National Academies Holds Workshop on Ontologies for Behavioral Science

On May 24th, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Committee on Accelerating Behavioral Science Through Ontology Development and Use (see previous coverage) held its first virtual workshop, “Why Are Ontologies and How Are They Used in Science?” which explored questions about the classification systems and knowledge structures that scientific disciplines use to establish shared labels, definitions, and frameworks. The workshop was spent establishing what ontologies are philosophically and how scientists usefully apply them into their work as well as discussing current ontologies, such as Research Domain Criteria (RDoC), which has been slowly implemented at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to encourage research on mental disorders and co-morbidities. Members of the panel made note that while there can never be a singular ontology for the behavioral sciences, the goal of the committee is to encourage the creation and utilization of ontologies to make research creation, evaluation, reproduction, and clinical application more efficient and well-rounded. More information is available on the Committee website.


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