Citing Data

Citing Data

Sustainable and reliable citing of various sources is a crucial part of good scientific practice. The term “sources” does not only refer to publications here, but also to research data sets or completely different resources. With its services and competences, CLARIAH-DE contributes to the adherence to this criterion in the Humanities and Cultural Sciences.

In research, it is customary to refer to the literature and research data that is being cited. Digital Data can be electronically referred to. For literature, a bibliographical entry is used to unambiguously identify an article or a book, to find it in the works cited list and to make it findable in catalogues with the help of the information given there – with electronic data, similar features are used.

If, for instance, an article features a reference to

Buddenbohm, S., & Eckart, T. (2020). Persistent Identifiers in CLARIAH-DE Summary & Best Practices (AP4.1.5). Zenodo. DOI: 10.5281/ZENODO.3744091

the user is able to find the resource in the catalogues via the author, the title as well as directly via the DOI. The storage place of the linked resource can change, however, references can be ambiguous or the assignment to the actual source can be uncertain due to the publication of different versions. This problem can be solved with a persistent identifier (PID), as PIDs are stable references to data and unambiguously refer to a resource (in our example, the persistent identifier can be seen in the DOI).

CLARIAH-DE recommends the use of a handle system, primarily as ePIC PID of the European Persistent Identifier Consortium (EPIC) or as DOI. The recommendations of CLARIAH-DE are available in a summarized fashion at the handle/DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3744091.

Access to Data with the Help of Identifiers

If you have a PID which refers to data resources, you can look up which information on the data is available. These identifiers can be found, for example, in publications or bibliographies. Examples for such identifiers are:

  • hdl:11858/00-1778-0000-0007-5E98-F
  • DOI:10.1007/978-3-642-30284-8_26

This form supports PIDs of the handle system, including DOIs.

Authoritative Query Don't Redirect to URLs Don't Follow Aliases

This offer draws on a service of the registry.

Citing Data and other Resources with a PID

Scientific research usually refers to previously conducted work, for instance, articles and books, which must be reliably cited. At the same time, research data and other resources are increasingly being cited. When quoting data and other resources which have a PID, the editors/creators of the data, the publication date (or, if this is not available, the archiving date), the name or title of the data set and the PID have to be stated. The order or formatting can be adapted to the citing guidelines that are used.

Examples for this are:

TextGrid Repository (2012). Goethe: Briefe. 1830. An Wilhelm von Humboldt. Digitale Bibliothek. TextGrid. Persistenter Identifikator:

Hinrichs E., Feldweg H., Kunze C., Lemnitzer L., Henrich V., Hinrichs M., Gupta P. & Barkey R. (1997): GermaNet: Ein lexikalisch-semantisches Wortnetz. Persistenter Identifikator:

Berlin Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaft (2007-2019): Deutsches Textarchiv. Persistenter Identifikator:

Bayerisches Digitales Repositorum (2019): Wilhelm von Humboldt. Autographen: Briefe von Wilhelm von Humboldt an verschiedene Adressaten - BSB. Persistenter Identifikator:


Persistent Identifiers, PID, EPIC, Handle, DOI, citation


CLARIAH-DE is a research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), grant no. 01UG1610 A to I.

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