The TRUST Principles - An RDA Community Effort

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18 May 2020

The TRUST Principles - An RDA Community Effort

-- See for updated list of endorsers --

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