Certification is a sign of trust that benefits a data repository in many ways. How can your repository achieve certification, and how can SSHOC support you with this goal?
On 23 April 2020, SSHOC task 8.2 held the webinar “How to improve the quality of your repository? SSHOC and certification of repositories”, focusing on the certification of digital repositories and how a repository can apply for the CoreTrustSeal. The webinar also touched upon how SSHOC will be able support repositories seeking certification.
Mari Kleemola from the Finnish Social Science Data Archive hosted the webinar along with the speaker René van Horik from DANS in the Netherlands. René discussed the importance of certification, what the CoreTrustSeal certification process entails and how SSHOC can assist a repository in acquiring the CoreTrustSeal.
A total of 61 people registered for the webinar, representing 46 different organizations from 25 countries around the world. Participants included researchers as well as data service staff at universities, research infrastructures, research libraries and archives. We received many brilliant questions from the audience concerning the certification process and requirements for applying. In addition to Mari and René, the audience’s questions were addressed by our panel comprising Herve L’Hours from UK Data Archive, Emiliano Degl’Innocenti from the National Research Council of Italy (CNR), and Tuomas J. Alaterä from the Finnish Social Science Data Archive. The Q&A session is also included in the webinar recording, which is available on the SSHOC YouTube channel.
During the webinar we discussed that data created and used by scientists should be managed, curated, and archived in such a way to preserve the initial investment in collecting them. Sustainability of repositories raises a number of challenging issues in different areas: organizational, technical, financial, legal, etc.
Certification can be an important contribution to ensuring the reliability and durability of data repositories and hence the potential for sharing data over a long period of time. By becoming certified, repositories can demonstrate to both their service users and their funders that an independent authority has evaluated them and endorsed their trustworthiness.
CoreTrustSeal is a community-based organization that offers certification for data repositories around the globe, with over 80 past certifications. Through the certification of repositories, they promote quality data curation, long-term access to reusable data and trust and confidence in data repositories. The trustworthiness of a repository is assessed using 16 requirements relating to organizational infrastructure, digital object management and technology.
A CoreTrustSeal certificate verifies that the repository preserves data objects in a sustainable way. This means that information about the data can be found on the internet, that the data are accessible (taking into account relevant legislation with regard to personal information and intellectual property), that the data are available in a usable format and preserved for the long term, that the data are reliable and that the data can be referred to by means of identifiers. These criteria have a strong connection to the FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship that aim to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Re-usable.
The Social Sciences and Humanities Open Cloud can help a repository with the process of acquiring the CoreTrustSeal in a number of ways. Firstly, we can assist the repository in the certification process by explaining the procedure to acquire the CoreTrustSeal. Secondly, we will be able to provide guidance in filling in the application. Thirdly, in some cases, we can review and give feedback on a repository’s self-assessment before they submit their application to CoreTrustSeal.
For these support activities, we can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Task 8.2 also plans to organise Trust Workshops aligned with events related to SSHOC communities. To stay up to date on certification-related SSHOC news and events, please join the Trust Support mailing list!
For more information about certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories, see the deliverable D8.2 Certification plan for SSHOC repositories.