May 25, 2022

Research Article: “Recommended versus Certified Repositories: Mind the Gap”

The following article was recently published by the Data Science Journal.


Recommended versus Certified Repositories: Mind the Gap


Sean Edward Husen
Leiden University

Zoë G. de Wilde
Leiden University

Anita de Waard

Helena Cousijn


Data Science Journal (16)
Published on: September 4, 2016
doi: 10.5334/dsj-2017-042


Researchers are increasingly required to make research data publicly available in data repositories. Although several organisations propose criteria to recommend and evaluate the quality of data repositories, there is no consensus of what constitutes a good data repository. In this paper, we investigate, first, which data repositories are recommended by various stakeholders (publishers, funders, and community organizations) and second, which repositories are certified by a number of organisations. We then compare these two lists of repositories, and the criteria for recommendation and certification.

We find that criteria used by organisations recommending and certifying repositories are similar, although the certification criteria are generally more detailed. We distil the lists of criteria into seven main categories: “Mission”, “Community/Recognition”, “Legal and Contractual Compliance”, “Access/Accessibility”, “Technical Structure/Interface”, “Retrievability” and “Preservation”. Although the criteria are similar, the lists of repositories that are recommended by the various agencies are very different. Out of all of the recommended repositories, less than 6% obtained certification. As certification is becoming more important, steps should be taken to decrease this gap between recommended and certified repositories, and ensure that certification standards become applicable, and applied, to the repositories which researchers are currently using.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.