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Requirements for Data Citation re-visited

2011 August 22
by Monica Duke

I have been working on a How To guide on Data Citation which is co-authored with Alex Ball and will be published shortly by the DCC.  The How-To guide is a sister publication to the Briefing Paper which was released recently.  In the process of working together with Alex I provided him with a few pointers.  One of the pointers was to a paper I had prepared for the 2010 Sage Congress.

I am digging out that paper and sharing it now for two reasons.  Firstly, in one of the planning telcons for the Data Attribution and Citation Practices and Standards Symposium taking place this week, someone asked if we knew of a resource that describes the landscape of data citation – an introduction to various standards, technologies and initiatives.  I originally went looking for this paper for a different reason (which I will be coming to in a minute) but having cast a quick eye over it, I realised I should offer it to the meeting I’m about to attend since it covers some of the ground that was requested.  I have already provided links to the SageCite KnowledgeBlog which was meant to describe the data citation landscape in a more methodical way. The KnowledgeBlog would require take-up by the community to make it more comprehensive, as its current scope is too limited.  The 2010 paper is slightly out of date.  Neither is perfect, but together they are reasonably complementary as it happens!

But I digress.  At the Harvard Data Citation Principles meeting I had suggested that as a community we should be able to agree some high level principles for data citation, however the difficulty would be in checking out the detail for each intended application area.  This week’s Developing Data Attribution and Citation Practices and Standards symposium seems to be addressing just that question, looking at the practice of citation across different disciplines and asking where common ground and effort can pay off.  At the Harvard meeting I was asked if I had a set of high-level princiles that we should all be able to agree on.  At the time I forgot about the ones I had written into the paper for the 2010 Sage Congress, and I might not have remembered that they exist if Alex hadn’t spotted them and included them in the draft of the DCC How To guide.  I guess I am still a software developer at heart as I framed that list as requirements rather than principles, and I had an eye to helping Sage Bionetworks consider requirements for the platform it was developing.

So the next post will list those requirements, mainly so they can be shared for discussion within the Data Citation community.

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