NCBO Ontology Recommender 2.0: An Enhanced Approach for Biomedical Ontology Recommendation

11/18/2016
by   Marcos Martinez-Romero, et al.
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Biomedical researchers use ontologies to annotate their data with ontology terms, enabling better data integration and interoperability. However, the number, variety and complexity of current biomedical ontologies make it cumbersome for researchers to determine which ones to reuse for their specific needs. To overcome this problem, in 2010 the National Center for Biomedical Ontology (NCBO) released the Ontology Recommender, which is a service that receives a biomedical text corpus or a list of keywords and suggests ontologies appropriate for referencing the indicated terms. We developed a new version of the NCBO Ontology Recommender. Called Ontology Recommender 2.0, it uses a new recommendation approach that evaluates the relevance of an ontology to biomedical text data according to four criteria: (1) the extent to which the ontology covers the input data; (2) the acceptance of the ontology in the biomedical community; (3) the level of detail of the ontology classes that cover the input data; and (4) the specialization of the ontology to the domain of the input data. Our evaluation shows that the enhanced recommender provides higher quality suggestions than the original approach, providing better coverage of the input data, more detailed information about their concepts, increased specialization for the domain of the input data, and greater acceptance and use in the community. In addition, it provides users with more explanatory information, along with suggestions of not only individual ontologies but also groups of ontologies. It also can be customized to fit the needs of different scenarios. Ontology Recommender 2.0 combines the strengths of its predecessor with a range of adjustments and new features that improve its reliability and usefulness. Ontology Recommender 2.0 recommends over 500 biomedical ontologies from the NCBO BioPortal platform, where it is openly available.

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