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Research Data Management: Referencing Data/Data Sets

Research Data Management (RDM) Library guide

Important notes

  • This guidance for referencing data (data sets / raw data) is especially relevant for / applicable to PhD researchers, Post-Doctorate researchers and Academics who are analysing large data sets and writing for publication.

Referencing in list at the end of your work

Example 1:

Citing this example in the main text of your work:

e.g. Having analysed data produced Institute for Social and Economic Research and NatCen Social Research (2014)...

Referencing in list at the end of your work (See 'Elements of the data citation' section below for an explanation of each detail):

Organisation/Surname/Family name, Initials., Year. Title [medium type e.g. online dataset]. Edition or version (if applicable). Physical location/Place of publication (if available): Publisher/Producer/Distributor (if available). Available from: online retrieval location e.g. DOI URL (if applicable) [Accessed date] (if applicable).

e.g. University of Essex Institute for Social and Economic Research and NatCen Social Research, 2014. Understanding society: waves 1-4, 2009-2013 [online data file]. 6th edition. Colchester: UK Data Service. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.5255/UKDA-SN-6614-6 [Accessed 20 June 2017].


Example 2:

Citing in the main text of your work:

e.g. Evidence of Roman occupation was discovered on a hill just north of Yate Court (Jones 1978).

Referencing in list at the end of your work:

e.g. Jones, P., 1978. Parish Survey Yate [online dataset]. Yate: South Gloucestershire Council.  Available from: http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archsearch/record.jsf?titleId=85435 [Accessed 20 June 2017].


Example 3:

Citing in the main text of your work:

e.g. Data of adult Chinook salmon in the Stanislaus River, California were compared with adult Severn salmon data (Sturrock et al. 2015).

Referencing in list at the end of your work:

e.g. Sturrock, A.M., Wikert, J.D., Heyne, T., Mesick, C., Hubbard, A.E., Hinkelman, T.M., Weber, P.K., Whitman, G.E., Glessner and J.J., Johnson, R.C., 2015. Otolith Sr isotope values for Chinook salmon spawning in the Stanislaus River [online dataset]. PLoS ONE 10(5). Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0122380 [20 June 2017].

Elements of the data citation

Elements amended from: Ball, A. and Duke, M., 2015. Elements of a data citation [online]. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre. Available from: http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/how-guides/cite-datasets#sec:elements [Accessed 20 June 2017].


  • Author (Organisation/Surname/Family name, Initials): Creator of the data/dataset
  • Year: Publication date
  • Title: What name is the dataset called, or what is the name of the study?
  • Medium type: What type of file is the dataset? e.g. Excel file, database etc.
  • Edition or version (if applicable): Is there a version or edition number associated with the dataset? Indicator showing a level or stage of processing; showing how unique or refined the dataset is.
  • Physical location (if available) / Place of publication: Which entity is responsible for producing and/or distributing the dataset? Is there a physical location associated with the publisher?
  • Publisher/Producer/Distributor (if available):

* Publisher/Producer: In some cases, the publisher of a dataset is different than how we think of the publisher of a book. The producer is the organisation that sponsored the author’s research and/or the organisation that made the creation of the dataset possible, such as codifying and digitising the data.

* Distributor: The distributor is the organisation that makes the dataset available for use / retrievable via download.

  • Available from (if applicable): Online retrieval location. What web address is the dataset available at?  Is there a persistent identifier available?  If a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) or other persistent identifier is associated with the dataset it should be used in place of the URL.
  • Accessed date (if applicable): If it is information online, what date did you access it?

Acknowledgements

The following sources were researched and considered to create this guidance:

Ball, A. and Duke, M., 2015. How to cite datasets and link to publications [online]. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre. Available from: http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/how-guides [Accessed 20 June 2017].

Ball, A. and Duke, M., 2015. Elements of a data citation [online]. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre. Available from: http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/how-guides/cite-datasets#sec:elements [Accessed 20 June 2017].

DataCite, 2016. Cite your data [online]. Hanover: German National Library of Science and Technology. Available from: https://www.datacite.org/services/cite-your-data.html [Accessed 20 June 2017].

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 2016. Citing a public dataset [online]. London: London: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Available from: https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/research/researchdataman/cite/citation_publicdata.html [Accessed 1 June 2016]. Update to this reference June 2017 - source content has been moved to LSHTM's Intranet: https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/research/research-publications-research-data.

Michigan State University, 2016. How to cite data: general info [online]. Michigan: Michigan State University. Available from: http://libguides.lib.msu.edu/citedata [Accessed 20 June 2017].

UK Data Service, 2016. Citing data [online]. Essex: UK Data Service. Available from: https://www.ukdataservice.ac.uk/use-data/citing-data [Accessed 20 June 2017].

Citation ring

University of Bristol, 2015. Citation ring [online]. Bristol: University of Bristol. Available from: https://data.bris.ac.uk/files/2015/01/citationring.png [Accessed 20 June 2017].