About SPAR

In this page we summarise briefly the historical context of SPAR Ontologies, which were born by means of a mutual collaboration between David Shotton (University of Oxford) and Silvio Peroni (University of Bologna). In addition, we list all the other people, researchers, friend who helped us to develop and share SPAR Ontologies in the Semantic Publishing community.

Table of contents

  1. Genesis of SPAR Ontologies
  2. Collaborators

Genesis of SPAR Ontologies

The original motivation for creating the first of these ontologies, the Citation Typing Ontology (CiTO), was provided by the semantic publishing work undertaken in 2008, described in:

Shotton, D., Portwin, K., Klyne, G., Miles, A. (2009). Adventures in Semantic Publishing: Exemplar Semantic Enhancements of a Research Article. In PLoS Computational Biology, 5(4): e1000361. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000361

The version 1.6 of the CiTO ontology was developed by David Shotton from that work and published in 2009 in the following paper:

Shotton, D. (2010). CiTO, the Citation Typing Ontology. In Journal of Biomedical Semantics, 1 (Suppl 1):S6. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/2041-1480-1-S1-S6

In the second half of 2010, Silvio Peroni, a Ph.D. student at that time, came for six months as an intern from the University of Bologna to David's research group at the University of Oxford. In those six months, Silvio and David separated out from CiTO those aspects describing bibliographic entities into FaBiO, the FRBR-aligned Bibliographic Ontology, those aspects describing the quantification of citations into C4O, the Citation Counting and Context Characterization Ontology, and those aspects describing the status of publications into PSO, the Publications Status Ontology, leaving the current version of CiTO (v2) with the sole role of describing the nature and character of the citations themselves. In addition, during that time, they worked intimately and intensely together in a way that was remarkable and mutually beneficial, developing a unique corpus of new work relating to Semantic Publishing, i.e., the Semantic Publishing and Referencing (SPAR) Ontologies.

Following Silvio's return to Bologna, they continued to collaborate actively. Their actual corpus of work includes new ontologies that are finding increasing use worldwide, tools to assist third parties in the creation of ontologies (e.g., LODE and Graffoo), and mappings of document markup and metadata standards to RDF (e.g., the JATS to SPAR work). This work continues to expand, as the list of new journal articles and conference papers about SPAR Ontologies attests.


While Silvio Peroni and David Shotton are the main developers of the SPAR Ontologies, other researchers from different institutions have supported and helped them in developing and sharing some aspects of such ontologies. This section includes a (hopefully complete) list af all the people who have contributed actively to the cause by co-developing some ontologies and by co-authoring some SPAR-related research papers. All the people here are sorted in alphabetic ordered by given name.

Do not forget to read the contribution guidelines if you are interested in proposing a new ontology as part of the SPAR suite.