Data Citation

Data citation is an emerging practice.

The lack of open available and FAIR data and that research data are often referenced without sufficient detail to pin point a data set, undermines the ability to reproduce research results, and hinders tracking citations to datasets as well. For your own datasets, you might try the following sources that track citations to datasets, although the success rate is usually low.

  • Lens
  • Dimensions
  • DataCite
  • Google Scholar

When one of the citation databases indexes your dataset, with or without citations, they provide a link to the repository where you uploaded your dataset, and were usage data: views and downloads, are available. Two repositories who are also tracking citations to datasets are Figshare (linked to Dimensions) and Zenodo (in Beta version). ​

Views and Downloads

Usage data are available on most platforms, and depending on where you uploaded your data you might try those to retrieve usage data when needed. Please not that DataverseNL – often used by UM researchers – only shows downloads. When uploaded to Mendeley Data, your dataset is tracked by PlumX, potentially providing additional altmetrics for your dataset.

However, be cautious when using usage data, and only use them when they are exceptionally high which is often difficult to judge.

A general problem of usage data is that they are often anonymized hindering a further analysis of who, why and if the dataset is used.

When you uploaded datasets to Zenodo or Figshare, you can use their usage indicators.


Altmetrics Explorer tracks datasets registered in Pure , but tracking online attention to registered datasets in Pure, is hindered by ambigeous metadata. This might cause Altmetric Explorer to index book chapters or a contribution to a journal as a data set. Please check if the dataset records in Altmetric Explorer do refer to the dataset and not to other research outputs types where the data are used.

To check the FAIRness of your datasets use the KNAW FAIR self-assessment tool, or contact the RDM team for more support: Research Data Management (RDM) portal.

FAIRness of your datasets

To check the FAIRness of your datasets use the KNAW FAIR self-assessment tool, or contact your RDM contact for more support.