The brainchaild of the Concept Web Alliance is the notion of ‘nanopublication’. Today, only a few years later, nanopublications are widely studied and accepted as a way to deal with massive data sets, interoperability of data, data citation and crowdsourcing. [...] The name nanopublication was coined for a computer readable, single meaningful assertion, including its rich provenance. Just like any classical publication, a nanopublication has authors, a time date stamp, a unique reference etc. The guidelines for nanopublications as now developed by the CWA recommend keeping the assertion in a nanopublication ‘as small as possible to be a self-contained scientific claim’. The smallest thinkable associative assertion between two concepts simply states in a Subject>Predicate>Object triple how two concepts relate to each other, for instance Protein A > interacts with > Protein B. In practice, many nanopublications need more than one triple in the assertional part. Also provenance and context (such as for instance the conditions under which a reaction takes place) can be formatted as triples in RDF or related computer readable languages.

Alltogether these triples form a small graph that represents the Nanopublication in computer readable format which can be represented to human users in their own language of choice at the same time. In order to create high quality nanopublications, each concept in the graph should be mapped to a unique reference (identifier) that unambiguously defines which concept is referred to. This major effort, which requires rich ontologies, Identity Mapping Services and many other software workflows and standards is an international effort by default and takes place in the context of the CWA and several international projects at the moment.

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A quote saved on July 2, 2013.


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