Formalised data citation practices would encourage more authors to make their data available for reuse

 Hyoungjoo Park and Dietmar Wolfram at the LSE Impact Blog: “Today’s researchers work in a heavily data-intensive and collaborative environment in order to further scientific discovery across and within fields. It is becoming routine for researchers (i.e. authors and data publishers) to submit their research data, such as datasets, biological samples in biomedical fields, and computer code, as supplementary information in order to comply with data sharing requirements of major funding agencies, high-profile journals, and data journals. This is part of open science, where data and any publication products are expected to be made available to anyone interested.

Given that researchers benefit from publicly shared data through data reuse in their own research, researchers who provide access to data should be acknowledged for their contributions, much in the same way that authors are recognised for their research publications through citation. Researchers who use shared data or other shared research products (e.g. open access software, tissue cultures) should also acknowledge the providers of these resources through formal citation. At present, data citation is not widely practised in most disciplines and as an object of study remains largely overlooked….

We found that data citations appear in the references section of an article less frequently than in the main text, making it difficult to identify the reward and credit for data authors (i.e. data sharers). Consistent data citation formats could not be found. Current data citation practices do not (yet) benefit data sharers. Also, data citation was sometimes located in the supplementary information, outside of the references. Data that had been reused was often not acknowledged in the reference lists, but was rather hidden in the representation of data (e.g. tables, figures, images, graphs, and other elements), which may be a consequence of the fact that data citation practices are not yet common in scholarly communications.

Ongoing challenges remain in identifying and documenting data citation. First, the practice of informal data citation presents a challenge for accurately documenting data citation. …

Second, data recitation by one or more co-authors of earlier studies (i.e. self-citation) is common, which reduces the broader impact of data sharing by limiting much of the reuse to the original authors..

Third, currently indexed data citations may not include rapidly advancing areas, such as in the hard sciences or computer engineering, because approximately 90% of indexed works were associated with journal articles…

Fourth, the number of authors associated with shared datasets raises questions of the ownership of and responsibility for a collective work, although some journals require one author to be responsible for the data used in the study…(More). (See also An examination of research data sharing and re-use: implications for data citation practice, published in Scientometrics)