“Ontoverse - Cooperative knowledge management in the life sciences network” is a research project sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, that offers an innovative approach within the Ministry’s promotional focus on eScience and knowledge management (Förderschwerpunkt “eScience und vernetztes Wissensmanagement”) while concentrating on life sciences as the domain of interest. Ontoverse (ontology and universe) highly combines new technical and methodical solutions for innovative information and knowledge management in scientific networks with new trustworthy methods for cooperative work within a community. Thus scientific research findings can be used more efficiently, their transfer will be accelerated and economy can benefit from better information processing.

Central objective of the project Ontoverse is the development of a new, internet-based application for cooperative and interdisciplinary ontology building in terms of an ontology-wiki . This solution will serve as a starting basis for cooperative knowledge management within life sciences and thus supports scientific institutions and professional users in confidential exchange, dialog and transfer of research results along the scientific value chain. Based on this there will be applications which make the handling of information in scalable, virtual scientific networks more effective, transparent and secure.

Present approaches in ontology building are mainly carried out in a decentralized way. In the process of defining ontologies members of the responsible research community communicate via unspecialized channels and without including related groups with similar research interests. The innovation of Ontoverse is to allow scientists all over the world to cooperatively contribute to the construction of ontologies. This is managed by jointly editing ontologies via an internet platform (wiki principle). Integrated tools for merging isolated ontologies enable rapid construction of one comprehensive ontology.

The partners within the Ontoverse project were chosen regarding their competences in the fields of life sciences, bioinformatics, knowledge interaction, IT security, computer linguistics, information science, innovation research, project management and marketing. Furthermore, partners with commercial and non-commercial backgrounds who will apply the new system to their work, are involved in the project to contribute concrete user-specific views on planned applications.

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Jürgen Ziegler

Full Professor


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