In Repositories we trust …!

NeDICC in collaboration with Science Forum South Africa hosted a workshop on 5 December 2017 at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria on certification for trusted digital repositories, titled “In Repositories we trust…!

The workshop was presented by presented by Mr Wim Hugo, Chief Data and Information Officer, SAEON, and was attended by 36 representatives from institutions across South Africa, which included ASSAf, CSIR, Eskom Kriel Power Station, the Heritage Foundation, HSRC, NECSA, Sefako Mekgato University, Stellenbosch University, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria, UNISA, University of the Western Cape, Vaal University of Technology, the University of the Witwatersrand, and even a representative from the Limpopo Office of the Premier.

Mr Niklas Zimmer (UCT), the current Chair of NeDICC, welcomed attendees and kicked off the workshop with an introduction on why certification for repositories may be important, and then introduced Mr Hugo.


The first session included an overview of what certification is, as well as certification requirements. Mr Hugo explained that the certification for WDS, Data Seal of Approval and Core Trust Seal of Approval had merged. He also discussed matters such as discoverability, mature data management, re-usability, metadata, legal interoperability, different types of users (e.g. researchers, data centres, institutions, and the public), domain-specific guidance, and the minimum set of documentation for certification. He further mentioned that the certification is valid for three (3) years, after which the repository needs to be re-assessed. Each repository is evaluated by two reviewers: either members of the Core Trust Seal Board, or by appointed panel members.




In the sessions that followed, the attendees were divided into four (4) facilitated discussion groups groups. Mr Hugo systematically worked through all of The Core Trust Seal requirements.


Each group then had to identify an example, and evaluate the example against each requirement, discussing it amongst themselves and then giving feedback to the entire group. This was in turn followed by the expert input and further insights from Mr Hugo. Session 2 covered CoreTrustSeal Requirements 1-6, focusing on Organisational Infrastructure; Session 3 Requirements 7-14 (Digital Object Management), and Session 4 Requirements 15-16, (Software and hardware infrastructure).

The workshop proved to be a great success, and was of much value to all attendees. It was unanimously felt that the knowledge and insights gained will be of immense value in the data curation community in South Africa. Most attendees realized that there is still a lot of work to be done, and that the CoreTrustSeal requirements will assist the community to address the gaps in their various organisational initiatives (including policies, staff roles, workflows, as well as hard- and software installations), that would hinder the certification of their repositories. All attendees left with a wide range of goals to work towards.

<Workshop programme and material link to;

In repositories we trust …!

Data repositories play an essential role in enabling FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) custodianship of research data. This implies an inherent mandate of trustworthiness.

Trusted Digital Repositories …

  • give researchers the assurance that their data will be cared for,
  • provide funding bodies with the confidence that research data which they fund, will remain available for reuse,
  • enable researchers to reliably assess the data they want to reuse.

NeDICC, in collaboration with SFSA hosts the “In repositories we trust …!” workshop on 5 December 2017 at the CSIR International Convention Centre (CSIR ICC) in Pretoria. The intention is to expand the South African data community’s experience in trusted repository certification.

The CoreTrustSeal standard for certification is hot off the press – giving us the opportunity to attempt to comply with the NRF requirement of giving researchers access to trusted repositories. The aim of the workshop is to understand the certification process and the requirements, as well as to prepare a draft submission for certification. This will assist those repositories that have reached maturity to apply for certification and those who are not yet able to do so to plan and progress towards compliance.

Upon registration you will be provided with workshop material. It is expected that participants would at least have attempted to complete the submission template by the 5 December and have sourced the evidential material, such as institutional policies related to the certification criteria. The workshop time will be used to address specific concerns and to also share possible responses in cases where these responses are not obvious. Please bring along your own laptops.

The workshop will be presented by Mr Wim Hugo (Chief Data and Information Officer at SAEON) and Niklas Zimmer (Manager: Digital Library Services, UCT).

The workshop is free of charge.

Please register online at for the workshop. Registration will close by 24 November. The first 40 delegates to register will be accommodated. You will receive confirmation of attendance via email. If you have registered, but are unable to attend, please inform Lucia Lotter ( by 24 November. Keep in mind that you will be charged a cancellation fee in case of a no-show.

The workshop is a side event to the Science Forum South Africa ( ) which takes place on
7-8 December. It will be worthwhile to attend.

In repositories we trust …!

5 December 2017


Time Activity   Responsibility
08:30 – 09:00 Registration  
09:00 – 09:15 Welcome and introduction: “Why certify?” Niklas Zimmer
09:15 – 10:00 What certification means; an overview of certification requirements Wim Hugo
10:00 – 10:30 CoreTrustSeal Requirements 0 – 8 (complete, discuss and evaluate) Wim Hugo
10:30 – 11:00 Comfort break  
11:00 – 12:30 CoreTrustSeal Requirements 0 – 8 (complete, discuss and evaluate) Wim Hugo
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch (sponsored)  
13:30 – 15:30 CoreTrustSeal Requirements 9 – 16 (complete, discuss and evaluate) Wim Hugo
15:30 – 16:00 General discussion and closure Niklas Zimmer

The ICSU World Data System (ICSU-WDS) and the Data Seal of Approval (DSA) are pleased to announce the launch of a new certification organization: CoreTrustSeal

The CoreTrustSeal Board offers all interested data repositories a core-level certification based on the DSA–WDS Core Trustworthy Data Repositories Requirements catalogue and procedures. CoreTrustSeal Data Repository certification replaces the DSA certification and the WDS certification of Regular Members.

The CoreTrustSeal is a community-based nonprofit organization promoting sustainable and trustworthy data infrastructures. It is governed by a Standards and Certification Board consisting of members drawn from the Assembly of Reviewers (by election) and the wider repositories stakeholders (appointed).

We are driven by our commitments to offer professional certification tools and services to data repositories and to support our voluntary qualified reviewers to conduct audits under optimal conditions’ said Mustapha Mokrane, Chair of the ad hoc CoreTrustSeal Standards and Certification Board. CoreTrustSeal is developing a sustainable business model and as an initial step, will start charging a modest fee to cover administrative costs as of January 2018.

The CoreTrustSeal certification is envisioned as the initial level in a global framework for repository certification that also includes the extended and formal levels. Ultimately, the CoreTrustSeal will endeavour to provide core-level certification for other research entities such as data services and software.

For more information check out the CoreTrustSeal website

Sustaining open research resources – a funder perspective

The Office of Scholarly Communication at Cambridge has published the second blog post in a series of three about sustainable open resources. David Carr from the Wellcome Trust has authored this post and provides the view of a research funder on the challenges of developing and sustaining the key infrastructures needed to enable open research.

For More information please visit:

Formalised data citation practices would encourage more authors to make their data available for reuse

It is increasingly common for researchers to make their data freely available. This is often a requirement of funding agencies but also consistent with the principles of open science, according to which all research data should be shared and made available for reuse. Once data is reused, the researchers who have provided access to it should be acknowledged for their contributions, much as authors are recognized for their publications through citation. 

For more information please visit: