Citing your data

A way to ensure your data can be cited, (whether by someone else or by you), to track usage and to ensure any data citations are added to journal citations is to give your data a ‘Digital Object Identifier‘ (DOI).

A DOI is a serial code used to uniquely identify objects. The DOI system is particularly used for electronic documents such as journal articles.  Metadata about the object is stored in association with the DOI name. It may include a location, such as a URL, where the object can be found. The DOI for a document remains fixed over the lifetime of the document, whereas its location and other metadata may change. Referring to an online document by its DOI provides more stable linking than simply referring to it by its URL, because if its URL changes, the publisher only needs to update the metadata for the DOI to link to the new URL.  A DOI name differs from standard identifier registries such as the ISBN and ISRC. The purpose of an identifier registry is to manage a given collection of identifiers, whereas the primary purpose of the DOI system is to make a collection of identifiers actionable and interoperable

Giving your data a DOI:

  • means that usage of your data can be followed as others use and cite your data
  • makes the data uniquely identifiable.
  • means you will always be identified as the creator of the cited data.
  • means your data can always be located with a simple web search.

You shouldn’t deposit you data in an archive that does not use a DOI (or another common form of persistent identification).  The responsible archive will normally ‘mint’ the DOI as part of the ingestion process. If they do not, LLR can do this for you through the University’s DataCite account.


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Adapted from the University of Oxford under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported licence (CC BY 3.0).  Original content at: