CFP: Special Issue on Ontology-Based Data Access

Special Issue of the Journal of Web Semantics
on Ontology-Based Data Access

The competitiveness of many enterprises today relies on exploiting the wealth of information that is available in various distributed data sources or services. Thus, the problem of integrating data coming from many distributed and heterogeneous data sources has been a hot research topic for many years, and has received the attention of researchers in databases, knowledge representation, and the semantic web. Furthermore, the recent utilization of "big data" in the private sector, government, and science has not only reinforced the importance of this topic but added the challenge of scaling to huge datasets.

The ontology-based data access (OBDA) paradigm was formulated a few years ago to tackle the problem of data integration, and more generally that of accessing data sources with a complex structure. The OBDA approach is based on three components: the data layer, the conceptual model of the application that is used for expressing user requests, and the mapping between the two. The data layer might consist of a single, possibly federated, database, or by a collection of possibly distributed and heterogeneous data sources (this case is also known as ontology-based data integration). The conceptual model is represented by an ontology, typically formalised in an appropriate description logic, and user requests are expressed as queries over the ontology. The mapping between the conceptual model and the data sources is formalized by mapping assertions, which are based on an appropriate logical language, but which may also incorporate extra-logical features for data manipulation. The aim of an OBDA system is to answer user queries by transforming them into appropriate queries to the data layer, using the ontology and the mapping.

Traditionally, in OBDA, it has been assumed that data source(s) are relational, and that they are queried through SQL. However, the OBDA approach to data integration can also be used in the context of non-relational data sources e.g., XML, RDF etc. Given the recent proliferation of linked data sources and the importance of the linked paradigm for making data public, we expect to see a stronger convergence of work in these two areas.

Data exchange is another interesting paradigm closely related to OBDA. In data exchange, data that are organized according to one schema (called the source schema) need to be translated into an instance of a different schema (called the target schema), possibly equipped with constraints. The translation must respect certain dependencies that are again formalized as mappings among the two given schemas. While in OBDA the focus is on answering user queries over the conceptual model, in data exchange the aim is to understand how to materialize data in the target schema, respecting the mappings and the constraints, so as to answer queries directly using the materialized data.

This special issue will cover recent advances of the OBDA approach and its relation to other promising paradigms such as data exchange and linked data integration. Although we are interested in all aspects of the OBDA approach, including foundational work, we are also keen to attract papers that present and evaluate analytically and/or experimentally implemented OBDA systems, as well as papers that demonstrate the applicability of the OBDA paradigm to real-world situations.

Submission guidelines

The Journal of Web Semantics solicits original scientific contributions of high quality. Submission of your manuscript is welcome provided that it, or any translation of it, has not been copyrighted or published and is not being submitted for publication elsewhere. Upon acceptance of an article, the author(s) will be asked to transfer copyright of the article to the publisher. This transfer will ensure the widest possible dissemination of information. Manuscripts should be prepared for publication in accordance with instructions given in the JWS guide for authors. The submission and review process will be carried out using Elsevier's Web-based EES system. Final decisions of accepted papers will be approved by an editor in chief. Final copies of accepted publications will appear in print and at the archival online server. Author preprints of the articles will be made freely accessible on the preprint server of the journal.


Important dates

  • Paper submission deadline: September 30, 2013
  • Initial notification of acceptance (approximate): end of January 2013
  • Publication by the end of 2014