Bio-Ontologies (#bioontologies) is an ISMB Community of Special Interest (COSI) that covers the latest and most innovative research in the application of ontologies and more generally the organisation, presentation and dissemination of knowledge in biomedicine and the life sciences.

Bio-Ontologies is celebrating its 20th year at ISMB in 2017, which will be held in Prague, Czech Republic on July 24 and July 25, 2017. It continues to provide a vibrant environment for reporting novel methods and sharing experiences on the construction and application of ontologies in health care and the life sciences. The informal nature of the COSI offers a constructive environment to nurture discussion of innovative and scientifically sound work that range from preliminary to completed, from both young and experienced investigators alike. Bio-Ontologies participants also benefit from a strongly interdisciplinary setting, where ISMB attendees intermingle with members from American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and the W3C’s Healthcare and Life Sciences interest group (HCLSIG), thereby increasing impact through broader dissemination and enabling new and exceptional collaborations. This year's event will be integrated into the main conference and will feature papers accepted for the ISMB proceedings.

Key Dates

  • ISMB Proceedings Abstract Submission: January 3, 2017
  • Submissions Deadline: April 13, 2017 April 20, 2017
  • Acceptance Notification: May 10, 2017 May 15, 2017
  • Poster Deadline: May 15, 2017
  • Early Bird Registration: June 15, 2017
  • Program Information: June 17, 2017
  • Bio-Ontologies: July 24-25, 2017

Call for Submissions

We invite the submission of short papers, flash updates and posters for presentation at the Bio-Ontologies SIG. Papers are invited in areas, such as the applications of bio-ontologies, newly developed bio-ontologies, and the use of ontologies in data sharing standards. Example topics include (but not limited to):

  • Collaborative Ontology Authoring
  • Ontologies in Data and Metadata Standards
  • Machine-driven ontology development
  • Semantic Web Enabled Applications
  • Bio-Ontologies in the Learning Health System
  • Intelligent systems for accurate phenotyping 
  • Machine and Deep learning with Ontologies
  • Platforms for Biocuration
  • Automated Annotation Pipelines
  • Knowledge representation and knowledge discovery for biomedical data
  • Use of semantic technologies in text mining
  • Ontology growth, mapping and repair
  • Efforts to generate and assess FAIR data
  • Social, moral and technical issues in publishing and consuming biomedical and life sciences data.
  • Research in Ontology Engineering and Ontology Evaluation
  • Flash updates on Newly Developed or Existing Bio-Ontologies

Deadlines and Presentation Length

We welcome short research papers (4 pages), flash updates (1 page) and poster abstracts (1 page) as a PDF using the Bio-ontologies template for papers ( or updates/posters ( Submissions can be made on the easychair site ( Please note that accepted submissions require that one author present the work. The research presentations are normally allocated between 20-25 minutes while flash updates are presented in 5-10 minutes. The presenter must register and pay to attend the conference and the presenter should identify themselves as the corresponding author during the submission process.

Review Criteria

  1. Relevance, interest, and value of the topic to conference attendees.
  2. Significance of the problem, such that reviewers understand the potential for impact.
  3. Novelty of the approach, including suitable treatment of related work.
  4. Soundness and potential for reproducibility of the proposed method.
  5. Quality of writing, including readability and clearly stated contribution(s)

Program Committee

coming soon

Previous Meetings

Orlando (2016), Dublin (2015), Boston (2014), Berlin (2013), Long Beach (2012), Vienna (2011), Boston (2010), Stockholm (2009), Toronto (2008), Vienna (2007), Fortaleza (2006), Detroit (2005), Glasgow (2004), Brisbane (2003), Edmonton (2002), Copenhagen (2001), San Diego (2000), Heidelberg (1999), Montreal (1998).


Have suggestions for this year? We'd love to hear from you at