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Research Data Management: Citing Data


General guidelines for citing data

The publisher may have author guidelines on how to cite data. Also, look for examples from previously published papers.  The repository or source of the dataset may have suggested citations.  If there are no recommended data citation models, try using DataCite recommendations for the minimum format for citing data:

Required elements

  • Creator- Creator or author of the data set
  • Publication Year
  • Title- Title of the dataset
  • Publisher
  • Identifier- a unique identifier of the dataset, such as a DOI or a link to the dataset.

Optional elements (as appropriate)

  • Version- If a dataset has more than one version, it is important to put the version you used in the citation.
  • Resource Type

Recommended forms of a data citation are:

Creator (Publication Year): Title. Publisher. Identifier

Creator (Publication Year): Title. Version. Publisher. Resource Type. Identifier

Data Citation: Examples


ASTER Global Digital Elevation Model, version 1, ASTGTM_N11E122_num.tif, ASTGTM_N11E123_num.tif, Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) of Japan and NASA, downloaded from, October 27, 2009

Bachman, Jerald G., Johnston, Lloyd D., and O’Malley, Patrick M. Monitoring the Future: A Continuing Study of American Youth (12th-Grade Survey), 1998. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-05-15. 

Sidlauskas, Brian (2007), Data from: Testing for unequal rates of morphological diversification in the absence of a detailed phylogeny: case study from characiform fishes, Dryad, Dataset,


Tables, charts, graphs, maps or figures appearing in a publication

United States. Bureau of the Census. "Table 6. People with Income below Specified Ratios of their Poverty Thresholds by Selected Characteristics: 2009." Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009  Accessed: 8/16/2011. 


Interactive Database

U.S. Geological Survey.  "Geology of Colorado".  Parameters: Geologic Map, Quaternary Faults, Cities and Towns.  Scale 1"=75 miles.  Dataset: National Atlas of the United States  Accessed August 15, 2011. 


Subject Archive Entry

Genbank accession number, available at:


Digital Object Identifiers (DOI)

DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier and is a unique number used to precisely locate electronic items like webpages, articles, files, etc.  A DOI is persistent, which means it does not "break" the way a URL can when a website is updated.