Semantic micro-contributions with decentralized nanopublication services

Authors : Tobias Kuhn, Ruben Taelman, Vincent Emonet, Haris Antonatos, Stian Soiland-Reyes, Michel Dumontier

While the publication of Linked Data has become increasingly common, the process tends to be a relatively complicated and heavy-weight one. Linked Data is typically published by centralized entities in the form of larger dataset releases, which has the downside that there is a central bottleneck in the form of the organization or individual responsible for the releases.

Moreover, certain kinds of data entries, in particular those with subjective or original content, currently do not fit into any existing dataset and are therefore more difficult to publish.

To address these problems, we present here an approach to use nanopublications and a decentralized network of services to allow users to directly publish small Linked Data statements through a simple and user-friendly interface, called Nanobench, powered by semantic templates that are themselves published as nanopublications.

The published nanopublications are cryptographically verifiable and can be queried through a redundant and decentralized network of services, based on the grlc API generator and a new quad extension of Triple Pattern Fragments.

We show here that these two kinds of services are complementary and together allow us to query nanopublications in a reliable and efficient manner. We also show that Nanobench makes it indeed very easy for users to publish Linked Data statements, even for those who have no prior experience in Linked Data publishing.

URL : Semantic micro-contributions with decentralized nanopublication services


Towards FAIR protocols and workflows: the OpenPREDICT use case

Authors : Remzi Celebi, Joao Rebelo Moreira, Ahmed A. Hassan, Sandeep Ayyar, Lars Ridder, Tobias Kuhn, Michel Dumontier

It is essential for the advancement of science that researchers share, reuse and reproduce each other’s workflows and protocols. The FAIR principles are a set of guidelines that aim to maximize the value and usefulness of research data, and emphasize the importance of making digital objects findable and reusable by others.

The question of how to apply these principles not just to data but also to the workflows and protocols that consume and produce them is still under debate and poses a number of challenges. In this paper we describe a two-fold approach of simultaneously applying the FAIR principles to scientific workflows as well as the involved data.

We apply and evaluate our approach on the case of the PREDICT workflow, a highly cited drug repurposing workflow. This includes FAIRification of the involved datasets, as well as applying semantic technologies to represent and store data about the detailed versions of the general protocol, of the concrete workflow instructions, and of their execution traces.

We propose a semantic model to address these specific requirements and was evaluated by answering competency questions. This semantic model consists of classes and relations from a number of existing ontologies, including Workflow4ever, PROV, EDAM, and BPMN.

This allowed us then to formulate and answer new kinds of competency questions. Our evaluation shows the high degree to which our FAIRified OpenPREDICT workflow now adheres to the FAIR principles and the practicality and usefulness of being able to answer our new competency questions.

URL : Towards FAIR protocols and workflows: the OpenPREDICT use case


Genuine semantic publishing

Authors : Tobias Kuhn, Michel Dumontier

Various approaches and systems have been presented in the context of scholarly communication for what has been called semantic publishing. Closer inspection, however, reveals that these approaches are mostly not about publishing semantic representations, as the name seems to suggest. Rather, they take the processes and outcomes of the current narrative-based publishing system for granted and only work with already published papers.

This includes approaches involving semantic annotations, semantic interlinking, semantic integration, and semantic discovery, but with the semantics coming into play only after the publication of the original article. While these are interesting and important approaches, they fall short of providing a vision to transcend the current publishing paradigm.

We argue here for taking the term semantic publishing literally and work towards a vision of genuine semantic publishing, where computational tools and algorithms can help us with dealing with the wealth of human knowledge by letting researchers capture their research results with formal semantics from the start, as integral components of their publications.

We argue that these semantic components should furthermore cover at least the main claims of the work, that they should originate from the authors themselves, and that they should be fine-grained and light-weight for optimized re-usability and minimized publication overhead.

This paper is in fact not just advocating our concept, but is itself a genuine semantic publication, thereby demonstrating and illustrating our points.

URL : Genuine semantic publishing

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Evaluating FAIR maturity through a scalable, automated, community-governed framework

Authors : Mark D. Wilkinson, Michel Dumontier, Susanna-Assunta Sansone, Luiz Olavo Bonino da Silva Santos, Mario Prieto, Dominique Batista, Peter McQuilton, Tobias Kuhn, Philippe Rocca-Serra, Mercѐ Crosas, Erik Schultes

Transparent evaluations of FAIRness are increasingly required by a wide range of stakeholders, from scientists to publishers, funding agencies and policy makers. We propose a scalable, automatable framework to evaluate digital resources that encompasses measurable indicators, open source tools, and participation guidelines, which come together to accommodate domain relevant community-defined FAIR assessments.

The components of the framework are: (1) Maturity Indicators – community-authored specifications that delimit a specific automatically-measurable FAIR behavior; (2) Compliance Tests – small Web apps that test digital resources against individual Maturity Indicators; and (3) the Evaluator, a Web application that registers, assembles, and applies community-relevant sets of Compliance Tests against a digital resource, and provides a detailed report about what a machine “sees” when it visits that resource.

We discuss the technical and social considerations of FAIR assessments, and how this translates to our community-driven infrastructure. We then illustrate how the output of the Evaluator tool can serve as a roadmap to assist data stewards to incrementally and realistically improve the FAIRness of their resources.

URL : Evaluating FAIR maturity through a scalable, automated, community-governed framework


Nanopublications: A Growing Resource of Provenance-Centric Scientific Linked Data

Authors : Tobias Kuhn, Albert Meroño-Peñuela, Alexander Malic, Jorrit H. Poelen, Allen H. Hurlbert, Emilio Centeno Ortiz, Laura I. Furlong, Núria Queralt-Rosinach, Christine Chichester, Juan M. Banda, Egon Willighagen, Friederike Ehrhart, Chris Evelo, Tareq B. Malas, Michel Dumontier

Nanopublications are a Linked Data format for scholarly data publishing that has received considerable uptake in the last few years. In contrast to the common Linked Data publishing practice, nanopublications work at the granular level of atomic information snippets and provide a consistent container format to attach provenance and metadata at this atomic level.

While the nanopublications format is domain-independent, the datasets that have become available in this format are mostly from Life Science domains, including data about diseases, genes, proteins, drugs, biological pathways, and biotic interactions.

More than 10 million such nanopublications have been published, which now form a valuable resource for studies on the domain level of the given Life Science domains as well as on the more technical levels of provenance modeling and heterogeneous Linked Data.

We provide here an overview of this combined nanopublication dataset, show the results of some overarching analyses, and describe how it can be accessed and queried.


Extracting Core Claims from Scientific Articles

Authors : Tom Jansen, Tobias Kuhn

The number of scientific articles has grown rapidly over the years and there are no signs that this growth will slow down in the near future. Because of this, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with the latest developments in a scientific field.

To address this problem, we present here an approach to help researchers learn about the latest developments and findings by extracting in a normalized form core claims from scientific articles.

This normalized representation is a controlled natural language of English sentences called AIDA, which has been proposed in previous work as a method to formally structure and organize scientific findings and discourse.

We show how such AIDA sentences can be automatically extracted by detecting the core claim of an article, checking for AIDA compliance, and – if necessary – transforming it into a compliant sentence.

While our algorithm is still far from perfect, our results indicate that the different steps are feasible and they support the claim that AIDA sentences might be a promising approach to improve scientific communication in the future.


Decentralized provenance-aware publishing with nanopublications

Authors : Tobias Kuhn, Christine Chichester, Michael Krauthammer, Núria Queralt-Rosinach, Ruben Verborgh, George Giannakopoulos, Axel-Cyrille Ngonga Ngomo, Raffaele Viglianti, Michel Dumontier

Publication and archival of scientific results is still commonly considered the responsability of classical publishing companies. Classical forms of publishing, however, which center around printed narrative articles, no longer seem well-suited in the digital age.

In particular, there exist currently no efficient, reliable, and agreed-upon methods for publishing scientific datasets, which have become increasingly important for science. In this article, we propose to design scientific data publishing as a web-based bottom-up process, without top-down control of central authorities such as publishing companies.

Based on a novel combination of existing concepts and technologies, we present a server network to decentrally store and archive data in the form of nanopublications, an RDF-based format to represent scientific data.

We show how this approach allows researchers to publish, retrieve, verify, and recombine datasets of nanopublications in a reliable and trustworthy manner, and we argue that this architecture could be used as a low-level data publication layer to serve the Semantic Web in general.

Our evaluation of the current network shows that this system is efficient and reliable.

URL : Decentralized provenance-aware publishing with nanopublications