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  • Group Focus: Not Applicable
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  • Group Description

    The Community-based catalogue of requirements for trustworthy Technical Repository Service Providers Working Group (TRSPs 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 such as ISO and CoreTrustSeal, to a wider group. The working group will focus on three aspects of extension:

    • Firstly, many generalist repositories cannot currently be certified by any of the existing authorities – with typical impediments often involving specialised curation and appraisal capabilities, lack of long-term preservation services, repository sustainability, and the cost and burden of paperwork associated with the certification process. Some repositories will adequately provide some elements of what can be expected of a trustworthy repository, and it is in the interest of the community to be informed about the status of the repositories for these elements (e.g., criteria-level modular certification).
    • Secondly, some elements of service – especially long-term preservation – can be outsourced, and there are benefits to this – economy of scale being an obvious one. Repositories seeking certification at present have to certify such services individually for each application event. It is more efficient to certify the service and for repositories using such a service to reference such a certification.
    • Thirdly, the level of performance expected by certification authorities sets the bar at a high level of maturity, and this results in an inability to recognise and encourage repositories that are in a process of improving performance. The community has no information on the status of repositories’ work towards these criteria since the certification processes are binary and encompassing (i.e., all included criteria must be met). Repository funders, journals, and researchers interested in depositing or reusing data will benefit from mechanisms that publicise performance assessment at the criteria level even though certification is considered or in process. This consideration requires careful balancing: on the one hand, it is clearly beneficial to know more about non-certified repositories and services, but one also has to retain the driving force towards formal certification. Metadata-driven criteria-level modular performance assessments can also reduce the cost of certification and the time between repository actions and certification of those actions.

    The main outcomes expected for the working group are the following:

    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. The current portfolio of criteria for all authorities are based on OAIS-RM. There may be additional criteria that are important – e.g., expected by CARE, privacy concerns, and reproducibility – that are also worth evaluating in the same process.
    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 formal and informal criteria whereby an appropriate repository or service is typically selected by stakeholders in their context (e.g., 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, decentralized certification.

    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.

    This group will build on related work done in multiple contexts. Specifically, we will consider the work of several groups who have developed schema for classifying “trust” in repositories, such as CoreTrustSeal, Nestor, POSI, and ISO. This list will be further extended through the landscape analysis. We have begun to accumulate internationally recognized certification criteria and related outputs from RDA and the international community to review in a Zotero library.

    This WG began as a BoF at the RDA 21st plenary session at IDW2023. This group is currently finalizing the first case statement for submission to the RDA TAB. We have submitted a proposal for a WG session at the RDA 22nd plenary session happening in May 2024 and encourage all interested community members to attend and/or to contact the WG co-chairs in the meantime.

  • Group Email

  • Group Type: Working Group
  • Group Status: Pending Submission
  • Co-Chair(s): Wim HUGO, Lauren Maxwell, Max Wilkinson, Mohan Ramamurthy, Allyson Lister

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