How to format your references using the Data citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Data. For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
Watling, L. Deep-Sea Trawling Must Be Banned. Nature 2013, 501, 7.
A journal article with 2 authors
Panchanathan, K.; Boyd, R. Indirect Reciprocity Can Stabilize Cooperation without the Second-Order Free Rider Problem. Nature 2004, 432, 499–502.
A journal article with 3 authors
Tremblay, S.; Shiller, D.M.; Ostry, D.J. Somatosensory Basis of Speech Production. Nature 2003, 423, 866–869.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Boothroyd, C.E.; Dreesen, O.; Leonova, T.; Ly, K.I.; Figueiredo, L.M.; Cross, G.A.M.; Papavasiliou, F.N. A Yeast-Endonuclease-Generated DNA Break Induces Antigenic Switching in Trypanosoma Brucei. Nature 2009, 459, 278–281.

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
Chitty, J.; Raftery, A. Essentials of Tortoise Medicine and Surgery; John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Oxford, 2013; ISBN 9781118656372.
An edited book
Migration and Social Remittances in a Global Europe; Nowicka, M., Šerbedžija, V., Eds.; Europe in a Global Context; Palgrave Macmillan UK: London, 2016; ISBN 9781137601254.
A chapter in an edited book
Tian, J.; Chen, J.; Chen, G.; Wu, P.; Zhang, H.; Zhao, Y. The Concept and Research Progress of MAS. In Genetic Analyses of Wheat and Molecular Marker-Assisted Breeding, Volume 2: Conditional QTL Analysis and MAS; Chen, J., Chen, G., Wu, P., Zhang, H., Zhao, Y., Eds.; Springer Netherlands: Dordrecht, 2015; pp. 179–185 ISBN 9789401774451.

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for Data.

Blog post
Luntz, S. Europe’s Carnivores Make A Comeback Available online: (accessed on 30 October 2018).


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
Government Accountability Office Biotechnology: Information on Prices of Genetically Modified Seeds in the United States and Argentina; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2000;

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Kay, V.L. A Single Mother and Child Welfare: A Personal Narrative. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach: Long Beach, CA, 2009.

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
Wagner, J. Lugo’s Tear to Cost Him Two Weeks, Minimum. New York Times 2017, B9.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

This sentence cites one reference [1].
This sentence cites two references [1,2].
This sentence cites four references [1–4].

About the journal

Full journal titleData
AbbreviationData (Basel)
ISSN (online)2306-5729

Other styles