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Data Sources & Statistics

Social science data, primarily useful in the context of economics, sociology, public health, climate change, or natural disasters.

Quick Guide to Data Citation (IASSIST)

iassistdata.org

International Association for Social Science
Information Services & Technology

QUICK GUIDE TO

DATA CITATION

identify * retrieve * attribute

CITING DATA

Citing datasets used in published research is just as important as citing journal articles, books, and other sources that contributed to the research.

By citing your use of a dataset, you are supporting the reproducibility of your research and attributing credit to those who provided the data-including datasets that you have created yourself. Citations also allow for tracking reuse and measuring impact.

Instructions for citation styles do not consistently provide examples for dataset citations. This guide will help you determine the citation elements to include. Refer to your author guidelines or style guide to properly arrange and format these citation elements. Many data providers also recommend their preferred citation or supply an example.

Be sure to provide enough information in your citation so that the reader can identify, retrieve, and access the same unique dataset you have used.

ELEMENTS OF DATA CITATION

  • Author: Name(s) of each individual or organizational entity responsible for the creation of the dataset.

  • Date of Publication: Year the dataset was published or disseminated.

  • Title: Complete title of the dataset, including the edition or version number, if applicable.

  • Publisher and/or Distributor: Organizational entity that makes the dataset available by archiving, producing, publishing, and/or distributing the dataset.

  • Electronic Location or Identifier: Web address or unique, persistent, global identifier used to locate the dataset (such as a DOI). Append the date retrieved if the title and locator are not specific to the exact instance of the data you used.

These are the minimum elements required for dataset identification and retrieval. Fewer or additional elements may be requested by author guidelines or style manuals. Be sure to include as many elements as needed to precisely identify the dataset you have used.

FOR EXAMPLE

Arrange these elements following the order and punctuation specified by your style guide. If examples for datasets are not provided, the format for books is generally considered a generic format that can be modified for other source types.

APA (6th edition)

Smith, T.W., Marsden, P.V., & Hout, M. (2011). General social survey, 1972-2010 cumulative file (ICPSR31521-v1) [data file and codebook]. Chicago, IL: National Opinion Research Center [producer]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor]. doi: 10.3886/ICPSR31521.v1

MLA (7th edition)

Smith, Tom W., Peter V. Marsden, and Michael Hout. General Social Survey, 1972-2010 Cumulative File. ICPSR31521-v1. Chicago, IL: National Opinion Research Center [producer]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2011. Web. 23 Jan 2012. doi:10.3886/ICPSR31521.v1

Chicago (16th edition) (author-date)

Smith, Tom W., Peter V. Marsden, and Michael Hout. 2011. General Social Survey, 1972-2010 Cumulative File. ICPSR31521-v1. Chicago, IL: National Opinion Research Center. Distributed by Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. doi:10.3886/ICPSR31521.v1

ABOUT IASSIST

IASSIST is an international organization of professionals working with information technology and data services to support research and teaching in the social sciences.

Its 300 members work in a variety of settings, including data archives, statistical agencies, research centers, libraries, academic institutions, government departments, and non-profit organizations.

If you have questions about citing datasets, consider consulting with your local librarian or writing lab.

International Association for Social Science
Information Services & Technology

Special Interest Group on Data Citation, 2012

This work by IASSIST SIGDC is
licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution 3.0 United Sates.

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