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 21th year at ISMB 2018, which will be held in Chicago, USA on July 6-10. 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.

Selected papers will be invited to submit an extended version of their manuscript to the bio-ontologies theme in the Journal of Biomedical Semantics.

Key Dates

 Submission Deadline April 6, 2018
 Acceptance Notification April 27, 2018
 Late Poster Deadline May 1, 2018
 Early Bird Registration June 7, 2018
 Program Information June 17, 2018
 Bio-Ontologies track @ ISMB July 9-10, 2018
 Special Issue deadline October 1, 2018

Call for Submissions

We invite the submission of short papers, flash updates and posters for presentation at the Bio-Ontologies. Papers are invited in the following three areas:

1. The development of biological and biomedical ontologies to represent and structure knowledge.

2. Ontology-focused tools and methods (e.g. ontology engineering, ontology alignment, biocuration, information extraction, text mining, data integration) featuring biological use cases.

3. Biological applications of ontologies (e.g. ontologies use in data mining, machine learning, visualization, knowledge graphs, semantic query answering)

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 (to appear February 2018). 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

Prague (2017), 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