Data management best practices

Why cite data?

Giving appropriate attribution to research data improves data discoverability, signals the usefulness and fitness of data, provides citable contributions to the scholarly record, and supports long-term reusability. Many journals and publishers recognize the need to cite data in articles. Here is a list of journals that have open data policies.

Elements of an effective citation

  • Responsible Party (examples: study PI, sample collector, government agency)
  • Name of Table/Map/dataset with any applicable unique IDs
  • Name of Database/Publication/Repository
  • Bibliographic data, such as edition, year, volume, vintage, or version
  • Analysis software
  • Date accessed
  • Persistent URL (such as DOI)
  • Parameters selected

Citation examples

Tables, charts, graphs, maps, or figures appearing in a publication:
United States Bureau of the Census. "Table 151. Retail Prescription Drug Sales: 1995 to 2007." Statistical Abstract of the United States.Year: 2009. Accessed: 11/4/09.

Interactive Database with static URLs:
United States Bureau of the Census. "P3. RACE [71] - Universe: Total Population." Dataset: Summary File 1. American FactFinder. Year: 2000. Accessed: 11/04/09.

Interactive Database without static URLs:
Bureau of Economic Analysis. "Per Capita real GDP by state (chained 2000 dollars)." Dataset: Gross Domestic Product by State. Parameters: all industry total, 2008, all states and regions. Regional Economic Accounts. Date Generated: 11/04/09.

American Chemical Society's Style for Printed Data Sets:
Rind, D. 1994. General Circulation Model Output Data Set. IGBP PAGES/World Data Center for Paleoclimatology Data Contribution Series #1994-012. NOAA/NCDC Paleoclimatology Program, Boulder, Colorado, USA.

See References - American Chemical Society for more detail.

Geoscience Information Society's Style for Data Sets:
Defosse, G.E., and M. Bertiller. 1998. NPP Grassland: Media Luna, Argentina, 1981-1983. Data set. Available on-line [] from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A.M

See GSIS Task Force on Geoscience Data - Citation Styles for more detail.

Last Updated: Jan 7, 2022 12:56 PM