Citing Data

Citing data is important in order to:

  • Give the data producer appropriate credit
  • Supports the scholarly record for research
  • Allow easier access to the data for re-purposing or re-use
  • Enable readers to verify your results

Primary Elements to Include in all Data Citations

  • Creator: Author(s) of the dataset
  • Title: Name of the dataset
  • Publisher (or Distributor): Repository name
  • Publication year: The date when the dataset was published or released (rather than the collection or coverage date)
  • Version: If you have multiple versions of a specific dataset, or an updated set
  • Persistent Identifier (Unique Identifier): This is often a DOI, but can also be an URN or Handle System.


  • Dataset: OECD (2008), “Social Expenditures aggregates”, OECD Social Expenditure Statistics (database). doi: 10.1787/000530172303 (Accessed on 2008-12-02).
  • Dataset package: Sidlauskas B (2007) Data from: Testing for unequal rates of morphological diversification in the absence of a detailed phylogeny: a case study From characiform fishes. Dryad Digital Repository. doi:10.5061/dryad.20
  • Table from a publication:
    Smith, J. (2008), Figure 1.2. Broadband Penetration in OECD Countries, in OECD Communications Outlook 2008, OECD Publishing doi: 10.1787/000530172303
  • Dataset from a publication: Irino, T; Tada, R (2009): Chemical and mineral compositions of sediments from ODP Site 127‐797. Geological Institute, University of Tokyo. 
  • Updated Dataset:
    Cavalieri, D., C. Parkinson, P. Gloersen, and H. J. Zwally. 1996, updated 2006. Sea ice concentrations from Nimbus-7 SMMR and DMSP SSM/I passive microwave data, March 2002–Sept. 2003. Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and Ice Data Center. url: (Accessed on 2008-05-14).
  • Survey Dataset: Barnes, Samuel H. Italian Mass Election Survey, 1968. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1992-02-16. 

Guidelines on Citing Data