Pistoia Alliance Announces Start of Ontologies Mapping Project

Wilmington, DE, 28 April 2015 – The Pistoia Alliance, a global, not-for-profit alliance of life science organizations that work together to lower barriers to innovation in R&D, has announced the start of its new Ontologies Mapping project.

The Ontologies Mapping project has been set up to create better tools and establish best practices for ontology management in life sciences R&D. The project will see the Pistoia Alliance develop a set of standardized guidelines, tools and services to enable the universal application of ontologies.

Ontologies, or controlled vocabularies, are becoming increasingly important in R&D data management as researchers develop standardized terms to improve their ability to exploit large amounts of complex data in support of life sciences research. The first phase of the Ontologies Mapping project will define the requirements for a standardized tool that will allow users to integrate, understand and analyze their data more effectively.

As part of the project, an community of interest will be set up to provide ongoing guidance, and once completed any tool developed will be released free of charge under an open source license to the life sciences community.

The project has been funded through the Pistoia Alliance’s membership and will be managed by Ian Harrow. The first phase of the project is expected to deliver results by the end of 2015.

Michael Braxenthaler, President of the Pistoia Alliance commented: “The use of ontologies in life sciences R&D is crucial to integrating and understanding the vast amounts of data that researchers must handle. However, with its increase in importance, there has been a corresponding rise in the number of tools and approaches, which can create confusion. Through this project we aim to create a standardized set of tools and guidelines which can be used by all life sciences companies and organizations.”

The launch of the Ontologies Mapping project builds on the success of the Pistoia Alliance’s other ongoing projects, HELM (Hierarchical Editing Language for Macromolecules) and the CSCS Expert Community (Controlled Substances Compliance Services), both of which have seen widespread adoption of their outputs throughout the life sciences industry.

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