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.

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

Abel Packer – Bireme, initiating group member

Amos Bairoch – SIB, initiating group member

Barend Mons – NBIC/LUMC, initiating group member

Carole Goble – MyGrid, initiating group member

Frank van Harmelen – LarKC, initiating group member

Frederique Lisacek – SIB, initiating group member

Gert Jan van Ommen – LUMC, initiating group member

Jan Velterop – initiating group member

Katy Börner – Indiana University, initiating group member

Mark Musen – Stanford NCBO, initiating group member

Mark Wilkinson – SADI/iCAPTURE, initiating group member

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

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 Vurio – 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

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One Response to Declaration

  1. It was a shame that I was not able to attend the meeting in person and had to catch it, rather disjointedly, via video. The reason for my absence was an appropriate distraction. ChemSpider has been acquired by the Royal Society of Chemistry and is now set up to contribute in a much more dependable way to the Concept Web Alliance:

    I look forward to discussing it with the team as we move forward.

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