Citing MorphoSource in Peer-Reviewed Publications

The most complete and up-to-date version of our documentation for contributor users and about contributor status is maintained at the MorphoSource Documentation Wiki. Nonetheless, some of the information there is mirrored here for easy access.

If you are using data or images you found on MorphoSource to conduct the analyses of your study or make inferences, you need to cite MorphoSource to maximize the transparency and reproducibility of your study. Whether you downloaded or simply viewed (e.g., for the purpose of scoring a character state) a file, you need to list in your study the specific files that you referenced.

You should always state somewhere that “Data were accessed and/or archived on"

You can mention the title of the project(s) containing the data, but this is not as important as citing individual data identifiers.

  1. Information to cite:
    1. Unique media identifiers: Always include DOI if available for each data file you viewed or downloaded. If there is no DOI, cite the ARK identifier. Citing media number can be useful, but is optional if ARK or DOI are provided.
    2. Specimen numbers: Always include either the official museum managed specimen identifier as a Darwin Core Triplet (Institution code: collection code: alphanumeric string; e.g., UF:Herp:12345) or the occurrence ID (e.g.,
    3. Grant numbers that funded creation of data: When funder information is available for a dataset, it is nice to continue crediting them to help show scholarly impact of funding decisions. Some contributors explicitly ask that their grants be cited upon re-use.
    4. Any publications the contributing author requests be cited when using the data: The most obvious case here is when you found out about particular MorphoSource datasets through data citation papers.
  2. Where to cite it:
    1. Unique media identifiers and specimen numbers should be cited in the main text or, if this is not possible, in the supplementary information of the paper. If there are just a few specimens, the information can be narrated in the methods section. If there are many specimens and scans, a separate table may be necessary.
    2. If citing grant numbers, this should probably done in text, next to each dataset, as well as in the acknowledgments section. If many funders were involved, a simple list of funders and grant numbers can be used. E.g., "Creation of datasets accessed on MorphoSource was made possible by the following funders and grant numbers: NSF DBI-1701714; Sloan Foundation Grant #5677; Sigma Xi Grant to J. Doe titled: "Why Pigs Can’t Fly Anymore" 2012...etc"
    3. As usual, publications like data citation papers should be cited in the bibliography of your article.
If you are contributing new data
  1. All of the information above is still applicable.
  2. If you need help assigning large numbers of DOIs, contact the MorphoSource administrators.
  3. Review the terms and conditions and make sure you have the necessary approvals from any museum stakeholders and are documenting the ownership and use restrictions on the data correctly.
  4. Again, citing your MorphoSource data project URL can be helpful, but it is NOT a replacement for listing individual data identifiers. You do a disservice to yourself and the scientific community by not listing individual files, because individual file listing allows for automatic determination of impact by third-party tools in a way that project URLs or simply acknowledging MorphoSource or the creators of the data do not.

For examples of different ways of citing identifiers check out which uses a main text DOI table for referencing a large number of scans and, which references a smaller number of scans in the data citation statement. Again, other solutions are also possible like an in-text list of DOIs and ARKs or simply including the DOI or ARK after in-text references to a specimen or scan.