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Code of Ethics

Code of Ethics for the Digital Repository of Ireland    

August 2015


The Digital Repository of Ireland is a trusted national infrastructure for the preservation, curation and dissemination of Ireland’s humanities, social sciences, and cultural heritage data.



The Digital Repository of Ireland is a national service for the long-term digital preservation of Ireland’s humanities, social science, and cultural heritage resources.
DRI is a trusted service, providing online access to a wealth of digital resources across multiple domains for students, scholars and the public.
DRI actively engages in the development of policy, and is an internationally recognised leader in digital archiving and repository infrastructure.


Statement from Director

We developed this Code of Ethics for the Digital Repository of Ireland to lay out the ethical standards that guide all aspects of our professional behaviour. DRI is a publicly funded endeavour and our commitment to ethical public service is very important to us.

The process of developing the Code was informative for us as an organisation, both in reviewing international best practice in the area, but perhaps more importantly in establishing the ethical values of our staff and our organisation, as we assume the responsibility of caring for the data which is deposited in DRI.

A Code of Ethics is a voluntary code, which often exceeds an organisation’s legal obligations, and perhaps can be seen as a measure of the maturity and reflective capacity of an organisation. The values which we identified as key to our ethical behaviour resonate very strongly with our staff. We commit to these values in our professional lives and hope that they are clearly visible in our interactions with our community of depositors and users. This Code is intended as a living document, and we will review over time and ensure it is always fit for purpose and reflective of our principles and our practice.

I would like to especially thank Joanne Carroll and the members of the Ethics Working Group who developed our Code of Ethics through an interactive and consensual process that has been a very positive experience for us in DRI, and one which we recommend to other organisations also.

Sandra Collins, June 2015


About this Code

A code of ethics establishes an agreed set of principles intended to provide guidance on ethical conduct and decision-making. The Digital Repository of Ireland developed this Code to express a common set of values held by our institution, and to articulate ethical standards that reflect these values.

This code is intended to provide an ethical framework for the guidance of professional conduct in the day-to-day working of DRI, as well as in the shaping of DRI as a public institution committed to the stewardship of socially and culturally significant data.

We recognise that ethical decision making is a deliberative process that involves judicious contemplation as well as active consultation. This code is not intended to provide specific solutions to particular problems. Rather, it provides the scaffolding for a considered approach to professional behaviour, and encourages ethical conduct at all junctures. It intended that future guidelines and policies will reflect the values of this Code.

Natalie Harrower, Deputy Director, June 2015


Code of Ethics

  • Protection of Deposited Objects

The DRI will ensure protection of deposited objects from harm and obsolescence, safeguarding the reliability, security and integrity of data provided by depositors. The DRI will actively preserve deposited objects, while not undertaking any practices that would put these assets at risk. The DRI will also hold, preserve and protect the contextual data surrounding objects to safeguard the provenance of the original data.


  • Objectivity with social responsibility

The DRI will act in a socially responsible manner, accepting and preserving collections that constitute the island of Ireland’s digital heritage, while also encouraging high quality research. The DRI will act impartiality in its dealings with both individuals and collections, avoiding partisanship, advocating objectivity, and working for the best interests of society.


  • Continued Development

The DRI will accept professional responsibility for the work we carry out and pursue sustained improvement and development of its systems and processes through the continual education and professional development of staff. The DRI values the skills of professionals and strives to develop and nurture these skills to benefit the knowledge base of the organisation, to ensure best practice and improve procedures and systems, and to safeguard the digital objects in our care.


  • Inform national policy and share research

The DRI will share the results of our continued professional development, research and experience with the wider community in order to benefit the areas of digital preservation and repository development. We should promote the use of open source software where suitable. The DRI will strive to contribute to national policy on the many issues that affect the digital preservation of humanities and social sciences data.


  • Openness

The DRI advocates for Open Access. We encourage open accessibility to the deposited collections in DRI while respecting the requirements of the depositor and adhering to Data Protection, Intellectual Property and Copyright legislations.


  • Privacy

The DRI will, where required and to the extent that the law allows, protect the privacy and personal information of the individuals who created or are the subjects of the data. We will advocate for researcher privilege. The DRI will also respect the privacy of the users of the repository.  


  • Communication

The DRI will openly communicate our policies with our stakeholders, depositors and the public. We commit to communicating respectfully and openly and acknowledging our collaborators. The DRI will also communicate with other professionals in various fields, particularly in the fields of the humanities and social sciences, to encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration.


  • Equality

The DRI does not discriminate on the basis of gender, sex, race, ethnicity, religion, civil status, age, disability, sexual orientation, or membership of the travelling community.


Related Policies

Withdraw Data Policy
Collections Policy
Metadata Policy
Policy on Copyright, Ownership, IP and Data Protection
Policy on Restricted Data & Ethical Statement
Preservation Policy