The TRUST Principles: An RDA Community Effort

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18 May 2020 1981 reads

An RDA community effort has led to the development and publication, in Nature Research’s Scientific Data, of the article, “The TRUST Principles for digital repositories”. These principles offer guidance for maintaining the trustworthiness of digital repositories, especially those responsible for the stewardship of research data. Guidance for each of the TRUST Principles is reproduced below.


The TRUST Principles


Principle Guidance for Repositories
Transparency To be transparent about specific repository services and data holdings that are verifiable by publicly accessible evidence.
Responsibility To be responsible for ensuring the authenticity and integrity of data holdings and for the reliability and persistence of its service.
User Focus To ensure that the data management norms and expectations of target user communities are met.
Sustainability To sustain services and preserve data holdings for the long-term.
Technology To provide infrastructure and capabilities to support secure, persistent, and reliable services.

Source: Lin et al., 2020. The TRUST Principles for Digital Repositories. Scientific Data

The concept of the TRUST Principles was initiated within discussions among RDA members and formally launched as a community discussion during the RDA 13th Plenary session, “RDA/WDS Certification of Digital Repositories: Build TRUST to be FAIR - Emerging Needs of Certification in Life Sciences, Geosciences and Humanities”, which was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA on 4 April 2019. Since those early discussions, several RDA community members, representing diverse disciplines, collaboratively explored these issues. This community collaboration led to the publication of “The TRUST Principles for digital repositories” in Scientific Data, a Nature Journal.

The TRUST Principles have already been endorsed by a variety of organizations that are committed to the stewardship of digital resources and, in particular, digital research data. Some of the organizations that already have endorsed the TRUST Principles have offered statements to support their endorsements. Dr. Robert S. Chen, a RDA member and Director of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at The Earth Institute of Columbia University, notes, "The TRUST Principles will help us ensure that detailed data about the past and present are preserved and accessible to both science and society in the long run--data that are vital to understanding, predicting, and adapting to a rapidly changing future."

Other organizations also are invited to endorse the TRUST Principles and may contact enquiries[at] in order to do so.

  1. 4TU.ResearchData
  2. American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  3. The Arctic Data Center
  4. Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) 
  5. Carnegie Mellon University Libraries
  6. Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), The Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, USA.
  7. Comisión de Investigaciones Cientificas
  8. CODATA Center for Excellence in Data for Society at the University of Arizona
  9. CoreTrustSeal
  10. DataONE
  11. Data Archive and Network Services (DANS), The Netherlands
  12. Digital Repository of Ireland
  13. Dryad
  14. Dutch Digital Heritage Network
  15. Figshare
  16. Finish Social Science Data Archive
  17. GigaScience
  18. Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity (KNB)
  19. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH
  20. Nestor
  21. Odum Institute UNC-Chapel Hill
  22. Open Preservation Foundation
  24. Portage
  25. Springer Nature
  26. Research Data Access and Preservation Association (RDAP)
  27. Research Data Canada / Données de recherche Canada
  28. TIB Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology University Library
  29. University of Arizona Libraries
  30. Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina
  31. Virginia Tech University Libraries
  32. World Data Center for Climate (WDCC), German Climate Computing Center (DKRZ), Hamburg, Germany.
  33. World Data System


Useful Links and Resources:

  • TRUST Principles Mini Symposium, convened by RDA | DRC | July 7, 2020 Powerpoint Deck Part 1 | Part 2  Video