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Why, when, and how to cite sources of biodiversity specimen data

Author(s): Katie Pearson

Cal Poly State University

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This short video and assessment explain why we as scientists should cite our data sources and how we can do this for sources of biodiversity specimen data.


Upon completion of this activity, each student should be able to:

  • Explain two or more reasons why it is important to properly cite biodiversity specimen data
  • Identify circumstances in which one should cite the source of specimen data
  • Describe how to find guidelines about how to cite a specific data source
  • Create a citation according to a data source’s provided guidelines

Citing sources is not only an important academic practice for writing papers; it is an essential part of using data, such as data related to biodiversity specimens. Although the data are publicly available, they are still subject to copyright and must be properly cited. This video explains why we cite data sources, when (in what context) it is appropriate to cite a data source, and how someone can go about creating a properly formatted citation.

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