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How to cite curated databases and how to make them citable

By Professor Tony Harmar and Peter Buneman

Abstract

Please forgive this rather lengthy discussion of citation. This letter started life as a short e-mail follow-up to our discussions on the use of persistent object identifiers as citations, but after talking to our colleagues, 1 a whole collection of closely related issues emerged concerning citation in databases. I had thought that finding a citation scheme for the IUPHAR [12] database would be straightforward, and in some sense it is; but after scouring the internet, I could find no help on the topic. While a number of organisations stress the importance of citing databases, it appears that no one has seriously considered the issues involved in citing all or parts of a something that has internal structure and that evolves over time. The point of writing to you at length is partly to understand the role of persistent object identifiers in citation, but more importantly to understand how one should cite a part of a database, and how one makes the database citable. What I want to propose is a stable citation system for IUPHAR which should also work for a wide variety of other curated databases. In particular, I want to describe how to publish the database in a form that can be cited, how to ensure that the citations remain valid and how to generate and validate the citations automatically All of these require a little extra work, but I believe we have enough technology in place to make this possible. Please let me know what you think. With best wishes Peter

Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.133.9775
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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