Introduction to Data Citation


Monica Duke and Alexander Ball


Data is a valuable part of the scholarly record, and is necessary to support the validation, reproducibility and re-use of research, but currently only a small proportion of it is shared. Often this is because, at least in part, researchers do not feel their contributions would be adequately recognised by data  reusers or the community in general, or do not have the know-how to link their data to other scholarly  outputs. This barrier could be removed, though, if data citation were a natural and accepted part of the scholarly communication process. Moves to bring this about are gaining momentum, supported by advances in data management, improvements in data repository infrastructure, the emergence of data journals, and agreements on data citation practices.

This tutorial will provide an overview of latest developments in infrastructures, techniques, and initiatives relevant to data citation, and will present examples, issues and open questions. The tutorial will impart up-to-date information and raise awareness of current discussions. The goal is for participants to gain an understanding of data citation, why it is important, and how to support it. Participants will leave with a good grounding in all aspects of data citation, knowledge of where to find further information and a greater ability to respond to researchers' data citation needs.


The tutorial will examine reasons and requirements for data citation, formats for data citation, and examples and guidance from different disciplines. It will introduce related technologies (like identifiers and vocabularies), and present an overview of relevant infrastructure (such as data repositories) and initiatives including recent international meetings, organisations like DataCite and ORCID, and communities like Beyond Impact. Participants will be encouraged to think about practical implementation issues and how they can support users at their own institutions and organisations. The tutorial aims to cover the basics of data citation, emerging developments like data journals, and topical questions being addressed by the larger community.


All those with responsibility to support researchers with managing their data, e.g. university librarians or other research support staff who may wish to advise on data citation; providers of digital infrastructure (including repository managers and publishers) interested in supporting data citation; anyone looking for an introduction to data citation.

Level of experience for this tutorial is introductory to intermediate. The tutorial assumes some basic understanding of data management principles and scholarly communications, but starts at an introductory level for data citation.

Please bring your own laptop or other device with a web browser to carry out some on-line exercises (if you have one), but please note this is not essential.


By the end of this tutorial participants should:

  •  Gain knowledge of the basic aspects of data citation: formats, disciplinary requirements, linking and identifiers. Be aware of major international initiatives and communities working in the area of data citation.
  • Be able to explain why data citation and linking between data and publications is important.
  • Have acquired an overview of the open questions around data citation and be able to discuss challenges around them.
  • Have developed some ideas on how they can support researchers with implementing data citation.
  • Be able to seek further information on all aspects of data citation.


Monica Duke has participated in several JISC-funded projects in the United Kingdom around the themes of metadata, resource discovery, infrastructure and research data management, including eBank UK and SageCite. She is currently working in the role of Institutional Support Officer for the Digital Curation Centre, supporting Higher Education Institutions in the UK with their data management planning.

Monica works at UKOLN, University of Bath and works from home in the north of the United Kingdom. Alex Ball is also a Research Officer with UKOLN, University of Bath, working in the areas of digital curation, research data management and scientific metadata. He has worked on EPSRC-, ESRC- and JISCfunded projects in the UK including the KIM Grand Challenge Project and the Data Audit Framework Development Project. He is co-chair of the Dublin Core Science and Metadata Community and an Institutional Support Officer with the Digital Curation Centre.  Together, the instructors have published the DCC Briefing Paper on Data Citation and Linking and the How to Cite Datasets and Link to Publications DCC guide.


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