The TRUST Principles: An RDA Community Effort

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18 May 2020 8759 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. Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC)
  4. The Arctic Data Center
  5. Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) 
  6. Carnegie Mellon University Libraries
  7. Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), The Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, USA.
  8. China National GeneBank (CNGB), China
  9. CODATA Center for Excellence in Data for Society at the University of Arizona
  10. Comisión de Investigaciones Cientificas
  11. CoMSES
  12. CoreTrustSeal
  13. Cornell Center for Social Sciences CISER Data Archive
  14. DataONE
  15. Data Archive and Network Services (DANS), The Netherlands
  16. Digital Repository of Ireland
  17. Dryad
  18. Dutch Digital Heritage Network
  19. Figshare
  20. Finish Social Science Data Archive
  21. GigaScience
  22. ICPSR
  23. International Association for Social Science Information Service and Technology (IASSIST)
  24. Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity (KNB)
  25. Laboratory for Research of Individual Differences (LIRA)
  26. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH
  27. Nestor
  28. Ocean Networks Canada
  29. Odum Institute UNC-Chapel Hill
  30. Open Preservation Foundation
  32. Portage
  33. Research Data Access and Preservation Association (RDAP)
  34. Research Data Canada / Données de recherche Canada
  35. Science Data Bank (ScienceDB)
  36. Springer Nature
  37. Stanford Libraries
  38. TIB Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology University Library
  39. Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina
  40. University of Arizona Libraries
  41. Virginia Tech University Libraries
  42. Vivli
  43. World Data Center for Climate (WDCC), German Climate Computing Center (DKRZ), Hamburg, Germany.
  44. 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