Archive for the ‘Data Citation’ Category

Data citation initiatives and issues

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Data citation initiatives and issues by Matthew S. Mayernik (Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology Volume 38, Issue 5, pages 23–28, June/July 2012)


The importance of formally citing scientific research data has been recognized for decades but is only recently gaining momentum. Several federal government agencies urge data citation by researchers, DataCite and its digital object identifier registration services promote the practice of citing data, international citation guidelines are in development and a panel at the 2012 ASIS&T Research Data Access and Preservation Summit focused on data citation. Despite strong reasons to support data citation, the lack of individual user incentives and a pervasive cultural inertia in research communities slow progress toward broad acceptance. But the growing demand for data transparency and linked data along with pressure from a variety of stakeholders combine to fuel effective data citation. Efforts promoting data citation must come from recognized institutions, appreciate the special characteristics of data sets and initially emphasize simplicity and manageability.

This is an important and eye-opening article on the state of data citations and issues related to it.

I found it surprising in part because citation of data in radio and optical astronomy has long been commonplace. In part because for decades now, the astronomical community has placed a high value on public archiving of research data as it is acquired, both in raw and processed formats.

As pointed out in this paper, without public archiving, there can be no effective form of data citation. Sad to say, the majority of data never makes it to public archives.

Given the reliance on private and public sources of funding for research, public archiving and access should be guaranteed as a condition of funding. Researchers would be free to continue to not make their data publicly accessible, should they choose to fund their own work.

If that sounds harsh, consider the well deserved amazement at the antics over access to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

If the only way for your opinion/analysis to prevail is to deny others access to the underlying data, that is all the commentary the community needs on your work.