Published October 19, 2015 | Version v1
Preprint Open

The location of the citation: changing practices in how publications cite original data in the Dryad Digital Repository

  • 1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 2. Dryad


While stakeholders in scholarly communication generally agree on the importance of data citation, there is not consensus on where those citations should be placed within the publication – particularly when the publication is citing original data. Recently, CrossRef and the Digital Curation Center (DCC) have recommended as a best practice that original data citations appear in the works cited sections of the article. In some fields, such as the life sciences, this contrasts with the common practice of only listing data identifier(s) within the article body (intratextually). We inquired whether data citation practice has been changing in light of the guidance from CrossRef and the DCC. We examined data citation practices from 2011 to 2014 in a corpus of 1,125 articles associated with original data in the Dryad Digital Repository. The percentage of articles that include no reference to the original data has declined each year, from 31% in 2011 to 15% in 2014. The percentage of articles that include data identifiers intratextually has grown from 69% to 83%, while the percentage that cite data in the works cited section has grown from 5% to 8%. If the proportions continue to grow at the current rate of 19-20% annually, the proportion of articles with data citations in the works cited section will not exceed 90% until 2030. 



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