Describing the publishing domain

SPAR LogoThe Semantic Publishing and Referencing Ontologies, a.k.a. SPAR Ontologies, form a suite of orthogonal and complementary OWL 2 DL ontology modules for the creation of comprehensive machine-readable RDF metadata for every aspect of semantic publishing and referencing: document description, bibliographic resource identifiers, types of citations and related contexts, bibliographic references, document parts and status, agents' roles and contributions, bibliometric data and workflow processes.

The development of semantic models (vocabularies and ontologies) that fit the requirements of authors and publishers is one of the main research areas in Semantic Scholarly Publishing. Several recent works have proposed metadata schemas, vocabularies and ontologies to describe the publishing domain. However those models show some limitations, such as the non-fully-compliantness with the vocabulary used by publishers and the incomplete coverage of specific topics (e.g., characterisation of bibliographic citations, definition of agent's publishing roles, description of publishing workflows).

The SPAR Ontologies have been developed for addressing the aforementioned issues. Please take a look at the ontologies page and to the related examples to understand how to publish your scholarly data with SPAR Ontologies.

Development principles

All SPAR Ontologies have been developed according the following principles:

  • Addressing actors' requirements
    There should be an extensive dialogue with publishers and members of academic communities to clarify their requirements

  • Interoperable ontological modules
    Any area of interest of the publishing domain should be covered by separate yet interoperable ontologies

  • Minimum logical constraints
    Logical constraints, for example domain and range constraints on properties, should be added only where they are strictly required, to allow maximum reusability of each ontology module

  • Reusing existing vocabularies
    Where well-known and widely shared vocabularies covering parts of the domain already exist (e.g., DC Terms and SKOS), these should be properly imported and re-used

  • Supporting people with examples and tools
    Alongside the development of the ontologies, examples of use and tools (e.g., LODE and Graffoo) that assist people to understand each ontology with minimum effort, without having to know the specific technical language in which the ontology is implemented, should be used or opportunely developed

SPAR Principles

SPAR Ontologies in the wild

SPAR Ontologies have been already adopted by different communities and in several projects for describing data related with the publishing domain. Please take a look at the communities uptake page for a complete list of scholarly and industrial works and projects/initiatives citing or using SPAR Ontologies. Among those projects and initiatives, there are:


Interact with the community

There are several ways for getting the earlist updates about SPAR Ontologies, as well as for discussing topics related with the use of such ontologies with the other members of the SPAR community. Write us an email, follow our social accounts and forums, and read the guidelines for proposing new ontologies to be included in the SPAR Ontologies.

Join the community »

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Behind the scenes

The SPAR Ontologies are the outcome of a joint work mainly done by Silvio Peroni (University of Bologna) and David Shotton (University of Oxford). However, other people from several universities worldwide have contributed in part to some aspects of the ontologies. Read the guidelines if you would like to propose a new ontology as part of the SPAR suite.

More about contributors »