Citing Data

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For more information or for assistance, please contact Data Services at datalib@uark.edu.

 

Data Services Librarian

Lora Lennertz's picture
Lora Lennertz
Contact:
University of Arkansas Libraries

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365 N. McIlRoy Ave
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Subjects:Copyright, Data

Why cite data?

We cite journal articles and other types of publications in order to both acknowledge the original author(s)  and to help other researchers find a resource we have used. For the same reasons, data should be cited as well.

Unfortunately, standards for the citation of data are not uniformly agreed upon.  However, data providers and distributors and some style manuals do provide guidelines. 

Be sure to follow the general citation format for the style manual you are required to use. If your style manual does not address citations of data, use the basic format (such as for a book or website) and add the elements listed below.  It is always better to provide more information about a resource rather than less!

 

Citation elements to consider for data

  • Author - Who is the creator of the data set?  This can be an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization.
  • Title - What is the name of the dataset, or of the study? 
  • Edition or Version
  • Date -  What year was the data set published?
  • Publisher and Publisher Location - What entity is responsible for producing and/or distributing the data set?  Also, is there a physical location associated with the publisher?
  • Distributor - What organization makes the data set available for downloading and use? You may need to distinguish the producer and the distributor in a citation by adding explanatory brackets, e.g., [producer] and [distributor].
  • Electronic Retrieval Location  At what web address is the data set available?  Is there a persistent identifier available?  If a DOI or other persistent identifier is associated with the data set it should be used in place of the URL.
  • Material type - Data may be available as a data file; however, there are often additional materials such as codebooks that you may use. Indicate the item type within brackets, e.g.,  [codebook].

Examples - APA

APA (6th edition)

See : 7.08 Data Sets, Software, Measuring Instruments, and Apparatus

National Center for Juvenile Justice and Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts. (2005).  Arkansas Juvenile Court Records, 1994 (ICPSR version) [data file]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor]. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06883.v1

Examples - Chicago Manual of Style

Chicago (16th edition)

Chapter Contents / Scientific Databases / Electronic Supplements to Journal Articles

See: 14.257: Citing data from a scientific database

In the sciences especially, it has become customary to cite data from a database by listing, at a minimum, the name of the database, a descriptive phrase or record locator (such as a data marker or accession number) indicating the part of the database being cited or explaining the nature of the reference, an access date, and a URL. In bibliographies, list under the name of the database. See also 14.6–18.

1. NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (object name IRAS F00400+4059; accessed April 6, 2016), http://ned.ipac.caltech.edu/.

2. GenBank (for RP11-322N14 BAC [accession number AC087526.3]; accessed April 6, 2016), http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nuccore/19683167.

  • GenBank (for RP11-322N14 BAC [accession number AC087526.3]; accessed April 6, 2016). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nuccore/19683167.
  • NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (object name IRAS F00400+4059; accessed April 6, 2016). http://ned.ipac.caltech.edu/.

See: 14.187: Supplementary data for a journal article

Bibliography style (based on documentation for books):

National Center for Juvenile Justice and Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts.  Arkansas Juvenile Court Records, 1994.  ICPSR version.  Distributed by Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, 2005-11-04 . https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06883.v1

Author-Date style:

National Center for Juvenile Justice and Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts. 2005.  Arkansas Juvenile Court Records, 1994.  ICPSR version. Distributed bt Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06883.v1

Examples - MLA

MLA (7th edition)

MLA has not authored specific guidelines for citing data.  Adapt a general guideline for a web document may be applied. Remember the role of a citation and err on the side of too much information.

Basic form:

Author Last Name, First Name. Title of data set. (Version). Publisher location: Publisher name, Date of publication. Medium of publication. Date accessed. doi/url of data

Example:

National Center for Juvenile Justice and Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts. Arkansas Juvenile Court Records, 1994. ( ICPSR version). Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2005-11-04.   Web. 01 Aug 2019. https//doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06883.v1

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