Apollo achieves CoreTrustSeal certification!

We are delighted to share the fantastic news that Apollo, the University of Cambridge’s institutional repository, achieved CoreTrustSeal certification in May 2023.

In 2020, Apollo was one of 10 repositories selected to take part in FAIRsFAIR Repository Support Programme through an open call to obtain CoreTrustSeal (CTS) certification. As a result, the Repository team was awarded funding to support the required certification activities.

What does this mean for Apollo?

CTS is an international, community based, non-governmental, and non-profit organisation that promotes sustainable and trustworthy data infrastructures. CTS is a self-assessment status for repositories, awarded based on meeting 16 requirements that reflect the characteristics of trustworthy repositories.

The achievement of CTS status for Apollo is a particularly important milestone, and one that is critical to several areas currently being developed as part of a wider Open Research Infrastructure programme led by Cambridge University Libraries (CUL).

Following certification, the Libraries are in a much stronger position to demonstrate the value of Apollo to key internal stakeholders, as well as our research communities. More importantly, CTS provides us with the opportunity to not only demonstrate the trustworthiness and robustness of the systems and processes involved in curating, making available, and preserving the University’s research outputs for the long-term, but also to meet funder requirements which are increasingly requiring more open practices and the deposit of publicly funded outputs in repositories with a trustworthy status.

The certification preparation and submission has been a remarkable collaborative effort across teams within Digital Initiatives and the Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC) and has provided our services with a fantastic opportunity to assess all processes and policies relevant to the delivery of our repository and data services. This work has involved reviewing all existing processes, workflows and underpinning policies, and more importantly, identifying areas where policies did not exist and subsequently developing them and making them publicly available where appropriate. It has also led to a full review, update, and improvement of key Apollo service pages.

This work has been critical to formalising key policies and demonstrating best practice for system management and service delivery, which has led to continuous improvement and further professionalisation of key services supporting Cambridge’s open research communities.

Towards better support for our research communities

For Apollo and underpinning services, it is not only about achieving certified status. It is important that researchers, and our user communities, do trust Apollo and are reaffirmed about the University of Cambridge’s commitment to preserve its research outputs for the long-term and ensure widest possible access, following the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles:

Findable: we know that content in the repository scores high in search results on Google and Google Scholar and receive large numbers of downloads based on our use of COUNTER-compliant usage tracking services such as IRUS UK.

Accessible: as outlined in Apollo’s succession plan and digital preservation policy, CUL strives to maintain the availability of deposited works in Apollo indefinitely. Apollo’s core activities include the preservation, curation, and dissemination of the research outputs it holds with the aim of guaranteeing that all content entrusted to it by depositors remains suitable for the needs of its primary users now and in the future. Once a research output is published in Apollo, a persistent Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is minted and associated with the output.

Interoperable: Apollo makes use of open, community-driven, and well-adopted standards and technologies: all public content is available via a REST (REpresentational State Transfer) API (Application Programming Interface) and high-quality metadata for repository content is available via OAI-PMH and DataCite Search endpoints. This is critical to ensure continued access, dissemination, and the long-term availability of research outputs being produced and shared via institutional, research repositories.

Reusable: to reassure our users that they are accessing and using quality data, we provide careful and detailed guidance for data depositors about how to make their data FAIR, clearly outline the review and quality checks we perform upon submission, as well as require that every repository submission must include some human-readable documentation.

Find out more

More detailed information about Apollo and CoreTrustSeal is available in the following pages:

Apollo, trustworthy digital repository

Apollo’s CoreTrustSeal application (full application)



We would like to acknowledge the support of FAIRsFAIR in our CoreTrustSeal certification journey. FAIRsFAIR is playing a key role in the contribution to policies and practices for broader adoption of FAIR practices, and in the development of standards for FAIR certification of repositories.

The Team

Dr Agustina Martínez-García, Head of Open Research Systems, Digital Initiatives

Dr Sacha Jones, Research Data Manager, OSC

Peter Sutton-Long, Repository Manager, Digital Initiatives

Caylin Smith, Head of Digital Preservation, Digital Initiatives

Digital Services’ DevOps team, Digital Initiatives

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