Metadata and Ontologies (WP4)

FAIR-IMPACT WP4 gathers, synthesizes and disseminates the materials needed to federate the approach to metadata and ontologies at various organizational and technical levels within EOSC.

WP4 team will identify the blocking points preventing a broader and more harmonized use of semantic artefacts – a broader term to include ontologies, terminologies, taxonomies, thesauri, vocabularies, metadata schemas and standards – in EOSC. Semantic artefacts are a key element to achieving a high level of FAIRness (FAIR Principle I2) but as any other data, semantic artefacts have themselves to be FAIR. Within WP4, we will build on recent initiatives for making “semantic artefacts FAIR'', especially H2020 FAIRsFAIR project and RDA Vocabulary and Semantic Services Interest Group outcomes.


We aim to develop and foster the uptake of a semantic framework for the governance, creation, sharing, reuse, FAIRness assessment and interoperability of semantic artefacts for EOSC. This work-package will pave the way to the realization of several components necessary for the implementation of the “Semantic Interoperability” layer as described in the EOSC Interoperability Framework. This will be done by leveraging established initiatives and reusing already broadly adopted tools inside the communities and demonstrating cross disciplinary bridges to communities that are still in need with respect to semantics.

WP4 works with several use cases in ecology/biodiversity, agri-food and earth sciences and will also produce standard metadata for research software. For instance, this WP will review and analyse semantic artefact community practices and governance models in each of these areas and beyond. In these areas, the mechanisms to describe (FAIR-by-design) and serve (FAIR-by-sharing) semantic artefacts within EOSC will be standardised. The team  will also demonstrate the impact of semantic artefact management, sharing and mapping for data FAIRification and data-driven sciences.

The work will be done in collaboration with the partners that are running or establishing community semantic artefact catalogues and developing technological components and expertise (including repositories such as AgroPortal, EcoPortal, Linked Open Vocabularies  or ontology engineering tools such as Protégé (editing), OOPS! (quality assessment), Widoco (documentation), OnToology (support activities and integration).

The main impact of this activity we will be the demonstration of cross community benefits and the identification of the best strategy for reaching out to other use cases within EOSC - via  our open calls lead by WP2 - that are either (i) getting started with semantics or (ii) mature with semantics and interested in adopting our common shared specification, for instance through joint co-developments, workshops and hackathons. In parallel WP4 will work with WP5 to develop a methodology for FAIRness assessment of semantic artefacts.


Key tasks

  • Review and produce governance models for the management of semantic artefacts;
  • Review processes, methodologies and tools to develop and conceive FAIR-by-design semantic artefacts;
  • Enable the creation and support of domain/discipline-specific semantic artefact catalogues federated and coordinated within EOSC to enable and encourage FAIR-by-sharing semantic artefacts;
  • Establish standard metadata for semantic artefacts and common APIs for their catalogues;
  • Establish minimal metadata models for different types of research objects –including research software, semantic artefacts and their mappings;
  • Design a framework to create, document and share semantic artefact crosswalks and mappings;
  • Assert and validate the use of semantic artefacts within data repositories for better data search and indexing.

Key expected outcomes

  • Unified approach and governance of semantic artefacts across the life cycle in multiple scientific disciplines.
  • A framework to create, document and share semantic artefact crosswalks and mappings.
  • Guidelines for the collection and the curation of metadata to archive, reference, describe and cite research software.
  • Use of semantic artefacts to describe/index data inside multiple discipline data repositories.

Related deliverables and milestones

Partners involved

  • INRAE (leader)
  • DANS
  • UPM
  • CNRS
  • AMU
  • DataCite
  • eSDF
  • LifeWatch
  • CNR


FAIR-IMPACT contribution to Metadata and Ontologies in EOSC: interview with Clément Jonquet, INRAE




Video credits: FAIRsFAIR project

Get in touch with WP4 colleagues - write us