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How to Cite Data: Home

Subject guide for citing Social Science data

Citing Data?

Data requires citations for the same reasons journal articles and other types of publications require citations: to acknowledge the original author/producer and to help other researchers find the resource.

Unfortunately, standards for the citation of data are not uniformly agreed upon and have yet to be codified by the National Information Standards Organization (an organization that sets technical standards for other bibliographic materials)

About this Guide

This guide provides guidance on how to construct a citation for data.  Doing so is important to acknowledge the work of others if the data is not your own, but even if it is your own to enable others to find (and perhaps re-use) your data.

Because few citation style guides offer guidance on how to cite data, this set of reccommendations should not be taken as the final word on styles.  If you have a question, check with your faculty advisor or the journal in which you hope to publish.

Pages in this guide:

  • Key Components - find an explanation of why citing your data is important and the key elements that should be included in your citation
  • Numeric Data - citing numeric data sets is a little different than citing geospatial ones.  See here examples specific to numeric data.
  • Geospatial Data - See here examples specific to geospatial data.
  • Additional Resources - Find citation guides for specific sources, and related tools for making your data more share-able and find-able.

IASSIST Quick Guide to Data Citation

This brief guide from the International Association for Social Sciences Information Services & Technology (IASSIST) gives a brief overview of the key components of a data citation. Find out more about data citation from IASSIST here and here.

ICPSR Data Citations

  • ICPSR Data Citations
    A nice overview of data citation from the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Data Management page.

Additional LibGuides

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Sheila Devaney
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