How Research Data are Cited or Referenced in a Publication

In principle, research data are cited like text publications. In order to keep them retrievable in the long term, it’s important that the data have a persistent identifier (PID). This means they can be uniquely and permanently identified, independent of the storage location. Similarly to bibliographic details, citation practices vary according to discipline and publication format.

The following applies when referencing a dataset in your publication: Many journals already require a data (availability) statement, and normally specify where and how these should be integrated. Many publishers offer templates on their websites for this. If a data statement is not prescribed by a journal, we recommend incorporating the data availability declaration in the methods section. If data on which the publication is based are released via a repository, the dataset should be cited in a similar way as with a text publication.

You can find examples for citing research data at DataCite – Cite your Data and in the guide of the Digital Curation Centre “How to Cite Datasets and Link to Publications


You can find out how to cite research data correctly (German) at “Auffinden. Zitieren. Dokumentieren” Dokumentierten. – Forschungsdaten in Sozial- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften”, [“Find. Cite. Document – research data in social sciences and economics”], an information service offered in German language by the ZBW, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences and the RatSWD.