Citing data

Credit for datasets

Data are a vital part of the scientific research process and should be properly cited if re-used or referred to in any publication or other output.

Data citation:

  • acknowledges the author's sources
  • makes identifying and finding data easier
  • promotes the reproduction of research results
  • allows the impact of data to be tracked
  • provides a structure which recognises and can reward data creators

A citation should include enough information so that the exact version of the data being cited can be located. Including a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) in the citation provides a permanent link to information about the data, including how to correctly cite and access it.

An example of a recommended citation is

Prudhomme, C.; Dadson, S.; Morris, D.; Williamson, J.; Goodsell, G.; Crooks, S.; Boolee, L.; Davies, H.; Buys, G.; Lafon, T. (2012). Future flows climate data. NERC Environmental Information Data Centre. (Dataset).

DOIs - available through the EIDC

The EIDC, in collaboration with The British Library and DataCite, issues DOIs for the datasets it holds. Once a dataset has been formally deposited into the EIDC, and providing it meets certain criteria (see below), a DOI will be assigned. This DOI can then be included in a citation used to refer to that particular dataset, for example in a research article or data paper. Increasingly DOIs are required as part of the manuscript submission process.

DOIs can be issued for datasets that have been deposited with the EIDC provided they meet the following criteria.

They must be:

  • Stable (i.e. not going to be modified)
  • Complete (i.e. not going to be updated) *
  • Permanent (once ingested, the EIDC will ensure the dataset is available in perpetuity)
  • Good quality (by assigning a DOI, the EIDC are giving the dataset a 'stamp of approval', saying it is complete and all the relevant metadata are available)

* Note that for ongoing data, a "snapshot" from a point in time can be deposited and subsequently cited from a publication.

If you would like a DOI, and have a dataset which you think meets the criteria above, then please contact us for further information.

Further information

How to cite data

NERC Environmental Data Service DOI policy


Citation formatting tool
Different journals and publications may require different citation styles. With the DOI Citation Formatter, you can create more than 500 different citation styles.