Guidelines for the reuse of ontology content

Michael Halper, Larisa N. Soldatova, Mathias Brochhausen, Fatima Sabiu Maikore, Christopher Ochs, Yehoshua Perl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reuse of elements from existing ontologies in the construction of new ontologies is a foundational principle in ontological design. It offers the benefits, among others, of consistency and interoperability between such knowledge structures as well as sharing resources. Reuse is widely found within important collections of established ontologies, such as BioPortal and the OBO Foundry. However, reuse comes with its own potential problems involving ontological commitment, granularity, and ambiguity. Guidelines are proposed to aid ontology developers and curators in their prospective reuse of content. These guidelines have been gleaned over years of practice in the ontology field. The guidelines are couched in experiential reports on designing and curating particular ontologies (e.g., EXACT and EXACT2) and using generally accepted approaches (e.g., MIREOT) in doing so. Various software tools to assist in ontology reuse are surveyed and discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-29
Number of pages25
JournalApplied Ontology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


  • Ontology reuse
  • ontological commitment
  • ontology modeling
  • ontology reuse guidelines
  • ontology reuse tools


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