Topic Data Citation (WG1)

By 24 July 2019
Researcher`s institution:
Host institution: FORS, located at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland)
Period of stsm: Between 2 weeks and 1 month from August to December 2019.
Funds approved:

Description of the topic:In the social sciences, data are important sources for research. With the rise of importance of empirical studies and the digitalisation, data is increasingly crucial for research not only in the social sciences but also in the humanities. Also, the data used is getting more and more complex, combining data from different sources, across many countries and using different media and collection modes. Also, data collection is often collaborative work across institutions and countries. Thus, the collection, cleaning, preparation and storage of data becomes a more and more important task also in the SSH. While the collection of data in many STEM fields is seen as part of the research task and secondary use of data includes citation of those involved in data collection, in the SSH, there is no clear standard how to cite data and thus data collection, preparation and storage is not valued as an important scientific work. However, the trend towards open science includes open data and researchers will be more willing to publish their data if data gathering is acknowledged as scientific work and the chances are that their data is re-used and their work properly cited

This STSM at the Data and Research Information Services Unit at FORS, Lausanne, sets out to investigate if and how data is cited in secondary data analysis. We investigate two different sorts of data: first, we investigate how data is cited that is created for secondary analysis, i.e. international comparative surveys. Second, we use the host institution’s data repository to investigate how often data is downloaded and whether and how authors using such data that was made “open” by individual researchers cite these sources.


Objectives: The STSM aims to further the understanding knowledge production and dissemination in the SSH (Task 1 of WG1). It will add to the deliverable “recommendations for better adapted criteria and indicators” due in GP4. Furthermore, it will help fostering data repositories as enhancements of bibliographic repositories and add to Task 2 of WG3, “Analyse characteristics of diverse dissemination channels used in the SSH” as publishing data is one way of disseminating SSH research activities. It will lead to collaborative publications and to guidelines for citation of data sources.


Special criteria for this STSM: the applicant should have basic knowledge in bibliometric analysis and should be familiar with secondary analysis in the social sciences.

Results: The proposed STSM will produce co-authored publications and provide guidelines for citation of data sources.


Practical details:

Working group: WG1 (Conceptual frameworks for SSH research evaluation)

Duration and timing: between 2 weeks and 1 month from August to December 2019.

Location: FORS, Géopolis, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Contact: Michael Ochsner(, responsible person: Brian Kleiner