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Research Data Services


Cite Data

Why Cite Data?

Citing your data sources will allow researchers to easily locate research data for repurposing and ensures that the original producers of the data are credited in citation indexes.

Style Manuals @ BC

DOI Link Resolvers

DOI's are Digital Object Identifiers which provide unique links to articles and data.

Developing a Citation

Citations for data sets are not yet standardized, however, a data set citation should include at least the following pieces of information, which will be arranged depending on the style you use:

  • author or creator
  • title or description
  • year of publication
  • publisher and/or the database/archive from which it was retrieved
  • the URL or DOI if the data set is online

Certain styles may also ask for additional information such as:

  • edition or version
  • date accessed online

One of the most commonly used citation formats is the American Psychological Associaton (APA) Style. When citing research data with APA, add a description of the type of resource in brackets after the title. For example:

Schonfeld, R.C., and Housewright, R. (2011). Ithaka S+R Faculty Survey 2009: Key Strategic Insights for Libraries, Publishers, and Societies (ICPSR version) [Data file]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. doi:10.3886/ICPSR30001.

You will notice that this example contains all of the information listed above except for the date accessed online, which is not required for APA. For data sets without a title, APA recommends that you use a short description of the content of the resource in brackets in place of the title.

Examples of additional styles used in the sciences.
Examples of styles used in disciplines other than the sciences.

International Organization for Standardization

When in doubt, you can refer to the ISO standard for citation of electronic documents, which recommends the following required elements in the following order:

  • Primary responsibility (Required)
  • Title (Required)
  • Type of medium (Required)
  • Edition (Required)
  • Place of publication (Required)
  • Publisher (Required)
  • Date of publication (Required)
  • Date of update/revision (Required)
  • Date of citation (Required for online documents; Optional for others)
  • Availability and access (Required for online documents; Optional for others)
  • Standard number (Required)

Unknown elements may be omitted.