# How do I cite the iris dataset in a paper?

I want to use the iris dataset provided by scikit-learn for a paper. But I don't know what the standard for referencing datasets is. What citation should I use for this dataset in my paper? Should I reference scikit-learn? Ronald Fisher for having introduced the dataset? Edgar Anderson for having collected the data? All of the above?

• If you're going to reference Fisher, you need to spell his name right. My suggestion: if Fisher gave a reference when he first used it, use that reference. If he didn't, reference him (I think most people do that). – Glen_b Oct 12 '14 at 22:15
• Unless you are restricted in the number of references, there is no harm in citing both. I find I've never read the Anderson original, but I wouldn't assume he didn't analyse the data unless you have read it too. The Fisher reference is important; my wild guess is that the dataset would have faded into statistical obscurity without Fisher making it prominent. – Nick Cox Oct 13 '14 at 12:50
• stats.stackexchange.com/questions/74776/… doesn't answer your question, but it comments on some common minor errors in working with this dataset. – Nick Cox Oct 13 '14 at 12:51
• I would cite both papers (Anderson, 1936; Fisher, 1936), but not scikit-learn, as the dataset is simply bundled with the library, but is not unique to it (for example, the same iris dataset is bundled with R environment, as well). – Aleksandr Blekh Oct 13 '14 at 13:58
• @martino: The scikit-learn certainly has to be cited, if used. However, the OP's question was in regard to citing the iris dataset, which calls for an independent citation. This is because the dataset is an independent entity, which is included in many software packages and is not unique to scikit-learn. (By the way, it wasn't me, who downvoted your answer, in case you are curious.) – Aleksandr Blekh Oct 14 '14 at 4:44

I would cite both papers (Anderson, 1936; Fisher, 1936), but not scikit-learn, as the dataset is simply bundled with the library, but is not unique to it (for example, the same iris dataset is bundled with R environment, as well). Having said that, scikit-learn certainly has to be cited as well, if used, but not due to use of the dataset.