The purpose of this guide is to help the administrators of data collections in Dataverse-based repositories and those considering using Dataverse apply for the CoreTrustSeal (CTS) certification.
This guide describes how the core functionality and design principles of the latest released version of the Dataverse software, as well as the Dataverse community itself, can help the administrators of data collections in Dataverse-based repositories complete the CTS application’s 21 sections.
Scope of this guide
Challenges for generalist repositories
CTS certification is geared toward repositories with well-defined designated communities. On the other hand, Dataverse-based repositories that follow “generalist” or “centralized institutional” models, publishing data from a wide variety of disciplines and communities, will have difficulty ensuring curation of such widely-varied data at a level that the certification requires. To address this, some collections (or dataverses) within these Dataverse installations have obtained CTS certification instead, such as the Tilburg University Dataverse within DataverseNL.
Thinking beyond the software
The software’s functionality alone should not be relied upon to meet the CTS requirements. For example, CTS certification requires that repositories describe their processes, policies, and expertise, usually in public-facing documents, and that they document steps for preserving data using archival-level storage formats. While the software’s features and its integrations with other software can aid in meeting these requirements (e.g. for deposited tabular data in proprietary file formats like SPSS and Microsoft Excel’s XLSX, the Dataverse software can create archival-friendly tabular file formats), the software does not help with the more important tasks of developing and documenting processes, policies, and curatorial expertise.
Groups applying for certification should start by reviewing the certification’s Extended Guidance 2020–2022 (version 2.0). Groups might also benefit from reviewing answers from the successful applications of other collections in Dataverse-based repositories. This guide includes answers from three of these successful applications.
Considering the Dataverse software version
Lastly, this guide describes core functionality and design principles present in the most recent version of the Dataverse software - version 5.1.1 as of this writing - which may not be present in previous software versions.