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How to Cite a Data Set

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Subject area/Theme

Data and Architecture

Short summary of Best Practice:

We must recognize the intellectual effort data providers invest in collecting and preparing data sets. Proper recognition may also act as an incentive for more open and timely data sharing.

Explain why is there a need for this Best Practice?

By encouraging proper citation of data sets, data providers and publishers receive appropriate credit for their efforts, the perception of data management as a discipline improves, and it is easier to track the use and impact of the data. In scientific publication, merely acknowledging the data set in the text or in the acknowledgments section is insufficient.

Provide an example application(s):

  1. The International Polar Year Data and Information Service (IPYDIS) developed guidelines that can help data users develop appropriate citations for data used in their publications, and can help data managers recommend appropriate citation of their holdings.  See
  2. The National Snow and Ice Data Center develops suggested citations for each data set in their archive.  See for example

How widely deployed is this practice(if applicable)


Owner (Originator) Contact Information:

Mark Parsons
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0449 USA
phone: +1 303-492-6199
fax: +1 303.492.2468

Submitter Contact Information:

See above 

Detailed Description of Best Practice



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