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Declaration Concept Web Alliance


“To enable an open collaborative environment to jointly address the challenges associated with high volume scholarly and professional data production, storage, interoperability and analyses for knowledge discovery.“

The generation of large and ever-growing amounts of data and information is rapidly becoming a problem for efficient and effective knowledge communication. Currently, life science information in databases and unstructured text is already estimated to exceed 100 million page-equivalents, and increasing with an estimated 6 million page-equivalents per year, if only restricted to mainstream peer reviewed literature.

The field needs methodologies to make massive data interoperable, non-ambiguous, non-redundant and accessible for life science research. Semantically rich triples in formats adhering to current leading semantic web standards, such as RDF and OWL are crucial elements to achieve this goal and to enable improved methodologies for knowledge discovery. Ideally, triples representing Concept-Relation-Concept ‘facts’ of curated, observational and hypothetical connections form a dynamic Concept Web.

When captured in Concept-Relation-Concept ‘triples’, the current data and information already exceeds 20 x 109 triples and this number will dramatically increase when more sources, including high throughput gene expression and sequencing data as well as biobanks will be included. Managing this amount of triples and optimally extracting the knowledge within, requires broad international collaboration in order to be effective.

Therefore, today, on May 8th, 2009, a group of representatives from academia as well as from the private sector have established the Concept Web Alliance with the aim of addressing the following:

  1. The advocacy and co-ordination of co-operative efforts, including where appropriate with established entities, to develop methodology and infrastructure to deal with global life science information
  2. The promotion of, and engagement in, research on concept identification, unique identifier assignment, and community annotation of concepts
  3. The development and refinement of ways to capture information in Semantically Rich Triples
  4. The methodology to enable universal operability and interoperability of such triples 
  5. The needs for storage and easy (e.g. high bandwidth) access to triple collections
  6. The development of methods and technology – ‘concept web browsers’ – for visualizing, and reasoning with, large amounts of triples
  7. The support of environments for ontology or concept map building based on subsets of triples

The Concept Web Alliance is meant to be a trusted, not for profit collaboration. In the coming months an appropriate governance structure and sustainability model will be put in place.

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This declaration was signed today, May 8th, 2009, by the following participants (and is open for more signatures and expressions of interest – the latter if for some reason you can’t sign or don’t know yet – by sending a message to

Initiating group members

  • Abel Packer – Bireme
  • Amos Bairoch – SIB
  • Barend Mons – NBIC/LUMC
  • Carole Goble – MyGrid
  • Frank van Harmelen – LarKC
  • Frederique Lisacek – SIB
  • Gert Jan van Ommen – LUMC
  • Jan Velterop – Concept Web Alliance
  • Katy Börner – Indiana University
  • Mark Musen – Stanford NCBO
  • Mark Wilkinson – SADI/iCAPTURE

Additional signatures

(affiliation given does not necessarily mean the signatories have signed on behalf of their organizations)

  • Antoine van Kampen – NBIC
  • Ruben Kok – NBIC
  • Albert Mons – Concept Web Alliance, organizing committee
  • Jacintha van Beemen – Concept Web Alliance, organizing committee
  • Benjamin Good – University of British Columbia
  • Bill Melton – Melton Foundation, organizing committee
  • Stephen Uzzo – New York Hall of Science, organizing committee
  • Anders Söderbäck – Swedisch National Library (Kunglige Biblioteket)
  • Andrew Su – GNF
  • Bruce Kiesel – Thomson Reuters
  • Chris C. Wood – Santa Fe Institute
  • Erik A. Schultes – Hedgehog Research
  • Herbert Gruttemeier – French National Institute for Scientific and Technical Information
  • Izja Lederhendler
  • Jan-Eric Litton – Karolinska Institute
  • Jeffrey Grethe – Neuroscience Information Framework
  • Jill Sorensen – Innovation Institute
  • John Wilbanks – Creative Commons
  • Joseph Jackson – Freedom of Science
  • Julie Steele – O’Reilly Media
  • Karsten Uil – Charta
  • Kei-Hoi Cheung – Yale University
  • MacKenzie Smith – MIT
  • Marco Roos – LUMC/University of Amsterdam
  • Misha Kapushesky – EBI
  • Naina Pandita – National Informatics Centre, New Delhi
  • Peter-Jan Roes – Charta
  • Peter Walgemoed – Carelliance
  • Richard Cave – PLoS
  • Richard Gallagher – The Scientist
  • Rick Johnson – SPARC
  • Roy Kaplan – SEED Media
  • Scott Marshall – University of Amsterdam
  • Segolene Ayme – Orphanet
  • Timo Hannay – Nature
  • Ying Ding – Indiana University
  • Peter Suber – SPARC and Berkman Center
  • Kostas Repanas – Elixir-Europe
  • Gloria  Fuentes – BII-Singapore
  • Myles Axton – Nature Genetics
  • Eric Neumann – Clinical Semantics Group
  • Erik van Mulligen – Erasmus University Medical Center & AcaMedia
  • Kirk Borne – George Mason University
  • Kathleen Wets – Faculty of 1000
  • Vinícius Medina Kern – Instituto Stela
  • Herbert van de Sompel – Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Nigam Shah – Stanford University
  • Simon Twigger – Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Anthony Williams – ChemSpider
  • Martin Kuiper – Semantic Systems Biology
  • JA (Koos) Louw – Health Knowledge Dynamics consultant, Cape Town
  • Miguel Ángel González Block – National Institute of Public Health, México
  • Bill Hogan – Impact Advisors
  • Karl Brown – Rockefeller Foundation
  • John M. Hancock – MRC Harwell, Mammalian Genetics Unit
  • Eero Vuorio – University of Turku
  • Walter Fontana – Harvard University
  • Thomas Krichel – Open Library Society
  • Martijn Schuemie – Erasmus University Medical Center
  • Jan Kors – Erasmus University Medical Center
  • Gerard Meijssen – Open Progress
  • Timothy C. Hays – Digital Management, Inc., Healthcare Division
  • Christine Chichester – SIB
  • Tanya Petrossian – UCLA, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Stefan Schulz – University Medical Center, Freiburg, Germany
  • Andrea Splendiani – Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, UK
  • Joost Kok – Leiden University
  • Michel Dumontier – Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
  • Jeroen de Ridder – Delft University of Technology (TUD) Bioinformatics Group
  • Herman van Haagen – Biosemantics Group Univ. of Leiden / Erasmus Univ. of Rotterdam
  • Judit Kumuthini – Bioinformatics Division, Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research (CPGR), University of Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Chris Evelo – Maastricht University
  • Alejandra Gonzalez Beltran – University College London, Dept. of Computer Science
  • Clinton Chichester III – Dept of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Rhode Island, USA
  • David C. Prosser – SPARC Europe
  • Maryann E. Martone – Neuroscience Information Framework
  • Magali Michaut – University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Ted Slater – Broad Reach Strategic Advising
  • Tobias Kuhn – Yale University School of Medicine
  • Juha Muilu – Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM)

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Meeting Proceedings

These are the webcasts that were recorded as podcasts of the proceedings on Friday May 8th.  There are multiple streams because of breaks in the recording due to either the meeting structure or accidental stoppages in the recording. Unfortunately, they do not cover the entire meeting. These nine recordings are in chronological order from the start of the meeting:

First webcast (Eric Siegel and Barend Mons)

second (Barend Mons, continued)

third (Geoffrey Bilder and Gert-Jan van Ommen)

fourth (Gert-Jan van Ommen, continued, Jan Velterop, answering some questions from the webcast audience, and Mark Wilkinson)

fifth (Gerard Meijssen)

sixth (Andrew Gibson, Katy Wolstencroft, Marco Roos, and Scott Marshall)

seventh (Barend Mons again)

eighth (Carole Goble and Stephen Uzzo)

ninth (Stephen Uzzo, continued, and Abel Packer)

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