How to format your references using the Data in Brief citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Data in Brief. 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
P. Smaglik, Beyond the helix, Nature. 422 (2003) 927.
A journal article with 2 authors
E. Rignot, S.S. Jacobs, Rapid bottom melting widespread near Antarctic Ice Sheet grounding lines, Science. 296 (2002) 2020–2023.
A journal article with 3 authors
R.T. Rood, T.M. Bania, D.S. Balser, Cosmology. The saga of 3He, Science. 295 (2002) 804–805.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
M. Dong, V. Kathiresan, M.K. Fenwick, A.T. Torelli, Y. Zhang, J.D. Caranto, B. Dzikovski, A. Sharma, K.M. Lancaster, J.H. Freed, S.E. Ealick, B.M. Hoffman, H. Lin, Organometallic and radical intermediates reveal mechanism of diphthamide biosynthesis, Science. 359 (2018) 1247–1250.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
I. Ford, Statistical Physics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK, 2013.
An edited book
J. Calmet, T. Ida, D. Wang, eds., Artificial Intelligence and Symbolic Computation: 8th International Conference, AISC 2006 Beijing, China, September 20-22, 2006 Proceedings, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2006.
A chapter in an edited book
U. Daepp, P. Gorkin, Set Notation and Quantifiers, in: P. Gorkin (Ed.), Reading, Writing, and Proving: A Closer Look at Mathematics, Springer, New York, NY, 2011: pp. 33–46.

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 in Brief.

Blog post
E. Andrew, 24-Year-Old Woman Born Without Cerebellum, IFLScience. (2014). (accessed October 30, 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, Close Air Support: Upgraded A-7 Aircraft’s Mission Effectiveness and Total Cost Unknown, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1988.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
J. Zhao, Contextual Differential Item Functioning: Examining the Validity of Teaching Self-Efficacy Instruments Using Hierarchical Generalized Linear Modeling, Doctoral dissertation, Ohio State University, 2012.

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
M.M. Chapman, Online Upstarts Seek to Shake Up Used-Car Buying, New York Times. (2017) B6.

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 in Brief
AbbreviationData Brief
ISSN (print)2352-3409

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