I must have been asleep this spring to have missed this interesting article, A Proposed Standard for the Scholarly Citation of Quantitative Data (M. Altman & G. King, D-Lib Magazine, March/April 2007, Volume 13 Number 3/4) which introduces a reasonable specification allowing the citation of quantitative data.
This is a needed specification, which will hopefully increase the real (and perceived) value of datasets to researchers, the people who evaluate them and the people who fund them. This allows datasets to be a measurable metric by which a researcher's performance can be measured: through usage and peer-review.
"We propose that citations to numerical data include, at a minimum, six required components. The first three components are traditional, directly paralleling print documents. ... Thus, we add three components using modern technology, each of which is designed to persist even when the technology changes: a unique global identifier, a universal numeric fingerprint, and a bridge service [emphasis added]. They are also designed to take advantage of the digital form of quantitative data.
An example of a complete citation, using this minimal version of the proposed standards, is as follows:
Micah Altman; Karin MacDonald; Michael P. McDonald, 2005, "Computer Use in Redistricting",
- Paskin, N. (2005) Digital Object Identifiers for scientific data. Data Science Journal Vol. 4 Paskin, N. pp.12-20.
- Kahn, R., Wilensky, R. (2006). A framework for distributed digital object services. International Journal on Digital Libraries, 6(2), 115-123. DOI: 10.1007/s00799-005-0128-x