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Open Access Highly Accessed Correspondence

Adventures in data citation: sorghum genome data exemplifies the new gold standard

Scott C Edmunds1*, Tom J Pollard234, Brian Hole25 and Alexandra T Basford1

Author Affiliations

1 GigaScience, BGI-Hong Kong Ltd., 16 Dai Fu Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, NT, Hong Kong

2 Ubiquity Press, Gordon House, 29 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PP, United Kingdom

3 Department of Space & Climate Physics, Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, Surrey, RH5 6NT, United Kingdom

4 University College Hospital, 235 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BU, United Kingdom

5 Institute of Archeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PY, United Kingdom

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:223  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-223

Published: 9 May 2012

Abstract

Scientific progress is driven by the availability of information, which makes it essential that data be broadly, easily and rapidly accessible to researchers in every field. In addition to being good scientific practice, provision of supporting data in a convenient way increases experimental transparency and improves research efficiency by reducing unnecessary duplication of experiments. There are, however, serious constraints that limit extensive data dissemination. One such constraint is that, despite providing a major foundation of data to the advantage of entire community, data producers rarely receive the credit they deserve for the substantial amount of time and effort they spend creating these resources. In this regard, a formal system that provides recognition for data producers would serve to incentivize them to share more of their data.

The process of data citation, in which the data themselves are cited and referenced in journal articles as persistently identifiable bibliographic entities, is a potential way to properly acknowledge data output. The recent publication of several sorghum genomes in Genome Biology is a notable first example of good data citation practice in the field of genomics and demonstrates the practicalities and formatting required for doing so. It also illustrates how effective use of persistent identifiers can augment the submission of data to the current standard scientific repositories.