The TRUST Principles: An RDA Community Effort

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18 May 2020 4138 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. CODATA Center for Excellence in Data for Society at the University of Arizona
  8. Comisión de Investigaciones Cientificas
  9. CoMSES
  10. CoreTrustSeal
  11. Cornell Center for Social Sciences CISER Data Archive
  12. DataONE
  13. Data Archive and Network Services (DANS), The Netherlands
  14. Digital Repository of Ireland
  15. Dryad
  16. Dutch Digital Heritage Network
  17. Figshare
  18. Finish Social Science Data Archive
  19. GigaScience
  20. ICPSR
  21. International Association for Social Science Information Service and Technology (IASSIST)
  22. Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity (KNB)
  23. Laboratory for Research of Individual Differences (LIRA)
  24. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH
  25. Nestor
  26. Ocean Networks Canada
  27. Odum Institute UNC-Chapel Hill
  28. Open Preservation Foundation
  30. Portage
  31. Research Data Access and Preservation Association (RDAP)
  32. Research Data Canada / Données de recherche Canada
  33. Springer Nature
  34. Stanford Libraries
  35. TIB Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology University Library
  36. Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina
  37. University of Arizona Libraries
  38. Virginia Tech University Libraries
  39. Vivli
  40. World Data Center for Climate (WDCC), German Climate Computing Center (DKRZ), Hamburg, Germany.
  41. 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