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Citing Electronic Data Files

Why should I cite the data?

Citing data files in publications based on uses of those data is important for several reasons, including the following:

Where do I find the citation?

Citations for ICPSR data can be found in the following locations:

  1. study descriptions that appear on the website
  2. file manifest
  3. PDF Description file

Both the file manifest and the PDF Description file are automatically included with every Data Cart download. Thus, every download is accompanied by a copy of the standard citation that can be copied and pasted with ease.

What do the citations look like?

Here are some examples:

CBS NEWS. CBS NEWS MONTHLY POLL #1, JULY 2002. [Computer file]. ICPSR0321-v1. New York, NY: CBS News [producer], 2002. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2003-10-21.

Earls, Felton J., Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Stephen W. Raudenbush, and Robert J. Sampson. PROJECT ON HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOODS (PHDCN): CHILD BEHAVIOR CHECKLIST, WAVE 1, 1994-1997 [Computer file]. ICPSR13582-v1. Boston, MA: Harvard Medical School [producer], 2002. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2005-07-22.

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics. National Hospital Discharge Survey, 1997 [Computer file]. ICPSR02801-v1. Hyattsville, MD: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics [producer], 1999. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1999-07-21.

U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. Current Population Survey: Annual Demographic File, 1999 [Computer file]. ICPSR02825-v1. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census [producer], 1999. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1999-11-17.

Bachman, Jerald G., Lloyd D. Johnston, and Patrick M. O'Malley. Monitoring the Future: A Continuing Study of American Youth (12th-Grade Survey), 1998 [Computer file]. Conducted by University of Michigan, Survey Research Center. ICPSR02751-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer and distributor], 2000-03-28.

Reif, Karlheinz, and Anna Melich. Euro-Barometer 39.0: European Community Policies and Family Life, March-April 1993 [Computer file]. Conducted by INRA (Europe), Brussels. ICPSR06195-v4. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer], 1995. Koeln, Germany: Zentralarchiv fuer Empirische Sozialforschung/Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributors], 1997.

Toward a data citation standard

Micah Altman and Gary King, Harvard-MIT Data Center, have written a D-Lib article on "A Proposed Standard for the Scholarly Citation of Quantitative Data." ICPSR is investigating ways to comply with and promulgate such a standard.

Should I inform ICPSR that I've used its data? How can I let ICPSR know about my publication?

Yes, please let us know. Users of ICPSR data are asked to send to ICPSR bibliographic citations for each completed manuscript or thesis abstract. Visit the ICPSR website for more information on submitting citations. This allows ICPSR to provide funding agencies with essential information about use of archival resources and facilitates the exchange of information about the research activities of principal investigators.

If you have published work based on our data, or if you know of data-related literature that is not in our bibliography, please send the citation to bibliography@icpsr.umich.edu