Distributor: Organizational entity that makes the dataset available by archiving, producing, publishing, and/or distributing the dataset.

  • Electronic Location or Identifier: Web address or unique, persistent, global identifier used to locate the dataset (such as a DOI). Append the date retrieved if the title and locator are not specific to the exact instance of the data you used.

Example (APA 7th)

Liu, M., Gorgievski, M., Zwaga, J., & Paas, F. (2022). Increasing teaching effectiveness in entrepreneurship education: Course characteristics and student needs differences (Version 1) [Data set]. Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR).

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

A DOI is a digital identifier of an object. It enables an object to be identified and found on the Internet. The metadata of the object are stored together with the DOI and includes information about where the object is located on the Internet. If the object is moved to a new location, the metadata can be updated with the new URL of the object. A DOI therefore provides a more long-lasting and reliable reference for finding an online publication than a URL.

Example and anatomy of a DOI

  • the first part - 10.25397 - is a prefix. It always begins with '10'. The second part of the prefix is allocated to the DOI assigner (in this example that's the EUR Data Repository)
  • the second part - eur.20026211.v1 - is the suffix. It's created by the DOI assigner and can be any length.