An ontological framework for the formal representation and management of human stress knowledge
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There is a great deal of information on the topic of human stress which is embedded within numerous papers across various databases. However, this information is stored, retrieved, and used often discretely and dispersedly. As a result, discovery and identification of the links and interrelatedness between different aspects of knowledge on stress is difficult. This restricts the effective search and retrieval of desired information. There is a need to organize this knowledge under a unifying framework, linking and analysing it in mutual combinations so that we can obtain an inclusive view of the related phenomena and new knowledge can emerge. Furthermore, there is a need to establish evidence-based and evolving relationships between the ontology concepts.Previous efforts to classify and organize stress-related phenomena have not been sufficiently inclusive and none of them has considered the use of ontology as an effective facilitating tool for the abovementioned issues.There have also been some research works on the evolution and refinement of ontology concepts and relationships. However, these fail to provide any proposals for an automatic and systematic methodology with the capacity to establish evidence-based/evolving ontology relationships.In response to these needs, we have developed the Human Stress Ontology (HSO), a formal framework which specifies, organizes, and represents the domain knowledge of human stress. This machine-readable knowledge model is likely to help researchers and clinicians find theoretical relationships between different concepts, resulting in a better understanding of the human stress domain and its related areas. The HSO is formalized using OWL language and Protégé tool.With respect to the evolution and evidentiality of ontology relationships in the HSO and other scientific ontologies, we have proposed the Evidence-Based Evolving Ontology (EBEO), a methodology for the refinement and evolution of ontology relationships based on the evidence gleaned from scientific literature. The EBEO is based on the implementation of a Fuzzy Inference System (FIS).Our evaluation results showed that almost all stress-related concepts of the sample articles can be placed under one or more category of the HSO. Nevertheless, there were a number of limitations in this work which need to be addressed in future undertakings.The developed ontology has the potential to be used for different data integration and interoperation purposes in the domain of human stress. It can also be regarded as a foundation for the future development of semantic search engines in the stress domain.
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