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Citation Help: Citing Data

Citation Elements

There are 5 core elements of a dataset citation, with additional elements added as needed. All elements should be arranged according to the citation style you are using (MLA, APA, etc.).

  • Creator(s) – individuals or organizations
  • Title
  • Publication year when the dataset was released (may be different from the Access date)
  • Publisher – the data center, archive, or repository
  • Identifier – a unique public identifier (e.g., an ARK or DOI)

Some additional elements may be needed if you are citing a dynamic/evolving dataset or a subset of a larger dataset:

  • Version of the dataset analyzed in the citing paper
  • Access date when the data was accessed for analysis in the citing paper
  • Subset of the dataset analyzed (e.g., a range of dates or record numbers, a list of variables)
  • Verifier that the dataset or subset accessed by a reader is identical to the one analyzed by the author (e.g., a Checksum)
  • Location of the dataset on the internet, needed if the identifier is not "actionable" (convertible to a web address)

If you are creating a citation for your own data, many data repositories and publishers provide specific instructions for how to cite their data. If no citation information is provided, you can use generally agreed-upon guidelines.

Citing Data Resources

Helpful Resources