About data citation
Providing a citation for a scientific dataset is beneficial to both the original data collector and those that wish to reuse the data in the future. Data citation is relatively new (compared to the citation of scientific publications) and best practice is evolving but there are a number of groups that have created excellent guidance to follow. The following web links provide this guidance and have been picked to suit different levels of interest and expertise:
- Basic: A briefing paper created by the UK Digital Curation Centre suitable for anyone wanting a general overview of data citation
- Intermediate: A working guide on how to cite datasets created by the UK Digital Curation Centre suitable for both researchers and data managers
- Advanced: A data citation working group under the Research Data Alliance that is suitable for those who want to be involved in the development of data citation best practice
In most cases the process of creating a dataset citation results in the publication of the dataset even if this is only through a local repository. This doesn’t in itself prove that the data are either good quality or, perhaps more importantly, useful to the scientific community. Scientific publications address this through the process of peer review and it is becoming more common for datasets to be reviewed in a similar way. Data journals now exist for many scientific disciplines while many traditional publishers are introducing submission policies specifically for data. A comprehensive list of data journals can be found in a blog posting by Sarah Callaghan at the British Atmospheric Data Centre while anyone wishing to follow current developments in data publication should follow the activities of the Research Data Alliance Publishing Data Interest Group.