This volume contains all papers accepted for and presented at the 13th edition of the Formal Ontology in Information Systems conference (FOIS 2023). This thirteenth edition of the conference used a novel, sequentially-hybrid approach, which leverages the best of an in-person conference while providing the additional opportunities a virtual conference can offer.
FOIS 2023 built on positive experience from the previous edition and solicited a diversity of papers in three broad categories: (1) Foundational ontological issues, (2) Methodological issues around the development, alignment, verification and use of ontologies; and (3) Domain ontologies and ontology-based applications. In total, we received 62 submissions, accepting 25 of them (acceptance rate of 40%) after a thorough and deliberate review process. Each paper was reviewed by at least three (four on average) reviewers. A rebuttal phase allowing authors to make corrections and respond to reviews was followed by a lively discussion phase between reviewers and PC chairs. Of the accepted papers, 15 were presented at the in-person conference in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, which took place from 17 to 20 July 2023. The remaining ten papers were presented in the virtual part of the conference, held from 18 to 20 September 2023.
The presented papers include seven foundational papers (from 18 submissions), eight methods papers (11 submissions), and ten domain ontology and application papers (from 17 papers in the domain ontology category and 16 papers in the applications category). A number of additional papers that did not make it into these proceedings despite their high quality were recommended for presentation as part of the ontology showcase and demonstration track at the conference, or as part of the eight workshops that were co-located with the in-person conference in Sherbrooke. Those papers will be published in a separate volume of proceedings to appear in the CEUR proceedings series.
The authors of the submitted papers come from 19 countries and the programme committee members from 20 countries – with representatives from all continents except Antarctica. The authors come from a variety of countries, namely (in order of frequency) Germany, Italy, France, Brazil, the Netherlands, Canada, the United States, Sweden, Australia, India, South Africa, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, Spain, Israel, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Turkey. Submissions to satellite events, such as the Early Career Symposium, the Ontology Showcase, and the eight collocated workshops, attracted authors from an additional 12 countries (in alphabetical order): Austria, Belgium, China, Colombia, the Czechia, Finland, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, and Uruguay.
Three particular trends are noticeable among the accepted papers. Firstly, fewer new foundational areas (like the representation of trust, properties or roles) are covered as compared to previous editions of FOIS, and almost no paper deals with the relation of ontologies with linguistics, which used to be a recurring topic. At the same time, there is a noticeable trend towards more methodological papers covering methods for re-using and aligning existing ontologies to help develop better domain ontologies. Lastly, the ontologies reported on in this volume cover a very broad set of domains, primarily from various engineering domains including cybersecurity, manufacturing, petroleum engineering, and robotics, but also extending to the humanities, social sciences, medicine, and dentistry.
We have organized the papers in this volume by paper type, starting with papers that focus on foundational issues, followed by methodological papers and, finally, by domain ontologies and application papers.
Among all accepted papers, the PC chairs and a selection committee, consisting of senior PC members, chose three papers to be awarded prizes in recognition of their outstanding contribution, and the exceptionally high quality of both the paper and the presentation. The overall high quality of accepted papers made this selection very difficult, but after thorough deliberation by the selection committee, the FOIS best paper award, which comes with a prize of 500 Euro graciously sponsored by IOS Press, was awarded to the paper “Inferring Ontological Categories of OWL Classes Using Foundational Rules” by Pedro Paulo F. Barcelos, Tiago Prince Sales, Elena Romanenko, João Paulo A. Almeida, Gal Engelberg, Dan Klein and Giancarlo Guizzardi. The paper proposes and evaluates a bootstrapping approach to infer the foundational categories into which the classes from domain ontologies fit.
In addition, we awarded two distinguished paper awards, each of which received prize money of 250 Euro sponsored by IAOA. The recipients were the papers “A method to improve alignments between domain and foundational ontologies” by Cesar Bernabe, C. Maria Keet, Zubeida Khan and Zola Mahlaza, and the paper “A quest for identity criteria in computational ontologies” by Pawel Garbacz. The former paper identifies frequent alignment issues between domain ontologies and foundational categories, and suggests an improved decision diagram as a basis for improved alignment. The latter paper explores the use of first-order theorem provers to systematically test the logical predicates which denote the classes and relations of an ontology for a set of predefined identify criteria.
What is noticeable among all three prize-winning papers is that they focus on novel methods to improve ontology engineering, which is indicative of the recognition within the wider formal-ontology community that improving our tools to analyse, align, and improve ontologies is of paramount importance in advancing the field.
The conference would not have been possible without the work all of the authors who submitted their papers, so we would like to thank all authors, regardless of whether or not their paper was accepted, for their contributions to building and sustaining a community for applied ontology research. Equally important were the contributions by the programme committee, whose over 90 members carefully reviewed and discussed all submissions.
As general chair, Antony Galton (Exeter University, UK) gave the main direction for this FOIS edition, and played a major role in its good coordination. The success of the conference also owes a lot to the online chair, Cassia Trojahn (IRIT Université Toulouse 2, France) and to all the other chairs who helped with publicity, workshops, the ontology showcase, and the early career symposium. The complete list of those who helped to organise FOIS 2023 is included after this preface. Maybe most importantly, the success of the conference also relies on the leadership and time commitment of the local organisers, led by Jean-Francois Ethier and Anne-Marie Cloutier (both University of Sherbrooke) and the entire team at GRIIS and the University of Sherbrooke, who made the conference run smoothly and organised the great social events and delicious food.
We would also like to thank our partners and sponsors. First of all, we thank the International Association for Ontology and its Applications (IAOA) as the association that provides the funding and government structure for the organisation and guidance of the FOIS conference series and which also sponsored the two distinguished paper awards. We likewise take this opportunity to thank IOS Press for their continued support in the publication of the FOIS proceedings, and their sponsorship of the best paper award, and express our appreciation of the financial support for student travel and attendance provided by SECAI (the School of Embedded Composite Artificial Intelligence, TU Dresden and Leipzig University) and financial and in-kind support from Destination Sherbrooke, the University of Sherbrooke, and Coopérative Université de Sherbrooke.
We are delighted to end this preface with the announcement that, from now on, the FOIS conference will happen annually instead of biennially (as previously) and that the next edition will be organized in Twente, in The Netherlands, in July 2024.