Skip to main content

Citing and publishing research data

Citing data improves research integrity, research impact, collaboration, acknowledgement, and reward. Data citation is an emerging direction in scholarly communications.

Elements of Data Citation

Similar to articles and books, citations for data or statistical tables should try to capture at least the following elements. These are considered the minimum elements required for dataset identification and retrieval. Be sure to include as many elements as needed to precisely identify the dataset you have used.

  • Author or creator - name(s) of each individual or organizational entity responsible for the creation of the dataset
  • Date of publication - the year the dataset was published, posted or otherwise released to the public 
  • Title or description - complete title of the dataset or if no title exists, you must create a brief description of the data, including time period covered in the data as well as edition or version number, if applicable
  • Publisher and/or distributor  - organizational entity that makes the dataset available by archiving, producing, publishing, and/or distributing the dataset
  • Electronic Location or Identifier - Web address or unique, persistent, global identifier used to locate the dataset (such as a DOI). Append the date retrieved if the title and locator are not specific to the exact instance of the data you used.

Certain styles may also ask for additional information such as:

  • Date accessed online (Note: APA does not require this)
  • Format description e.g. data file, database, CD-ROM, computer software

More Scholarly Articles about Data Citation

McGill LibraryQuestions? Ask us!
Privacy notice