Citing Data


All DOI's start with a 10. Strictly speaking, the 10 is not a part of the DOI. It's a common identifier that actually says: what follows now is a DOI. After the 10 a character string follows divided in two parts: a prefix  and a suffix. The identification code in the prefix represents the party that has registered the dataset. After the slash, the identifier for the dataset follows.

It doesn't matter whether you use uppercase or lowercase characters: 10.123/ABC is the same as 10.123/abc

A URL and a DOI are both identifiers. But a URL indicates the place where a certain document or information can be found, while a DOI identifies the document itself regardless of where it is located. URL's often lose their value as people rearrange websites. With a DOI that's different. The citation for a dataset is persistent. This means that following the link will always get you back to where the dataset is located. This guarantee is very important in building confidence in the value of data citation after data publication.

If you want to retrieve a DOI, put "" in front of the DOI. Then you always get where you want to be. You can also use "resolve a DOI". The resolver itself must of course also be preserved for the long term. This is done by the International DOI foundation. Concerns about failing of this resolver are absent: "It's too big to fail".

Data citation

Datacite advises1 how to cite a dataset if you mention it in a publication. Members of the metadata working group recommend the following notation: 

Creator (PublicationYear): Title. Publisher. Identifier 

It might look like this:

More information?

  1. Building a culture of data citation2
  2. Cite Datasets and Link to Publications3


The time that impact of research was measured by scientific publications alone, seems to have had its day. If sharing of datasets leads to a greater visibility and impact of research, this can give data publication momentum. In addition, within the research community initiatives exist to measure the total impact of research.


1. DataCite. (2011). DataCite MetaData Scheme for the Publication and Citation of Research Data. Retrieved 18-12-2012 from
2. ANDS. (2011). Building a culture of data citation. [poster]. Retreived 9-12-2011 from
3. Ball, A., Duke, M. (2011). How to Cite Datasets and Link to Publications. DCC How-to Guides. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre. Retrieved 9-12-2011 from