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Introduction to data citation indices

Formal publication and citation of data supports the recognition of research data as a first class research output. As data citation becomes more firmly entrenched in research practice, it will be possible for citation indices such as Thomson Reuters Data Citation Index to measure the reuse of research data thereby enabling recognition and reward of data publishing. This is analogous to the use of products such as Web of Science and Scopus to measure citations to journal articles and other types of scholarly publications. Such metrics are commonly used for performance appraisal and reporting.

Benefits to your organisation of having your data outputs tracked through data citation indices include:

  • Capitalising on investments in data management capability
  • Representation in globally recognised citation indexing services
  • Ability to track reuse of institutional data assets
  • Increased visibility of institutional data assets.

Are your RDA records ready for citation tracking?

While specific requirements may vary between citation tracking products and services, there are some general principles that will ensure citations for your RDA records can be accurately and consistently tracked.

The principles below are consistent with the best practice guidelines in the Content Providers Guide.

  • Provide accurate citation information for your collections and encode it using the citation metadata element in RIF-CS.
  • Mint DOIs for your collections and encode the DOI in the Identifier and citationMetadata elements in RIF-CS.
  • Provide an accurate publication date for your collections and encode it using citation metadata in RIF-CS.
  • Provide clear license and rights information for your collections and encode it using the Rights element in RIF-CS.

Thomson Reuters Data Citation Index

At the present time, the Thomson Reuters Data Citation Index is the only commercial product offering data citation tracking and reporting. The Data Citation Index indexes a number of the world's leading data repositories in order to support data discovery, reuse and dissemination of research data. Learn how your records in Research Data Australia can be included in the Data Citation Index.

It enables users to:

  • discover data held in repositories across the globe
  • track the use and citation of research data across multiple disciplines
  • get a more complete view of scholarly research output beyond article publications only.

Data Citation Index

Other less formal measures may also apply to published data. These include a range of altmetrics such as number of views, number of downloads, social media 'likes' and recommendations. Such metrics are becoming increasingly common across a range of data publishing models including data repositories and data journals.

Because of their immediacy, altmetrics can be an early indicator of the impact or reach of a dataset, before the long tail of formal citation metrics can be assessed. Digital Science's Altmetric service aggregates online attention for research outputs, such as mainstream and social media, online reference managers, Wikipedia, blogs, F1000 and public policy documents. Scientific Data is one data journal that displays Altmetric scores for data.