Growth of Semantic Technologies

CINF Reader Submitted Chemical Information Topic of Interest

The Growth of Semantic Technologies – An Analysis Based On Citation Studies

Vijay Bhatia
Thomson Reuters, 1500 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130 

At both the individual and professional levels, we are dealing with a massive flow of information every day. Data are growing faster than the means and the wherewithal to store, transmit, analyze, manage and support them, leaving a widening “data deluge gap.”  In today’s data-driven world, information has enormous value when it is analyzed, shared and used. It is this need that is aimed to transform the World-Wide Web to a richer web, the “Semantic Web” or the “Linked data Web” where a common framework allows applications to share and reuse data. Semantic web is about “meaningful computing”, making links to connect related data. The idea of semantic technology is to define, link, integrate, and analyze data from various data sets to obtain new information stream so as to help in more effective discovery, automation, integration, and reuse across various applications.1

Currently, web-based information is based primarily on documents written in HTML that allows visual presentation but provides limited avenues of describing the content. Semantic Web technology aims to address this shortcoming, using RDF, OWL and XML languages.2, 3, 4 These machine-readable languages allow intelligent software to be written while automating the analysis. Semantic technology incorporates morphological, logical, grammatical and natural language analysis while integrating both structured and unstructured data, thus not only translating into higher precision and recall when searching for information, but also delivering all of the most important and accurate data.

The Semantic Web did not evolve overnight and decades of research work are in place since the appearance of the first paper in 1980.5 Different types of articles from scholarly publications through proceeding papers, editorial material and reviews run the gamut of subjects from computer science, through drug discovery, literature, social science and medicine (see references 6 and 7 for examples). In addition, for some recent information on “semantification” of chemistry see the winter 2012 CIB.8

Tracking the growth of the “Web of Data” over the last three decades using citation and data from “Web of Science”9 provides interesting results. Data was collected for fixed time periods and analyzed over a set of parameters including areas of research, language, and country of research. Though computer science and engineering have always been prominent fields of study, there is the slight positive shift in the contributions from Biochemistry-Molecular Biology and Health care sciences (data not shown). It is worth noting the increase in contributions from China over a period of time (see tables). I believe the research community has just taken the first few steps. Though the Semantic web’s future looks promising10 in transforming the Web of static data to a global computational resource, we still have miles to go.

Tables 1 and 2: Analysis of selected time-frame records based on countries. The time-based records are generated from searching for “semantic* web” keyword in the Web of Science:

Table 1. 1990–1999

Countries/Territories

Records

% of 196

USA

99

50.5

France

14

7.1

Germany

11

5.6

Italy

9

4.6

Australia

7

3.6

England

7

3.6

 

Table 2. 2000–2004

Countries/Territories

Records

% of 2235

USA

576

25.8

China

217

9.7

Germany

204

9.1

England

185

8.3

Italy

143

6.4

France

104

4.7

Notes:  Only the first six major contributors are shown.

 

Tables 3 and 4: Analysis of selected time-frame records based on countries. The time-based records are generated from searching for “semantic* web” keyword in the Web of Science:

Table 3. 2005–2009

Countries/Territories

Records

% of 9036

China

1653

18.3

USA

1237

13.7

Germany

753

8.3

England

653

7.2

Italy

599

6.6

Spain

430

4.8

 

Table 4. 2010–present

Countries/Territories

Records

% of 4635

China

761

16.4

USA

687

14.8

Spain

420

9.1

Germany

387

8.4

England

343

7.4

Italy

329

7.1

Notes:  Only the first six major contributors are shown.

 

If the semantic web sounds interesting to you, be sure to check out some of the upcoming talks at the Fall 2013 ACS meeting. Here are a few that discuss the semantic web:

1:35 – 57 – Building support for the semantic web for chemistry at the Royal Society of Chemistry. Valery Tkachenko, tkachenkov@rsc.org, Colin Batchelor, Jon Steele, Alexey Pshenichnov, Antony J. Williams.

2:05 – 58 – PubChemRDF: Towards a semantic description of PubChem. Evan Bolton, bolton@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, Gang Fu, Paul Thiessen, Asta Gindulyte.

3:20 – 60 – Practical semantics in the pharmaceutical industry: The Open PHACTS project. Antony J. Williams, williamsa@rsc.org.

3:50 – 61 – Enabling the translational medicine and drug discovery information workflow. David Evans, david.evans@reedelsevier.ch, Timothy Hoctor, Jacqui Mason, Pieder Caduff.

4:50 – 63 – Application of text mining and semantic technology in external intelligence surveillance. Yiqun H Li, lihy@lilly.com.

 

References:

  1. Nykanen, O. Semantic Web: Definition. http://www.w3c.tut.fi/talks/2003/0331umedia-on/slide6-0.html (accessed 06/23/2013).
  2. Navneet, B; Malik, S. Meeting-the-challenge-of-various-layers-of-Semantic-Web-Architecture-Research-Paper, http://www.scribd.com/doc/3336624/Meeting-the-challenge-of-various-layer... (accessed 06/22/2013).
  3. Aghaei, S.; Nematbakhsh, M. A.; Farsani, H. K. Int. Journal of Web & Semantic Tech. 2012, 3(1), 1-10.
  4. Bratt, S. Towards a Web of Data and Programs, http://www.w3.org/2005/04/06-sb-IEEWebServData.pdf (accessed 06/24/2013).
  5. Freedman, G.; Reynolds, E. G. Reading Teacher, 1980, 33(6), 677-684.
  6. Narock, T.; Fox, P. Computers and Geosciences, 2012, 46, 248-254.
  7. Wang, Z.; Sagotsky, J.; Taylor,T.; Shironoshita, P,; Deisboeck, T.S. Systems Biology and Medicine, 2013, 5(2), 135-151.
  8. http://bulletin.acscinf.org/node/394 (accessed 08/09/2013).
  9. Web of Knowledge, version 5; Thomson Reuters, Philadelphia, PA (accessed 06/23/2013).
  10. Benjamins, V. R. Near-term prospects for semantic technologies. IEEE Intelligent Systems, 2008, 23, 76-88.