Application and certification process

Who can apply for CoreTrustSeal?

An official representative working for an applicant organisation can open an application for the CoreTrustSeal. The applicant must have a mission that includes direct responsibility for the curation and long-term preservation of a specified collection of digital objects. The applicant must ensure provision of the appropriate infrastructure (documented policies, people and skills, workflows, and technologies) to preserve data and metadata, such that they remain accessible and reusable over time.

To fulfil this mission, the applicant must have sufficient expertise and management rights over the data to respond to changes in the technologies and the knowledge base of a well-defined Designated Community of users. Though the CoreTrustSeal certification remains domain-agnostic, applicants applying as specialist repositories must define the relevant domain or discipline they represent and reflect this in their evidence.

To ensure provision of a sufficient and sustained service an applicant may rely on third parties through insource (e.g. to a host organisation) or outsourcing, with the following exceptions:Preservation actions (e.g. format conversion or provision of emulation solutions) may be outsourced to a third party, but preservation planning and implementation decisions (R10) cannot. Long-term data preservation is a requirement for Trustworthy Digital Repository status through CoreTrustSeal certification. Outsourcing roles and relationships should be well-defined. All parties must provide evidence related to all of the functions or processes that they help undertake.

What is the timeline for CoreTrustSeal Applications?

The entire cycle of CoreTrustSeal certification from submitting a self assessment by the repository for the first time to approval or declination of the application by the CoreTrustSeal Board shall take a maximum of 2 years from the submission date.

The CoreTrustSeal application process consists of the following steps and indicative deadlines.

Who? What? When?
Applicant Submission of self assessment – version 1 Within three months of adding the applicant’s details to the tool.
Reviewers Review of self-assessment Within two months after payment of the fee or submitting the self-assessment when pre-payment applies.
Board Assessment of reviews and response to the applicant Within two weeks
Applicant Submission of self assessment – version 2 to 5 Within three months of receiving the reviewers feedback.
Reviewers Review of self-assessment – version 2 to 5 Within two months after submitting the self-assessment.
Board Assessment of reviews versions 2 to 5 and response to the applicant Within two weeks
Board Approval of the self assessment and notification of applicant Within two weeks after board approval
Board Decline of the self assessment and notification of applicant Within one month after board approval.

Inactive self assessments, that are not under review and which are over the stated deadlines will be removed from the online tool after several reminder mails have been sent.

Administrative fee

Which are the payment options for the administrative fee?

Usually, invoices for the administrative fee are paid via wire transfer to our bank account. Please make sure that any fees for the transfer are paid by your financial department so that CoreTrustSeal receives the full amount of 1000 EUR.

Credit card payments are also possible and are processed via PayPal. As PayPal has a fee for processing the payments, an extra 6% is added to the 1000 EUR administration fee to cover this cost. The invoice is amended to the correct amount and a request for money is sent via the PayPal service.

In the case that your organization requires the use of its own specific invoicing system, please contact to discuss the details.

Is it possible to obtain a joint invoice for multiple repositories?

Yes, CoreTrustSeal is happy to accept bulk payments for a group of several repositories.

In addition, a bulk discount of 25% for umbrella organizations certifying ten or more data repositories is available. The administrative fee must be paid upfront for processing ten or more certifications. The vouchers can be used during a 3-year period and additional vouchers can be added at the same discounted rate.

To inquire about the possibility of a bulk discount, please send a formal request to CoreTrustSeal Board via, shortly describing the group or network and confirming that the group will coordinate to align application statements and evidence wherever possible.

Are any waivers or discounts available on the administrative fee?

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 solvency of the CoreTrustSeal Foundation.

See “joint invoices” (above) for information on bulk discounts.