Personal tools


Certification Working Group

  • Lesley Rickards (UK; PSMSL, WDS-SC)
  • Mary Vardigan (USA; ICPSR, DSA Board)                                                              
Case Statement: available here.
Group Forum: available here.

CertificationThe Data Seal of Approval (DSA) and the ICSU World Data System (ICSU-WDS) are two examples of organizations that have set up core certification mechanisms for trusted digital repositories. Their catalogues of requirements and review procedures are based on the same principles of openness, transparency, and balancing simplicity and robustness of the work and effort involved. The two standards have evolved and operated independently, however. The primary focus of DSA has been on digital repositories in the Humanities and Social Sciences, whereas the focus of ICSU-WDS has been on Earth and Space Sciences for historical reasons. Nevertheless, both initiatives have fully multidisciplinary missions.

By reconciling the fundamental and lightweight certification mechanisms of DSA and ICSU-WDS, this Working Group (WG) will seek to simplify the array of certification options, and show the value to be gained from a certification procedure requiring relatively low investment of time and effort.

In early 2013, a first DSA–WDS WG on Certification  was started, which was subsequently endorsed on 21 May, 2014 by the Research Data Alliance (RDA) as the Repository Audit and Certification DSA–WDS Partnership WG.


The Working Group has thus far produced the following two deliverables, which are currently under RDA Community Review before they become RDA Recommendations. The WG's third deliverable of a testbed is currently underway, and a report of its outcomes will also be posted for Community Review very soon.

DSA–WDS Catalogue of Common Requirements

The Common Requirements are expected to replace the current certification catalogues of the Data Seal of Approval and the ICSU World Data System, and include an introduction on the benefits of certification, a background, all guidance text, and a glossary.

Common Procedures for Core Certification

The Common Procedures outline the joint certification process agreed by the DSA and ICSU-WDS to certify both new candidates and their existing communities using the Common Requirements. This document represents the initial stage in forming a framework for core certification by the two organizations.