Skip to Main Content

Citation Guides and Style Manuals

Data Citations

When citing data, include at least the following information:

  • Author(s)
  • Title
  • Year of publication
  • Publisher/distributor
  • URL/identifier (e.g. DOI)

Automatically generated citation for a dataset from ICPSR:

Jain, Tarun. Common tongue: The impact of language on educational outcomes. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-01-13.

Example based on guidelines in Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association [APA Style Manual], 7th edition, section 10.9:

Weiser, S. D. (2023). Covid burnout: California, 2020 (ICPSR 38964; Version V1) [Data set]. ICPSR.

Example from the MLA Handbook Plus for a data set for an article:

Moskowitz, Daniel J. "Local News, Information, and the Nationalization of U.S. Elections." American Political Science Review, vol. 115, no. 1, Feb. 2021, pp. 114-29. Cambridge Core, Moskowitz supplementary material.

Looking for additional guidance on citing data and datasets?  Check out the guides below.

Data Citation Recommendations

What should researchers be aware of when citing a dataset? 

Although the standardization and consistency in research data citation are still evolving, Ball and Duke(2012) from Digital Curation Center have summarized some widely accepted practices in data citation for researchers to use: 

  1. If you have generated/collected data to be used as evidence in an academic publication, you should deposit them with a suitable data archive or repository as soon as you are able. If they do not provide you with a persistent identifier or URL for your data, encourage them to do so.
  2. When citing a dataset in a paper, use the citation style required by the editor/publisher. If no citation style is suggested, take a standard data citation style (e.g. DataCite’s) and adapt it to match the style for textual publications.
  3. Give dataset identifier in the form of a URL wherever possible, unless otherwise directed.
  4. Include data citations alongside those for textual publications. Some reference management packages now include support for datasets, which should make this easier.
  5. Cite datasets at the finest-grained level available that meets your need. If that is not fine enough, provide details of the subset of data you are using at the point in the text where you make the citation.
  6. If a dataset exists in several versions, be sure to cite the exact version you used.
  7. When you publish a paper that cites a dataset, notify the repository that holds the dataset, so it can add a link from that dataset to your paper.

(Adapted from "Alex Ball and Monica Duke, 2012. How to Cite Datasets and Link to Publications. In A Digital Curation Center 'working level' guide. Digital Curation Center".)