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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.

Enabling and encouraging others to cite your original data

When publishing your data, it is helpful to provide a suggested citation as part of the metadata record, There is no fixed data citation format as it varies between disciplines and is still evolving. Examples of how data can be cited are provided in some of the other sections of this guide.

Publishing data and assigning the attribution is an increasingly recognize research output . Publishing data helps make it discoverable by others, increases the visibility of the research and the researcher, may open up new opportunities for collaboration and will help you demonstrate the impact of your research.

Publishing your data will help will allow you to:

  • raise your researcher profile

  • add citable references to your bios and CV

  • increase your citation rates because you have helped others to find and accurately cite your research data

  • fulfill funder requirements which stipulate publishing research outputs

  • track the reach, impact and reuse of your research outputs using tools such as altmetrics, (For more information about metrics see the guide on Impact Measurements), and other products such as such as Thomson Reuters Data Citation Index (not available via the McGill library)

In order to make your data citable you first need to publish the data, or at very least, a publish a description of the data.

Publishing data will involve the following steps:

  • ensuring that you have the right to publish the data by considering issues such as contractual arrangements, copyright and ethics
  • making decisions about the licensing conditions the data will be  released and reused
  • preparing the data for publication by considering issues such as data cleansing and file formats that will be used 
  • securely storing he data to enable ongoing management and access
  • assigning a DOI to the data
  • providing appropriate metadata to describe the data including citation information
  • publishing the metadata including the DOI.

Once you have published your data, you and others can cite it in publications.

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