The TRUST Principles: An RDA Community Effort

You are here

18 May 2020 6473 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. CODATA Center for Excellence in Data for Society at the University of Arizona
  9. Comisión de Investigaciones Cientificas
  10. CoMSES
  11. CoreTrustSeal
  12. Cornell Center for Social Sciences CISER Data Archive
  13. DataONE
  14. Data Archive and Network Services (DANS), The Netherlands
  15. Digital Repository of Ireland
  16. Dryad
  17. Dutch Digital Heritage Network
  18. Figshare
  19. Finish Social Science Data Archive
  20. GigaScience
  21. ICPSR
  22. International Association for Social Science Information Service and Technology (IASSIST)
  23. Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity (KNB)
  24. Laboratory for Research of Individual Differences (LIRA)
  25. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH
  26. Nestor
  27. Ocean Networks Canada
  28. Odum Institute UNC-Chapel Hill
  29. Open Preservation Foundation
  31. Portage
  32. Research Data Access and Preservation Association (RDAP)
  33. Research Data Canada / Données de recherche Canada
  34. Science Data Bank (ScienceDB)
  35. Springer Nature
  36. Stanford Libraries
  37. TIB Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology University Library
  38. Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina
  39. University of Arizona Libraries
  40. Virginia Tech University Libraries
  41. Vivli
  42. World Data Center for Climate (WDCC), German Climate Computing Center (DKRZ), Hamburg, Germany.
  43. 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