Trustworthy Digital Repository

What makes a repository trustworthy?

A trusted digital repository is one whose mission is to provide reliable, long-term access to managed digital resources to its designated community, now and in the future.

Definition in Trusted Digital Repositories: Attributes and Responsibilities. An RLG-OCLC Report

Apollo is the institutional repository of the University of Cambridge. Apollo's core mission is to provide access, store and preserve the University’s research outputs for the long term. Apollo underpins the commitment of the University of Cambridge to preserve for the long-term and provide access to its research as widely as possible in order to contribute to society as well as to academic advancement.

CoreTrustSeal Certification

Apollo achieved the CoreTrustSeal certification in May 2023. CoreTrustSeal is a peer-reviewed certification that measures our application against its Trustworthy Data Repositories Requirements catalogue and procedures.

CoreTrustSeal (CTS) is an international, community based, non-governmental, and non-profit organization promoting sustainable and trustworthy data infrastructures. The CoreTrustSeal, launched in 2017, defines requirements and offers core level certification for Trustworthy Data Repositories holding data for long-term preservation. It is the culmination of a cooperative effort between the Data Seal of Approval (DSA) and the World Data System of the International Science Council (WDS), under the umbrella of the Research Data Alliance (RDA), to harmonize their data repository certifications.

What does this mean for Apollo?

CoreTrustSeal is a self-assessment status for repositories, awarded based on meeting 16 requirements that reflect the characteristics of trustworthy repositories. The self-assessment has involved a detailed appraisal of our policies, internal procedures and documentation and has led to substantial improvements, and further development and enhancement of our public documentation and users guidance.

Following certification, we are in a much stronger position to demonstrate the value of Apollo to key internal stakeholders, as well as our research communities. More importantly, CTS provides us with the opportunity to not only demonstrate the trustworthiness and robustness of the systems and processes involved in curating, making available, and preserving the University’s research outputs for the long-term, but also to meet funder requirements which are increasingly requiring more open practices and the deposit of publicly funded outputs in repositories with a trustworthy status.

Relevant standards of trust

The CoreTrustSeal certification is envisioned as the first step in a global framework for repository certification which includes the extended level certification (nestor-Seal DIN 31644) and the formal level certification (ISO 16363). Ultimately, CoreTrustSeal will also endeavour to provide core level certification for other research entities such as data services and software.

Further information


We would like to acknowledge the support of FAIRsFAIR in our CoreTrustSeal certification journey. In 2020 Apollo was selected for FAIRsFAIR Trust & FAIR certification support. FAIRsFAIR is playing a key role in the contribution to policies and practices for broader adoption of FAIR practices, and in the development of standards for FAIR certification of repositories. Through an Open Call run between July and August 2019, Apollo was chosen by FAIRsFAIR to be supported on the path towards achieving CoreTrustSeal certification.