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Research Data Management: Re-use


Using existing data can be a means to save time and money. However, some thought is required before reusing data.

Read the data license or end user agreement:

  • Are there restrictions or specifications of data re-use?
  • What will be the impact of these restrictions on the research?
Where new and existing data will be used:
  • What is the relationship between existing and new data?
  • How will the data be integrated?
  • How will any format differences be managed?

Data citation

Data citation refers to the practice of referencing data to acknowledge their original source. This is done in much the same way as more traditional resources like books and journal articles.

Citing data is important because it:

  • Acknowledges and provides credit to the originator of the data
  • Allows verification of data and results, facilitating their re-use in further research
  • Enables data citation metrics (the impact of data) to be tracked
Data citation has benefits for researchers as it:
  • Makes data publications more acceptable for CVs and journals
  • Facilitates discovery of grey literature 
ANDS has created a flowchart that depicts the cycle of data citation and its benefits.
View full-size version.

Citation standards

Standards for data citation vary across the disciplines. DataCite recommends including the following elements:

  • Publication year is the date when the dataset was published (not the collection or coverage date)
  • Publisher refers to the repository or data centre where the data is stored
  • Identifier should be displayed as a linkable, permanent URL

For example:

Irino, T; Tada, R (2009): Chemical and mineral compositions of sediments from ODP Site 127‐797. Geological Institute, University of Tokyo.

Creative reuse

Reuse by Simon Brown 

More resources


What citation styles are available?

Standards for citing data are not uniformly agreed upon and clear directions in style manuals are few. Where no specific guidance is provided, follow the general format for the style you are using. See A Description of Data Citation Instructions in Style Guides (Purdue University), a comparison of common referencing style manuals. 

Can I use bibliographic management software to cite data?

EndNote software (versions X4 and above) has a template for the reference type 'dataset'. If you are using software that does not include this type of reference, you may be able to create a custom template. Consult the software's manual for more information.

How to cite data?

Standards for data citation vary across the disciplines. The Digital Curation Centre provides more information on data citation in their guide How to Cite Datasets and Link to Publications.