Stellenbosch University (SU) is pleased to announce that its data repository has been certified as a Trustworthy Data Repository for the next two years by the CoreTrustSeal Standards and Certification Board. Officially referred to as SUNScholarData, our data repository becomes one of 107 data repositories worldwide to receive the CoreTrustSeal stamp of approval and one of three in South Africa and the whole of Africa. As far as we are concerned, we are the first university library to get the well sought after certification for a data repository in the whole of Africa!
Dillo and Louw (2018) explain the criticality of being a certified repository as follows:Being a certified repository has several external and internal benefits. It for instance improves the quality and transparency of internal processes, increases awareness of and compliance with established standards, builds stakeholder confidence, enhances the reputation of the repository, and demonstrates that the repository is following good practices. It is also offering a benchmark for comparison and helps to determine the strengths and weaknesses of a repository.
For the Library, applying for a CoreTrustSeal certification was the last action of the collaborative ilifu project which involved all four public universities of the Western Cape. Ilifu aimed to provide data infrastructure for researchers at the four universities. The application process for this kind of certification is an engaging, rigorous and nontrivial process that helped us to evaluate our own internal processes against expected standards and made us think deeper about the sustainability of our data repository. The process also helped us to be more aware of our weaknesses and strengths.
Thanks to this certification, SU researchers can now be assured that their data is deposited in a certified trustworthy repository. Previously, many researchers expressed reservations about sharing their research data fearing for the safety of their datasets. In a world beset with horror stories of data manipulators and data thieves, the library always wondered if simply informing researchers that the data repository was sustainable and trustworthy was good enough. However, with this certification we can now proudly pronounce that we are certified by a neutral international agency as a trustworthy repository. Our certification is a demonstration of how the library conforms to the University's value of excellence.
Author: Dr Siviwe Bangani
Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service, Helpline Numbers: +27 21 808 4883, Corp Office / Postal Address: Private Bag X5036 Stellenbosch, 7599