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Prior to the actual creation and adoption of data citations, several participants suggested, one option is to develop an understanding of the social ramifications of the data citation and the frameworks with which data citations would need to interact. This understanding could come from academic research on data practices. At the top level, research funders, universities, and journal publishers could think about developing a data citation policy that supports their respective needs and creates incentives to encourage data citation.

Using such a base of understanding and policy, many parties may wish to work in parallel to make data citation a reality. Research communities can define the data citation elements that are meaningful to them. Journal publishers and standards bodies can define general data citation layouts that are both machine and human-readable. In order for a data citation to be created: (i) the data need to have been generated by someone, and (ii) the data need to be available with enough information attached in order to create the data citation. The data generator or the data center hosting the data will then make the actual citation content available. The data users are responsible for actually using the data citation in their publications. The derivative data cycle here refers to the practice of creating derivative datasets from other datasets. A new form of data citation could be developed in order to take this practice into account, and can involve some combination of the original data generators or hosts and the data users in a new data citation or a data citation that expands into multiple data citations.

Once the various standards are in play, several participants remarked that training and education would be useful about how and when data citations can be used. The university libraries are perhaps well positioned to reach out to the academic communities they support. Finally, commercial parties can aggregate data citations, much like citations are aggregated to characterize scholarly communication in the literature.

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