Exploring the Development and Maintenance Practices in the Gene Ontology

Shuheng Wu, Besiki Stvilia


The Gene Ontology (GO) is one of the most widely used and successful bio-ontologies in biomedicine and molecular biology. What is special about GO as a knowledge organization (KO) system is its collaborative development and maintenance practices, involving diverse communities in collectively developing the Ontology and controlling its quality. Guided by Activity Theory and a theoretical Information Quality Assessment Framework, this study conducts qualitative content analysis of GO’s curation discussions. The study found that GO has developed various tools and mechanisms to gain expert feedback and engage various communities in developing and maintaining the Ontology in an efficient and less expensive way. The findings of this study can inform KO system designers, curators, and ontologists in establishing functional requirements and quality assurance infrastructure for bioontologies and formulating best practices for ontology development.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7152/acro.v24i1.14675