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Citing Data

Why cite data? Keep in mind that citing data helps increase its visibility and acceptance, incorporates it into the scholarly record, gives credit to the creators of the data, provides authentication to your research, and encourages others to do the same.

Data citation formats are still a work in progress. Some data centers and style manuals provide guidelines and examples. If you are following a particular style manual, try to form the citation according to the general rules of that style. It is usually better to provide more information rather than less.

Parts of a General Citation

  1. Responsible party
  2. Title of dataset
  3. Edition or version of dataset, if applicable
  4. Name and location of data center, repository, or publisher
  5. Date data was published
  6. Analysis software, if required
  7. Date accessed
  8. URL, DOI, or other persistent link
  9. Parameters selected, if applicable

APA 6th Edition Data Citation Guidelines


  • Author/Rightsholder. (Year). Title of data set (Version number) [Description of form]. Location: Name of producer.


  • Author/Rightsholder. (Year). Title of data set (Version number) [Description of form]. Retrieved from http://…

Unpublished raw data from study, untitled work

  • Author, F. N. (Year). [Description of study topic]. Unpublished raw data.

American Chemical Society Guidelines

  • Title; Publisher: Place of Publication, Date; Data Entry Number, Figure Titles or other identifying information.

Data Citation Examples

Bachman, Jerald G., Lloyd D. Johnston, and Patrick M. O’Malley. Monitoring the Future: A Continuing Study of American Youth (12th-Grade Survey), 1998 [Computer file]. Conducted by University of Michigan, Survey Research Center. ICPSR02751-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer and distributor], 2006-05-15. Hall, D. K., G. A. Riggs, and V. V. Salomonson (2000), MODIS/Terra Snow Cover 5-Min L2 Swath 500m, Version 4, October 2007 to April 2008,, Natl. Snow and Ice Data Cent., Boulder, Colo. (Updated daily.) Pew Hispanic Center. (2008). 2007 Hispanic Healthcare Survey [Data file and code book]. Retrieved from Smith, J.A. (2006). [Personnel survey]. Unpublished raw data.

Additional Citation Resources