May 19, 2022

Force 11: Introducing a New Standard for the Citation of Research Data

From a Force 11 Announcement:

The Identifiers Expert Group of the FORCE11 Data Citation Implementation Pilot (DCIP) has achieved a significant step toward the harmonization of identifier resolution standards for data citation in research articles.

Working with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the California Digital Library (CDL), they have established interoperability of compact identifiers and developed a global approach for the formal citation of research data in the life sciences. The approach and its development are described in an article published today in the journal Scientific Data, which has also announced its adoption of the standard.


The compact identifier creates an easy-to-read and easy-to-process citation system by  combining a unique prefix for the individual archive with a locally assigned identifier; it points to identical records through either EMBL-EBI or CDL’s resolving systems. For this system to work globally, EMBL-EBI and CDL established a namespace registry with an easy-to-use form for requesting new prefixes, and clear governance and maintenance rules to resolve all references to the right data collections. Systematic work in other DCIP Expert Groups has defined roadmaps for implementing data citation as a standard practice for Publishers and Data Repositories.


Harmonizing identifier resolution services is the main goal of the FORCE11 Identifiers Expert Group, which made its first priority to create links between the and N2T resolution services hosted by EMBL-EBI and CDL, respectively. The group is led by Tim Clark and Maryann Martone, in close collaboration with staff at EMBL-EBI and CDL, and supported by many other recognized experts in the field. It was supported by funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) program.

Direct to Complete Force 11 Announcement

Scientific Data Article Mentioned Above


Uniform Resolution of Compact Identifiers for Biomedical Data


Sarala M. Wimalaratne
Nick Juty
John Kunze
Greg Janée
Julie A. McMurry
Niall Beard
Rafael Jimenez
Jeffrey S. Grethe
Henning Hermjakob
Maryann E. Martone
Tim Clark


Scientific Data
doi: 10.1038/sdata.2018.29 (2018)


Most biomedical data repositories issue locally-unique accessions numbers, but do not provide globally unique, machine-resolvable, persistent identifiers for their datasets, as required by publishers wishing to implement data citation in accordance with widely accepted principles. Local accessions may however be prefixed with a namespace identifier, providing global uniqueness. Such “compact identifiers” have been widely used in biomedical informatics to support global resource identification with local identifier assignment. We report here on our project to provide robust support for machine-resolvable, persistent compact identifiers in biomedical data citation, by harmonizing the and (Name-To-Thing) meta-resolvers and extending their capabilities. services hosted at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory – European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), and services hosted at the California Digital Library (CDL), can now resolve any given identifier from over 600 source databases to its original source on the Web, using a common registry of prefix-based redirection rules. We believe these services will be of significant help to publishers and others implementing persistent, machine-resolvable citation of research data.

Direct to Full Text Article

See Also: Identifiers Expert Group and the Data Citation Implementation Pilot of FORCE11


About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.