Ontolog Forum

Ontology Summit 2023

Helping scientific researchers make better use of ontologies: Tools, Methods and Best Practices

Summit Co-Chairs: Gary Berg-Cross [1] and James Overton

The Ontology Summit is an annual series of events that involves the ontology community and communities related to each year's theme chosen for the summit. The Ontology Summit was started by Ontolog and NIST, and the program has been co-organized by Ontolog and NIST along with the co-sponsorship of other organizations that are supportive of the Summit goals and objectives.


Open community ontologies are increasingly important for science, driven in part by the FAIR data principles which rely on semantic technologies and ontologies and growing commitment to data sharing from granting agencies and publishers.

To a large degree the 15 FAIR guiding principles require enhanced semantics for machine-actionability (i.e., the capacity of computational systems to find, access, interoperate, and reuse data). Often the semantic aspects of FAIR are particularly difficult for scientists. In practice the development, maintenance, coordination, and use of ontologies (along with other semantic resources) in science can be complex involving an interconnected web of tools, methodologies, standards, various knowledge artifacts and community practices, at the intersection of science, software development, and information management. However the semantic community understands how to handle some of these challenges and is actively engaged in making the use of semantic resources, especially ontologies easier to use.

In this Summit we will ask how to help scientists & researchers make better use of ontologies, and look for answers from a variety of perspectives. The first half of the Summit will draw examples from the Open Bio Ontologies (OBO) community, followed by a panel to discuss and help digest issues raised in the first half. Following this the second half branches out to other communities, disciplines and practices such as modular approaches to ontology development. Along the way we will consider: specific tools, and associated methods and standards, including:

  • Upper level domain reference models such as COB in the BioMedical area;
  • ROBOT and Ubergraph (knowledge graph); aided by standards such as SSSOM;
  • General approaches such as ontology design patterns;
  • Points of convergence such as the Ontology Development Kit;
  • "Carrots and sticks" such as automated quality metrics and dashboards;
  • Making the use of multiple ontologies easier through improved integration;
  • The Comprehensive Modular Ontology IDE (CoModIDE) and more.

Along with best practices and lessons learned, we will have a panel to discuss current pain points and opportunities for improvement, with an overall goal to share knowledge across the larger ontology community.


As part of Ontolog’s general advocacy to bring ontology science and related engineering into the mainstream, we endeavor to facilitate discussion and knowledge sharing amongst stakeholders and interested parties relevant to the use of ontologies. Ideas from presentations will be further explored in 2 panel sessions. The results will be synthesized and summarized the form of the Ontology Summit 2023 Communiqué, with expanded supporting material provided on the web and in journal articles.

Process and Deliverables

Similar to our last seventeen summits, this Ontology Summit 2023 will consist of virtual discourse (over our archived mailing lists), virtual presentations and panel sessions as part of recorded video conference calls. As in prior years the intent is to provide some synthesis of ideas and draft a communique summarizing major points.

Meetings are at Noon US/Canada Eastern Time on Wednesdays and last about an hour.


ConferenceCall 2022 10 12Planning
ConferenceCall 2022 10 19Planning
ConferenceCall 2022 10 26Planning
ConferenceCall 2022 11 09Planning
ConferenceCall 2022 11 30Planning
ConferenceCall 2022 12 07Data Principles
ConferenceCall 2022 12 14Planning
ConferenceCall 2023 01 18Launch
ConferenceCall 2023 01 25COB
ConferenceCall 2023 02 01ROBOT
ConferenceCall 2023 02 08ODK
ConferenceCall 2023 02 15OBO Dashboards
ConferenceCall 2023 02 22Ubergraph
ConferenceCall 2023 03 01Panel
ConferenceCall 2023 03 08Modules and Patterns
ConferenceCall 2023 03 15Design Patterns
ConferenceCall 2023 03 21Wikidata
ConferenceCall 2023 03 22Wikidata
ConferenceCall 2023 03 29Synthesis
ConferenceCall 2023 04 05Science on
ConferenceCall 2023 04 12Panel
ConferenceCall 2023 04 19Ontology Development
ConferenceCall 2023 04 26Synthesis
ConferenceCall 2023 05 03Communiqué
ConferenceCall 2023 06 07Communiqué
ConferenceCall 2023 06 14Communiqué
ConferenceCall 2023 06 21Communiqué
ConferenceCall 2023 06 28Communiqué


Ontology Summit YouTube Channel