CRUSOE: self-assessment and preparation for CoreTrustSeal certification for data repositories 

News from the Committee

CRUSOE supports data repository management personnel in the certification process to obtain a trusted data repository label. The tool is based on the CoreTrustSeal procedure. Version management means users can work collectively and progressively and the tool also enables the progress of their work to be displayed.

Preserving data for future reuse has always been a prime requirement for scientists whether the data is associated with publications or not. The increasing pace of data production has made this requirement even more urgent. The shift towards open science of course encourages the widest possible sharing of data and, combined with the technical possibilities for sharing data on the internet, represents an opportunity to reuse data and thus multiply its discovery potential.

An effective hardware and software infrastructure for data preservation and visibility like a data repository is required to make your data accessible for yourself and others. However, how do you know which repository to deposit your data in or which repository to go to for more data? Trust is one of the foundations of open science and is the raison d’être of data repository certification which labels repositories as ‘trustworthy’ after an assessment based on defined criteria and procedures.

This certification has to be carried out by an independent body and remain light enough to be achievable by research data repositories. This is why CoreTrustSeal (CTS) is gradually establishing itself as the most suitable procedure for the research data world. A CTS certification application involves providing responses to 16 criteria on a repository’s organisation, data management and technical infrastructure. A collective approach involving repository staff with different profiles and responsibilities is generally required to comply effectively with these criteria. CRUSOE is support tool for this whole process. The tool enables users to prepare their responses collectively and progressively (with the management of versions and attached documents) and provides displayed feedback of the level of compliance with the required criteria.


Display of the level achieved by a repository for each of the CoreTrustSeal criteria (each criterion can range from 0 to 4). 

The CTS certification criteria can also be used to evaluate and improve users’ own practices without actually going through the certification profess. The CTS criteria are reviewed every three years. There are still sixteen CTS criteria for the 2023-2025 period although several have been renamed. Also the levels are now restricted to the former levels 3 and 4. The 2020-2022 and 2023-2025 versions will co-exist in CRUSOE until applications submitted before the end of 2022 have received their final response and then the 2023-2025 version alone will be accessible.

The current version of CRUSOE was defined by the ‘Certification of Data Repositories and Services’ working group jointly managed by the Committee for Open Science’s Research Data College and RDA France. It has been developed and will be maintained by the Data Department at the Midi-Pyrénées Observatory (SEDOO) with financial support from the National Fund for Open Science. The current version derives from an initial version designed by SEDOO to respond to an emerging requirement. The software is free and open access, can be used online or downloaded and installed in the hosting solution of choice. User and developer documentation is available along with an English version.

This article was written by Gilles Ohanessian and Françoise Genova, co-leaders of the Committee for Open Science’s ‘Certification of Data Repositories and Services’ working group.