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Criteria and Certification for trustworthy Technical Repository Service Providers

13 FEB 2024

Collaborative session notes

Group(s) submitting the application: 

Community-based catalogue of requirements for trustworthy Technical Repository Service Providers Working Group (TRSPs WG)

Meeting objectives: 

The RDA Community-based catalogue of requirements for trustworthy Technical Repository Service Providers working group (TRSP WG) will address a significant need in the community of data repositories and associated services worldwide: how to extend the umbrella of trust, as exemplified by formal certification authorities, to a wider group, specifically repository service providers. 

TRSPs are an important group of stakeholders as they offer products and services which either directly provide technical systems or otherwise provide partnership and support to repository services. These actors have always been a critical part of the data eco-system and this WG will work to serve their needs. The creation of a catalogue of requirements for TRSPs would complement the current portfolio of certified repositories and would potentially streamline the process of certifying data repositories. 

The working group will focus on the following aspects of extension:

  1. Modular certification recommendations that capture the status and level of certification for repositories and service providers;
  2. Increased efficiency in repository certification, such that a service is certified once and repositories using the service can reference the service certification.

The WG goals lead to the following intended deliverables:

  1. Through community consultation and a scoping review, compile an inventory of performance expectations for repositories and related services, and map these to the portfolio of existing criteria applied by the certification authorities. We will use this mapping in combination with stakeholder consultations to verify importance to the community, and to identify gaps. 
  2. Based on community input and scoping review, develop a conceptual model of the actors and service providers in the ecosystem.
  3. Within the same community consultation process, determine the criteria whereby an appropriate repository or service will be selected, based on the context of the end user (scientific discipline, institutional affiliation, country, data formats, etc.).
  4. Through a process of community engagement, determine which of the selected criteria should apply to generalist repositories, to services, other actors, and what level of performance can be expected of different actors in the ecosystem. 
  5. Determine, through stakeholder consultation, priorities for criteria implementation and identify metadata that can be associated with the implementation of each criteria to facilitate modular, decentralised certification.

The case statement for the TRSPs WG has been submitted to RDA for endorsement. It is anticipated that work will have commenced before this session.

Our objectives for this session are:

  1. Confirm and showcase the scope and intended deliverables of the WG
  2. Discuss the work plan and  tasks for the WG, and gain an understanding of interested RDA members that can contribute to the tasks. 
  3. Identify a comprehensive pool of certification authorities and formal criteria in community use for data repositories and repository service providers
  4. Identify informal criteria used by attendees to select data repositories and services to use
  5. Gather suggestions for repository service providers to engage with

Meeting agenda: 

Target Audience: 

Data repositories, service providers, certification authorities

Group chair serving as contact person: 

CJ Woodford

Brief introduction describing the activities and scope of the group: 

The needs of TRSPs and data repositories at large are not fully met by current certification authorities, leading to less repositories being certified than are actually trustworthy, what “trustworthy” means in specific and general contexts, as well as a lack of understanding on where developing repositories and services are in their process to becoming trustworthy and/or certified. Through this WG, significant extension of the scale of certification will become feasible, alleviating the current situation where less than 5% of registered data repositories are certified. 

Efficiency of certification will improve, since component services can be certified once, and that certification can be referenced by potentially many repositories in addition to modular, decentralised certification based on repository metadata may be possible for some criteria. End users will be presented with more information on a wider choice of target repositories for their context, since it will become feasible to provide information that reflects part compliance with full certification – which in many cases will be adequate, and obtain guidance to identify the most appropriate repository for their context. A community consensus on selecting the most appropriate repository or service for a given context will promote the investment and (re)use of the highest-performance service that meets user needs within that context.

Alongside the requirements and differentiated assessment process, the group would also consider levels of compliance and any minimum expectations that should be applied. The group is open to considering perspectives from other trustworthy certification standards, best practices, and principles to represent various global viewpoints. Criteria at the dataset level will not be considered.

The working group recognises, but specifically excludes, similar needs associated with other research outputs (e.g., code, semantic artefacts, etc.), while recognising that these outputs need to be considered when developing recommendations – so as to maximise the reusability of criteria and levels of performance for other outputs.

The working group will publish a set of modular trustworthiness performance expectations for data repositories and related services (recommendations), and supplementary materials derived from the scoping review and community consultation.

Short Group Status: 

This Working Group is one of the Pilot Working Groups of the RDA TIGER project. This WG has submitted its case statement for endorsement, and at the time of this proposal submission, is being reviewed for endorsement.

The members of the proposed Working Group had a preliminary meeting to discuss the overall aims, scope, and (potential) WG members and stakeholders of the Group and to formulate an application for a BoF session at the P21. At the P21 BoF session, the group engaged stakeholders, further discussed the aims of the Group, identified co-chairs, and revised this case statement before submission. A mailing list, and process for scheduling future meetings was established to engage interested community members.  Co-chairs were identified in late 2023. Co-chair meetings occurred in December 2023, January 2024, and February 2024 to finalise the case statement from the feedback provided at RDA21 and prepare for a RDA22 session.

Type of Meeting: 

Working meeting

Additional links to informative material: 

BoF session at RDA21

Zotero library (certification authorities and criteria standards to review)

Avoid conflict with the following group (1): 

RDA/WDS Certification of Digital Repositories IG

Avoid conflict with the following group (2): 

GORC International Model WG

Meeting presenters: 

WG chairs

Are you willing to host a second, repeat, session at a different time zone?: