Posts Tagged ‘Research Data Alliance’

Building The Scientific Knowledge Graph

saimgeStandard Analytics, which was a participant at the recent TechStars event in New York City, has a big goal on its mind: To organize the world’s scientific information by building a complete scientific knowledge graph.

The company’s co-founders, Tiffany Bogich and Sebastien Ballesteros,came to the conclusion that someone had to take on the job as a result of their own experience as researchers. A problem they faced, says Bogich, was being able to access all the information behind published results, as well as search and discover across papers. “Our thesis is that if you can expose the moving parts – the data, code, media – and make science more discoverable, you can really advance and accelerate research,” she says.

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W3C’s Semantic Web Activity Folds Into New Data Activity

rsz_w3clogoThe World Wide Web Consortium has headline news today: The Semantic Web, as well as eGovernment, Activities are being merged and superseded by the Data Activity, where Phil Archer serves as Lead.  Two new workgroups also have been chartered: CSV on the Web and Data on the Web Best Practices.

What’s driving this? First, Archer explains, the Semantic Web technology stack is now mature, and it’s time to allow those updated standards to be used. With RDF 1.1, the Linked Data Platform, SPARQL 1.1, RDB To RDF Mapping Language (R2RML), OWL 2, and Provenance all done or very close to it, it’s the right time “to take that very successful technology stack and try to implement it in the wider environment,” Archer says, rather than continue tinkering with the standards.

The second reason, he notes, is that a large community exists “that sees Linked Data, let alone the full Semantic Web, as an unnecessarily complicated technology. To many developers, data means JSON — anything else is a problem. During the Open Data on the Web workshop held in London in April, Open Knowledge Foundation co-founder and director Rufus Pollock said that if he suggested to the developers that they learn SPARQL he’d be laughed at – and he’s not alone.” Archer says. “We need to end the religious wars, where they exist, and try to make it easier to work with data in the format that people like to work in.”

The new CSV on the Web Working Group is an important step in that direction, following on the heels of efforts such as R2RML. It’s about providing metadata about CSV files, such as column headings, data types, and annotations, and, with it, making it easily possible to convert CSV into RDF (or other formats), easing data integration. “The working group will define a metadata vocabulary and then a protocol for how to link data to metadata (presumably using HTTP Link headers) or embed the metadata directly. Since the links between data and metadata can work in either direction, the data can come from an API that returns tabular data just as easily as it can a static file,” says Archer. “It doesn’t take much imagination to string together a tool chain that allows you to run SPARQL queries against ’5 Star Data’ that’s actually published as a CSV exported from a spreadsheet.”

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Research Data Alliance Sees Semantics As Key To Helping Research Communities Get The Most From Their Data

The Research Data Alliance (RDA) was recently formed with the goal of accelerating international data-driven innovation and discovery. It aims to get there by facilitating the sharing and exchange of research data, its use and re-use, standards harmonization, and discoverability.

Funded by The Australian Commonwealth Government through the Australian National Data Service, the European Commission through the iCordi project under the 7th Framework Program, and the U.S. through the RDA/US activity supported by the National Science Foundation, it began its work last August when it established an international steering group with these funds. In March, it held its first plenary meeting and had its official launch.

Dr. Francine Berman, Professor of Computer Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is Chair of the Research Data Alliance/U.S. The Semantic Web Blog recently conducted a  Q&A with her to learn more about RDA plans:

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