Recommendations Consultation. EOSC-A Long Term Data Preservation Task Force

Implementation challenges arrow_forward FAIR metrics & certification


The scale of (meta)data collected by researchers of all kinds is vast. Identifying and providing basic storage and access for digital objects is already a challenge. Initial curation to ensure digital objects meet desirable criteria, and FAIRness, requires investment. For digital objects with a long-term value we require the resources and skills to deliver preservation systems, actions and outcomes.


This document provides the initial scoping assertions and recommendations of the task force concerning long term preservation. The document was shared with a wide range of stakeholders across the digital object management lifecycle for the collection of feedback as well as perceived priorities from the community. This feedback serves as the basis for the final report and revised recommendations.

Main highlights

In the first output of the task force shared with the community for consultation (link here), the task force defined the following vision for optimal preservation of FAIR Digital Objects within the context of EOSC: “Digital objects that act as inputs to, or outputs from, research are identified, findable and accessible in environments that support good storage practice. These objects are subject to appraisal, and reappraisal over time, to assess their value, their impact and the associated costs, risks and benefits. Ongoing appraisal informs the level of investment in the retention, curation and long-term preservation of digital objects. The levels of care, and changes to levels of care, provided by repositories and assigned to digital objects are transparent to (meta)data funders, depositors and users”. This vision has been the core of the task force’s recommendations that are listed in this document.

  • This report presents assertions and recommendations under a sequence of headings.
  • Working definitions developed within the Task Force are presented.
  • In the body of this document quoted text is taken directly from the FAIR Forever report, though numerous other items reflect the report’s recommendations.
  • Most of the recommendations made in this paper apply to the wider data repository landscape and associated stakeholders on a European, national, institutional, and thematic (domain, discipline) level. Those recommendations that are specific to a certain context are headed accordingly.

Key recommendations

The LTDP Task Force focuses on the need for active preservation as a level of care for digital objects that goes beyond their retention and initial curation. Active preservation may not be deemed necessary for all digital objects, but an appraisal process should define the level of care (retention, initial curation and preservation) to be applied. A repository should demonstrate that it is capable of providing, and be transparent about any change to, that level of care. Repository transparency increases the trust of users and funders, and supports the evaluation and improvement of services and the outcomes of research.

The decision has been taken to minimise prose and maximise the presentation of brief assertions and recommendations for open feedback. Numerous scoping assertions are included because the work of the task force to date has revealed varying interpretations of some key research infrastructure concepts that need to be contextualised.

This report represents a consultation to collect feedback on the recommendations made, related to: Digital Objects, Research Projects, Repository and (meta)data Services; Curation & Preservation Levels; FAIR + Time; Preservation Systems, Actions & Outcomes; Trustworthy Digital Repositories (TDR) and other (meta)data Services; Standards, Assessment, Certification & Alignment; Outcomes, Judgement and Gatekeeping; Retention, Appraisal & Re-Appraisal; Transparency of Services, Artefacts and Levels of Care for Objects; Generic versus Domain, Discipline and Object Type Specific Issues; Roles and Responsibilities; Finance & Funders; Network of TDRs; and Addressing Preservation at European, National and Institutional Level.