An empirical analysis of ontology reuse in BioPortal

Christopher Ochs, Yehoshua Perl, James Geller, Sivaram Arabandi, Tania Tudorache, Mark A. Musen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Biomedical ontologies often reuse content (i.e., classes and properties) from other ontologies. Content reuse enables a consistent representation of a domain and reusing content can save an ontology author significant time and effort. Prior studies have investigated the existence of reused terms among the ontologies in the NCBO BioPortal, but as of yet there has not been a study investigating how the ontologies in BioPortal utilize reused content in the modeling of their own content. In this study we investigate how 355 ontologies hosted in the NCBO BioPortal reuse content from other ontologies for the purposes of creating new ontology content. We identified 197 ontologies that reuse content. Among these ontologies, 108 utilize reused classes in the modeling of their own classes and 116 utilize reused properties in class restrictions. Current utilization of reuse and quality issues related to reuse are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-177
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biomedical Informatics
StatePublished - Jul 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications


  • BioPortal
  • Content reuse
  • Ontology modeling
  • Ontology reuse
  • Ontology structural analysis


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