Datasets are increasingly being recognized as valuable, legitimate, standalone products of research that contribute to scholarly discourse. Indeed, in a revised version of its Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide, the NSF made the following change:
“Instructions for preparation of the Biographical Sketch have been revised to rename the "Publications" section to "Products" and amend terminology and instructions accordingly. This change makes clear that products may include, but are not limited to, publications, data sets, software, patents, and copyrights.” (emphasis added)
Properly cited published manuscripts are clearly identified and easily located within their respective publication. In the same way, proper identification of datasets facilitates access, sharing, and reuse by making them unique and discoverable. While there is not yet consensus on a single method to cite or reference a dataset, discipline-agnostic standards and common practices are emerging. The information below is excerpted from the DataCite standard, the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Interagency Data Stewardship Committee wiki, and “How to Cite Datasets and Link to Publications” from the UK’s Digital Curation Centre (Ball & Duke, 2012; see also the PDF version). Please see these resources for a more comprehensive understanding of the scope and complexity of issues surrounding data citation.
A data citation should include, at the very least, the following elements:
Here is an example:
“Tenopir C, Allard S, Douglass K, Aydinoglu AU, Wu L, Read E, Manoff M, Frame M (2011) Data from: Data sharing by scientists: practices and perceptions. Dryad Digital Repository. doi:10.5061/dryad.6t94p. Accessed 18 April 2013."
from the article: “Tenopir C, Allard S, Douglass K, Aydinoglu AU, Wu L, Read E, Manoff M, Frame M (2011) Data sharing by scientists: practices and perceptions. PLoS ONE 6(6): e21101. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021101”
If you need to use a specific citation style (e.g. APA, Chicago, etc.), enter your DOI (e.g. '10.1234/1234567') at this site to format the citation for your dataset.
There are many more facets to data citation than we can reasonably cover here. We encourage you to visit the two linked references above. By way of closing, here is a summary of considerations quoted from Ball and Duke (2012, DCC):
See also: data sharing | data repositories