Data Citation

Additional Information about RDA data citation

Digital Object Identifiers on Datasets and Usage in Scholarly Publications

Data Citations direct readers to a data source referred to within a publication. Part of the citation is a digital object identifier (DOI). It is a permanent and unique label for an Internet-based object and is used in the same way DOIs are used to provide links to a published paper, report, or books. Publication and data citations both appear in formal reference lists. Below we briefly discuss how this is done, why it is important, and citation services available from the Research Data Archive (RDA) at NCAR.


How it is done

The DOI is the highest ordered (right-most) information in a resolvable web URL address. As an example, the DOI URL for the International Surface Pressure Dataset (ISPD) in the RDA is This web address is deconstructed into a piece that points to a resolver service (, an portion that is constant for NCAR/UCAR (10.5065/D6), and a unique object in the institutional domain (SQ8XDW). This address is intended to be published and will not change over time. The actual URL address for the ISPD is The support team for the RDA is responsible for updating all metadata at the registry and resolver service if any changes occur. For example, if a new web server was configured the actual RDA address would change, but the DOI address will remain fixed.

The web page linked to the DOI URL (landing page) is the dataset home page in the RDA, which displays all of the discovery metadata and leads to the available data access services.

Why it is important

Making dataset and publication DOIs work together have benefits for the scientists, public data users, and the data managers. Some of them are:

  • A tighter connection between scholarly publication and data makes the science more transparent and traceable
  • Increases reproducibility and validation of publication findings because the data are accurately cited and accessible through the DOI URL
  • Allows tracking of data use and ultimately metrics of citations, user groups, and the impact of the data on science progress
  • Widely accepted by publishing community and becoming a “best practice” for scientific publications that have facts based on data

Citation Services Available through the Research Data Archive (RDA)

  • Dataset Homepage: On the homepage of each dataset, you will find a section called “How to Cite this Dataset” that offer complete data citation text blocks in several styles. We recommend the Earth Systems Information Partners (ESIP) form, as it includes an “Accessed on date”, but also provide the standards for AMS and AGU publications.
  • RIS: On the homepage of each dataset, you will find a RIS button below the data citation reference that provides a text file in a specific form that easily imports into citation management software such as Zotero and EndNote.
  • GUI: This service is in the development stage; when in operation, the GUI will allow users to sign in and choose from a list of their download activities. Data citations will then be created on demand.
  • DOI assignment: If you are seeking a DOI for your RDA dataset please contact us (

Additional Information