Citation Guidelines

The following guidelines and examples are provided for data users, data owners and publishers to ensure appropriate citation of data from Movebank. Because users retain ownership of their data in Movebank, references to “Movebank data” or “data accessed through Movebank” are insufficient. Proper citation or other attribution will depend on the owner’s terms of use and applicable data licenses, and whether the study is published in the Movebank Data Repository.

Read the Movebank General Terms of Use for more on how to use and refer to data stored in Movebank.

Cite Movebank studies

Most commonly, users will cite a Movebank study within the text and reference list of a paper or report.

Reference lists

For studies not published in the Movebank Data Repository, the owner might want you to cite related papers, datasets or research projects. Refer to the License Terms and Citations in the Study Details, and if possible confirm with the PI or contact for the study directly.

Studies published in the Movebank Data Repository have a DOI that serves as a persistent link to the data package and files as well as the recommended citations for both the data and paper describing it. See for the following example:

Slotow R, Thaker M, Vanak AT. 2019. Data from: Fine-scale tracking of ambient temperature and movement reveals shuttling behavior of elephants to water. Movebank Data Repository.

In-text citations

To cite studies not published in the Movebank Data Repository, it is best to include both the study name and the “Movebank ID” listed in the Study Details, along with the date accessed, for example

“The data used in this study were accessed from Movebank (, study name “Galapagos Tortoise Hatchling Study”, study ID 10700240) on [date].”

To cite studies published in the Movebank Data Repository, you can simply include the reference (e.g. “Slotow et al., 2019”) or a more complete description, for example

"The data used in this study are available on Movebank (, study name "ThermochronTracking Elephants Kruger 2007") and are published in the Movebank Data Repository (Slotow et al., 2019)."

Data availability statements

Users control access to their studies in Movebank, thus Movebank cannot guarantee long-term persistence of data or links unless they are published in the Movebank Data Repository. The following statements are modeled after those recommended by Springer-Nature and a research data policy framework drafted by the Research Data Alliance (Hrynaszkiewicz et al. 2019).

Example data availability statement for a published study:

“The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available in the Movebank Data Repository,[DOI] ([Authors, Year]).”

Example data availability statement for a non-published study:

“The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available due to [REASON(S)] but are stored at Movebank ( in the study “[study name]” (Movebank study ID [study ID]) and can be made available by the author upon reasonable request.”

The study name and ID are included in the Study Details of each study in Movebank.

Cite large numbers of studies

In collaborations involving many studies in Movebank, such as published meta-analyses or unpublished web-based tools, the content format or journal limits on the number of references might make it impossible to cite all participating studies and existing papers as described above. Examples of ways to include a longer list of citations or alternative acknowledgements include

  • Some journals allow a separate references list for the methods that might allow a full listing of citations for participating studies.

  • Web-based tools or products should include a page of acknowledgements or source information that lists citations as suggested above, or otherwise references participating studies and owners, including the DOIs of published datasets.

  • Including a full list in the supplemental materials of a paper should be used only as a last resort. References listed here are typically not recognized by search engines and other automated methods of recognizing data citation and re-use.

We welcome discussion with publishers and others about how to better support attribution for these types of projects. Please contact

Cite Movebank

The following citations can be used to refer to the Movebank platform, data model and vocabulary, rather than specific data within it:

Wikelski M, Davidson SC, Kays R. [year]. Movebank: archive, analysis and sharing of animal movement data. Hosted by the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior., accessed on [date].

Kranstauber B, Cameron A, Weinzierl R, Fountain T, Tilak S, Wikelski M, Kays R. 2011. The Movebank data model for animal tracking. Environmental Modelling & Software 26(6): 834–835.

Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior. 2019. Movebank Attribute Dictionary, Version 2. Natural Environment Research Council. accessed on [date].