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This guide is to help students and faculty with finding, sharing, and using data.

Citing Data from Others

Properly citing data assists in the research process by giving data creators proper credit for their work, aids replication, provides permanent and reliable information about the data source, helps track the impact of the data, and facilitates resource discovery and access.

Provide citations for data sets when you have either conducted secondary analyses of publicly archived data or archived your own data being presented for the first time in the current work.

If you are citing existing analysis or statistics, cite the publication in which the data were published (e.g., a journal article, report, or webpage) rather than the data set itself.

Citing Datasets in APA Style


Example Citation

O’Donohue, W. (2017). Content analysis of undergraduate psychology textbooks (ICPSR 21600; Version V1) [Data set]. ICPSR.

Parenthetical citation: (O’Donohue, 2017)

In-text citation: O’Donohue (2017)

  • The date in the reference is the year of publication for the version of the data used.
  • Provide the title of the data set in italics. Then provide any numerical identifier and version number for the data in parentheses without italics, separated by a semicolon.
  • The bracketed description is flexible (e.g., “[Data set],” “[Data set and code book]”).
  • Provide the publisher of the data set in the source element. ICPSR is one common example.

Getting Your Data Cited

Increase your citation rates by allowing other researchers to cite your data as well as your publications.  There are three key steps to making your data more accessible and cite-able:

  1. Appraise your data to determine where in the data life-cycle it could/should be published.
  2. Recommend your preferred citation format with your published data (include enough information in the citation to denote an exact version of your data). 
  3. Obtain a persistent identifier for your data to make finding and citing it easier for others.
  • DataCite
    Identify online repositories of research data, get help obtaining persistent identifiers for datasets, workflows and standards for data publication, or link underlying data to your published articles.
  • figshare
    A repository where users can make all of their research outputs available in a cite-able, shareable and discover-able manner.
  • Dryad
    Find and archive data files associated with any published article in the sciences or medicine.
  • Open Researcher & Contributor iD (ORCID)  Icon
    Researchers can obtain a free, unique digital identifier to distinguish their research activities from others with similar names.

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