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The Graduate Health & Life Sciences Research Library at Georgetown University Medical Center

Research Data Management

Best practices and tools for managing your research data.

Ethical use of Data

It is important to follow ethical research practices for data collection, analysis, and reuse. Cite all sources of data, and acknowledge any limitations in the dataset. For further guidelines, see the guide from the American Statistical Association. It reviews key responsibilities for ethical data analysis practices. It also includes tips for data citation.

Elements of a Data Citation

A citation for a data set is very similar to that for a research publication. The basic elements are:

  • Author(s)
  • Date of publication
  • Title
  • Publisher and/or Distributor
  • Persistent identifier (such as a DOI)

Data citations may also include:

  • Version or edition
  • Resource type (e.g. database, dataset)
  • Fixity information (e.g. a checksum or Universal Numeric Fingerprint)


Charbonneau, P., Dyer, E., Lee, J., Yaida, S. (2016). Data and scripts from: Linking dynamical heterogeneity to static amorphous order. Duke Digital Repository. 

Deschenes, Elizabeth Piper, Susan Turner, and Joan Petersilia. Intensive Community Supervision in Minnesota, 1990-1992: A Dual Experiment in Prison Diversion and Enhanced Supervised Release [Computer file]. ICPSR06849-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000. doi:10.3886/ICPSR06849 

Sidlauskas B (2007) Data from: Testing for unequal rates of morphological diversification in the absence of a detailed phylogeny: a case study from characiform fishes. Dryad Digital Repository. doi:10.5061/dryad.20