Share - Identify a Trustworthy Repository

What is Identify a Trustworthy Repository About?

This guidance will define a trustworthy repository for research data and discuss strategies for identifying trustworthy repositories.

Trustworthy Repository

A trustworthy data repository is “…one whose mission is to provide reliable, long-term access to managed digital resources [research data and materials] to its designated community, now and in the future” (Beagrie et al, 2002). This is an established repository with a track-record of reliable, robust, and quality data preservation and sharing workflows and systems. TRUST (Lin et al, 2020), NIH (2023), and USGS (2023) have a list of desirable characteristics for data repositories including features such as:

  • Long-term sustainability of research data

  • Standardized and rich metadata

  • Persistent and unique identifiers (e.g., DOIs)

  • Licensing and terms of access and use

Funders and publishers prefer researchers to deposit their research data in a trustworthy repository to ensure long-term access in compliance with the FAIR data principles [link to guidance on FAIR]. If you are complying with a data sharing policy, consult the policy language for the required characteristics of a data repository to ensure you select an appropriate repository for your data.

Strategies for Finding Trustworthy Repositories

Research communities vary in terms of the number of established repositories. You may already be familiar with a few of your community’s domain-specific repositories. If your community does not have domain repositories, there are generalist repositories that serve several disciplines and data types and are good options for data sharing.

Below are a few strategies to get you started on your search for a trustworthy repository:

At UNC, UNC Dataverse and Qualitative Data Repository are established data repository options holding the CoreTrustSeal certification.

  • UNC Dataverse is a trusted, generalist repository managed by the Research Data Management Core that preserves and shares research data in any format

  • The Qualitative Data Repository (QDR) at Syracuse University is a trusted repository for qualitative data. UNC has an institutional membership to QDR

As you plan for data sharing, there are many data repositories out there. Not all repositories are created equal. It is important to look for trustworthy and established repositories that will sustain access and use of your data now and into the future.



Qualitative Data Repository (QDR) at Syracuse University:

Registry of Research Data Repositories:

UNC Dataverse:


Beagrie, N., Bellinger, M., Dale, R., Doerr, M., Hedstrom, M., Jones, M. Kenney, A., Lupovici, C., Russell, K., Webb, C., & Woodyard, D. (2002). Trusted Digital Repositories: Attributes and Responsibilities. Research Libraries Group & Online Computer Library Center, Report.

Lin, D., Crabtree, J., Dillo, I., Downs, R., Edmunds, R., GIaretta, D., De Giusti, M., L’Hours, H., Hugo, W., Jenkyns, R., Khodiyar, V. Martone, M.E., Mokrane, M., Navale, V., Petters, J., Sierman, B., Sokolova, D.V., Stockhause, M., & Westbrook, J. (2020). The TRUST Principles for digital repositories. Scientific Data, 7(1), 144.

National Institute of Health (NIH). (2023). “Desirable Characteristics for All Data Repositories.”

USGS. (2023). “USGS Trusted Digital Repositories (TDR).”


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


RDM Guidance formatting was influenced by The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tips & Tools handouts.