Toward a systematic conflict resolution framework for ontologies

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Background: The ontology authoring step in ontology development involves having to make choices about what subject domain knowledge to include. This may concern sorting out ontological differences and making choices between conflicting axioms due to limitations in the logic or the subject domain semantics. Examples are dealing with different foundational ontologies in ontology alignment and OWL 2 DL’s transitive object property versus a qualified cardinality constraint. Such conflicts have to be resolved somehow. However, only isolated and fragmented guidance for doing so is available, which therefore results in ad hoc decision-making that may not be the best choice or forgotten about later. Results: This work aims to address this by taking steps towards a framework to deal with the various types of modeling conflicts through meaning negotiation and conflict resolution in a systematic way. It proposes an initial library of common conflicts, a conflict set, typical steps toward resolution, and the software availability and requirements needed for it. The approach was evaluated with an actual case of domain knowledge usage in the context of epizootic disease outbreak, being avian influenza, and running examples with COVID-19 ontologies. Conclusions: The evaluation demonstrated the potential and feasibility of a conflict resolution framework for ontologies.




Keet, C. M., & Grütter, R. (2021). Toward a systematic conflict resolution framework for ontologies. Journal of Biomedical Semantics, 12(1).

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