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Announcement: Change to CoreTrustSeal administrative fee

On September 21, 2023 the CoreTrustSeal Board has informed the community about an upcoming change to the administrative fee for CoreTrustSeal applications.  Starting from February 1, 2024, the administrative fee will increase from 1,000 EUR to 3,000 EUR for each three-year certification.

This change follows a comprehensive review of 6 years of CoreTrustSeal application-related expenses, which found that the true costs of administering the certification are three times higher than the current administrative fee revenue.  The CoreTrustSeal is a peer based nonprofit organization seeking only to cover real costs. We are making this increase to ensure the continued sustainability and effectiveness of CoreTrustSeal.

Since  the CoreTrustSeal was launched in 2017 the fee has not been increased despite extensive growth in the provision of services alongside international increases in staffing and infrastructure costs. Even with an optimistic assumption that all repositories will continue to renew certification, and new certifications will grow by 2% per year the Board has assessed that it will not be possible to continue to fund the projected level of infrastructure and staffing to support CoreTrustSeal services.The proposed increase is intended to meet current and projected business costs and will remain under review. 

We understand that any change in fees demands thoughtful consideration, and we want to assure you that the CoreTrustSeal Board has carefully weighed the matter.  We believe the administrative fee adjustment strikes a balance, effectively covering the rising operational expenses without placing undue burden on applicants.  

We value your input in this process and ask that you submit questions or concerns to or through the feedback form available on our website We kindly request you to submit your feedback before November 1, 2023.


Jonathan Crabtree, Chair of the CoreTrustSeal Board

An administrative fee of EUR 3,000 is payable to process the review of a CoreTrustSeal certification.

Why an administrative fee? The administrative fee is a contribution towards the cost of operation, maintenance, and development of the CoreTrustSeal certification service. It is also used develop training material for reviewers and ultimately provide a robust and sustainable certification service. Members of the Assembly of Reviewers undertake CoreTrustSeal Data Repositories reviews on a voluntary basis.

How and when to pay the fee? An invoice will be sent to the applicant when they submit their application for review. Payments will be made to the CoreTrustSeal Foundation account—the nonprofit legal entity under Dutch law operating the CoreTrustSeal certification service. Payments can be made via bank transfer (no extra charge) or credit card (6% extra charge). Once payment is received, the review process for the application commences.

How many revised submissions are allowed? A maximum of five (5) revisions can be reviewed as part of the same application payment leading to a certification valid for three (3) years. Additional revisions can be accepted at the discretion of the CoreTrustSeal Board.

Does payment of the fee guarantee certification? The short answer is ‘No’. The administration fee guarantees only that a submitted application is entered into the CoreTrustSeal peer review process, it does not pay for a CoreTrustSeal certification. A repository may reach its maximum five (5) revisions and still not have shown sufficient evidence to be certified by the CoreTrustSeal Board. It may also be the case that an applicant is not within the scope of the current certification.

Can I get a waiver? The administrative fee may be waived in exceptional cases and at the discretion of the CoreTrustSeal Board. For example repositories located in Low and Middle Income Countries may request a waiver. The decision to waive the administrative fee will depend on eligibility of the repository and is at the discretion of the CoreTrustSeal Board.

Are volume discounts available? A volume discount of -25% is available for umbrella organizations certifying ten (10) or more data repositories. The administrative fee must be paid upfront for processing 10 or more certifications by the umbrella organization. The vouchers can be used during a 3-year period and additional vouchers can be added at the same discounted rate.

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