Data citation is and has been essential to traditional scholarship. Over time, traditional methods of citation have evolved to identify the appropriate materials and the way of retrieving them as well as to give credit to the authors of the cited material. Today, the bulk of materials used by scholars are either digital or in the process of being digitalised, and there is an increasing demand for reliable and user-friendly methods of data citation applicable to new methods of doing research.
One of the key issues addressed by the Data Citation project is how citations can be automatically generated which document digital queries and the databases used. In dealing with this challenge, the project also explores underlying issues of citation standards, archiving and provenance. The data citation project has developed new approaches to the content, structure and use of citations, which will need continuous innovation in the future.