Publishing Roles Ontology (PRO)

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Peroni, S., Shotton, D., Vitali, F. (2012). Scholarly publishing and Linked Data: describing roles, statuses, temporal and contextual extents. In Sack, H., Pellegrini, T. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Semantic Systems (i-Semantics 2012): 9-16. New York, New York, USA: ACM. Open Access at:

The ability to define publishing roles is crucial for providing complete description of a scholarly resource such as a paper or a dataset. While pre-existing ontologies, e.g., [BIBO](, rely for roles on specific property links, i.e., roles defined through appropriate object properties (e.g., ``<document-uri> :hasAuthor <author-uri>``) or data properties (e.g., ``<author-uri> :hasAffiliation "Author's affiliation"``), none of those are able to satisfy the need for an ease of extendibility (if a new role has to taken into account) and for the simultaneous representation of time periods and contexts. Using [TVC pattern]( – i.e., a model for describing scenarios in which something has a value during a particular time and for a particular context – as the basis, we have implemented *PRO*, the *Publishing Roles Ontology*. This ontology permits the characterisation of the roles of agents – people, corporate bodies and computational agents – in the publication process. Furthermore, it allows one to specify the role an agent has in relation to a particular bibliographic entity (as author, editor, reviewer, etc.) or to a specific institution (as publisher, librarian, etc.), and the period during which each role is held. <img class="img-responsive center-block" src="/static/img/spar/pro-diagram.png" alt="The diagram of C4O." /> As shown in the figure above, the main entities of PRO are: * ``pro:RoleInTime``, i.e., the class of the particular situation that describes the role an agent has within a particular time interval; * ``pro:holdsRoleInTime``, i.e., the object property linking any ``foaf:Agent`` (e.g., a person, a group, an organization or a software agent), to a ``pro:RoleInTime`` situation. * ``pro:withRole``, i.e., the object property linking the situation to the role the agent has – the available roles are defined as individuals of the class ``pro:Role`` (see its subclass ``pro:PublishingRole`` for roles specifically defined for the publishing domain); * ``ti:TimeInterval``, i.e., the class for defining two (starting and ending) points in time that define a particular period related to (object property ``tvc:atTime``) a ``pro:RoleInTime`` situation; * ``pro:relatesToDocument``, ``pro:relatesToPerson`` and ``pro:relatesToOrganization``, i.e., the object properties linking any kind of bibliographic work (``foaf:Document``), a person (``foaf:Person``) or publishing organization (``foaf:Organization``) taking part in a ``pro:RoleInTime`` as contextual extent.

Examples of use of PRO

  1. Author's affiliations in papers

Author's affiliations in papers

The description of the authors of papers and, in particular, which affiliation they have specified in the context of a particular paper is a crucial aspect to take into account when describing authors' roles. However, several existing ontologies, such as the [Semantic Web Conference Ontology](, do not allow one to discern the context in which an person-role association holds. For instance, consider an author having different institutional affiliations in the context of different publications (e.g., because he/she moved from one to the other). In order to address this issue, [PRO](/ontologies/pro) provides a convenient way to describe all the contextualised and possibly time-indexed person-role associations, in order to provide a complete picture of how roles relate with person and in which contexts.

@prefix : <> .
@prefix dogfood: <> .
@prefix foaf: <> .
@prefix pro: <> .
@prefix scoro: <> .
@prefix ti: <> .
@prefix tvc: <> .
@prefix xsd: <> .

:silvio-peroni a foaf:Person ;
    foaf:name "Silvio Peroni" ;
        :silvio-peroni-author ,
        :silvio-peroni-at-kmi ,
        :silvio-peroni-at-unibo .

:silvio-peroni-author a pro:RoleInTime ;
    pro:withRole pro:author ;
        <> ,
        <> .

:silvio-peroni-at-unibo a pro:RoleInTime ;
    pro:withRole scoro:affiliate ;
        <> ;
        dogfood:university-of-bologna ;
    tvc:atTime :unibo-affiliation-time .

:unibo-affiliation-time a ti:TimeInterval ;
        "2009-01-01T00:00:00Z"^^xsd:dateTime .

:silvio-peroni-at-kmi a pro:RoleInTime ;
    pro:withRole scoro:affiliate ;
        <> ;
        dogfood:kmi-the-open-university-uk ;
    tvc:atTime :kmi-affiliation-time .

:kmi-affiliation-time a ti:TimeInterval ;
        "2008-04-01T00:00:00Z"^^xsd:dateTime ;
        "2008-09-30T23:59:59Z"^^xsd:dateTime .

Please cite the source above with the following reference:

Peroni, Silvio (2015): Example of use of PRO #1. figshare.