3.6 Data Sharing

Data Management: Data Citation

Data Citation

[VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He96Mt0o00o]


Whenever you use someone else’s data, you should cite them. This is important for helping others understand and follow up further on a research topic, as well as respecting others’ efforts  accounting for research integrity. Data citation is akin to article citation in that you put the information the “works cited” portion of your report or article. The only big difference between citing an article and citing a dataset is the citation format itself.

While individual citation styles (MLA, Chicago style, etc.) may offer a preferred format, the general format for a dataset citation is as follows:

Creator (Publication Year): Title. Publisher. Identifier

The identifier is preferably a DOI (a digital object identifier, which is more permanent than a URL) but a URL also works. Here is an example dataset citation:

Piwowar HA, Vision TJ (2013) Data from: Data reuse and the open data citation advantage. Dryad Digital Repository. http://dx.doi.org/10.5061/dryad.781pv

Where available, you can also add information on series, version, and access date to the citation. Any other information should be given in your write up when you explain how you processed the dataset.

Finally, if the data corresponds to a published article, it’s good practice to cite both the article and the dataset, especially if you read the article to better understand the data. The most important thing is to be clear about the resources you used by citing them.


Managing Re-use Permissions with Creative Commons

When using someone else’s data, in addition to citing them, it is also important to be aware and respect any licensing terms for re-use. Generally speaking, almost all current creative works are considered under copyright law. There are some grey areas concerning research data and associated documentation that describes the creative act of the original experiment. Additionally, there may be ethical considerations of confidentiality if the data are associated with human and/or animal studies (http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.html). When in doubt, consider someone else’s material as under rights protection, even if they are freely available on the Internet, and may require permission to re-use as well as attribution. Seeking and getting permission can be straightforward for many published materials (http://www.copyright.com/rightsholders/rightslink-permissions/) or involve a complicated process of licensing terms and review.

Creative Commons is a tool for streamlining licensing and re-use of digital materials that are openly available on the Internet (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/). It layers a “Common Deed”, designation icon and machine readable code over the legal framework that enables creators, human and machine users to quickly determine clear permissions for copying, distributing, commercial or non-commercial uses, attribution requirements and other types of activities.  There are 6 variations of the basic license, ranging in permissions from unrestricted dissemination and use, including tweaking or remixing, with attribution; to downloading, sharing and attributing only without changing or using in a commercial context (see chart). Some of the licenses that allow changes to the work require that the user use the same CC licensing terms on any further works, called ShareAlike. There is also a CC0 “No Rights Reserved” designation, which indicates that a work is completely free of rights restrictions and may be shared, changed and re-used without further permission. All materials licensed under Creative Commons are openly and freely available to at least download.



CC BY:  distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon the work, even commercially, as long as credit given for the original creation

CC BY-NC: remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, must acknowledge credit for the original creation

CC BY-SA: remix, tweak, and build upon the work even for commercial purposes, as long as credit given and new creations licensed under identical terms

CC BY-NC-SA: remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as credit given and new creations licensed under identical terms

CC BY-ND: redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit

CC BY-NC-ND: only allowing others to download and share as long as credit given, can’t change in any way or use commercially

CC0: rights-holders waived restrictions so others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the work for any purposes

 (Note: not technically a license)

Public Domain Mark: works already free of known copyright and database restrictions and in the public domain throughout the world

Adapted from “About The Licenses” by Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ ), CC-BY; and “About CC0” by Creative Commons (https://creativecommons.org/about/cc0 ), CC BY







What do you want to do with the work and what do you need to make sure you do for this type of use?




Derivatives OK

Commercial Use OK

Attribution Only


(CC BY)                             (CC BY-NC)

(CC BY)                             (CC BY-ND)

Same Licensing Terms

CC BY-SA)           (CC BY-NC-SA)



(CC0)                        (Public Domain)

(CC0)                        (Public Domain)

Note: all CC Licenses allow for open copy and distribution;
CC BY-NC-ND gives no other allowances and does not appear on this chart


The lecture materials in the OLCC are generally covered under a CC XX license [link to OLCC post, TBD]. Several of the materials in this lecture were adapted from others works under the CC BY license.  Students may choose to license their course output as well. Creative Commons provides a simple License Chooser tool (http://creativecommons.org/choose/ ). The most important points to consider are if you want to allow for commercial use, if you want to allow adaptations to your work, and if you want any further works to be under the same license terms. You can provide a URL to the original source work and more information about yourself for easier attribution and include the icon code for your chosen license on the web page for your material. Questions can be directed to: https://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/Frequently_Asked_Questions



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Comments 2

Brandon Davis (not verified) | Tue, 09/22/2015 - 16:30
Is there a functional difference in how one is allowed to use materials under a CC0 license and materials in the public domain?

Dr. Briney | Tue, 09/22/2015 - 16:58
There's basically no difference. CC0 is Creative Commons' way to revoke your rights over content to effectively put it into the public domain (stuff falls into the public domain naturally over time and CC0 lets you speed up this process). It's also really useful to clear up cases where rights like copyright may or may not exist. The one thing to note about CC0 and the public domain is that it's still ethically responsible to cite your sources, even if those sources are licensed under CC0 or in the public domain.