As many of you will have seen on social media last month, it is with great pleasure that the ADS can announce that it has been awarded CoreTrustSeal (CSA) certification. This is a massive achievement for a small digital repository, based out of four small rooms in the ‘tumbledown’ King’s Manor in York (well at least under ‘normal’ circumstances) and represents the culmination of many hours, weeks and months of hard work by all repository staff.
What is CoreTrustSeal certification? I hear you ask. The CoreTrustSeal (CTS), a non-profit consortium of the Data Seal of Approval (DSA) and the World Data System (WDS), and under the umbrella of the Research Data Alliance (RDA), provides a core standard for data repositories, based on the DSA-WDS Core Trustworthy Data Repositories Requirements, against which archives are assessed.
What is the CoreTrustSeal accreditation for? The 16 requirements of the certification are intended to safeguard data, by ensuring that data within the certified repository is findable, accessible, available in a reliable and consistent manner, available in suitable formats and that data can be effectively referenced. The certification ensures that suitable and resilient processes, procedures, and practices are in place that ensures the long-term preservation, storage, access, and management of data.
What are the benefits of the CoreTrustSeal? As such the certification gives depositors confidence that their data is being preserved and maintained in a reliable and sustainable manner. It gives funding agencies assurances that the outputs of funded research will be both maintained and disseminated not simply today, but into the future. Increases certainty amongst data consumers so that they know resources are findable, accessible, and can be referenced in a sustainable manner. It helps construct a ‘community’ ethos amongst archives ensuring that consistent standards are being employed, and building networks of support amongst repositories. Perhaps most importantly, it affords repositories confidence that the policies and practices are ‘fit for purpose’.
What does CoreTrustSeal certification involve? Digital repositories must complete a thorough self-assessment based on the sixteen requirements of the certification, and make an assessment of the appropriate levels of compliance for each condition, with written responses and documentation to support the assessment. On completion of the responses, the self-assessment is submitted to the two peer reviewers to evaluate the statements. A detailed assessment takes place after which are the application can be modified with additional documentation provided to respond to any concerns identified by reviewers. Once the reviewers and applicant are happy then the application will go forward to the CoreTrustSeal Board for ratification. In the interests of transparency the application form, alongside any evidence and the peer review comments, are made publicly available on the CTS website. You can find all the ADS’ responses here (no peeking mind).
How long does CoreTrustSeal certification last? 3 years, so the ADS is already planning for the update in 2023.
The award makes the ADS the 90th repository worldwide to receive the CoreTrustSeal, and the 5th in the UK. It is really flattering to be in the same company as the UK Data Archive, The National Geoscience Data Centre, DANS, Digital Repository of Ireland, and many others and builds on previous achievements including the awarding of the Data Seal of Approval in 2011, 2013 and 2016.