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

Manolis Koubarakis koubarak at di.uoa.gr
Wed May 1 21:30:04 CEST 2013

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 formalized 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

Traditionally, in OBDA, it has been assumed that data sources 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 is organized according to one schema
(called the source schema) needs 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

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 for this special issue should
be prepared for publication in accordance to instructions given in the
JWS Guide for Authors. The submission and review process will be
carried out using Elsevier's Web-based EES system. See the site
of the journal (http://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-web-semantics/)
for more details.

Final decisions for accepted papers will be approved by an editor in
chief. Final copies of accepted publications will appear in print and on
the archival online server
Author preprints of the articles will be made freely accessible
on the preprint server of the journal:

Important Submission Guideline
To ensure that all manuscripts are correctly
identified for inclusion into this special issue, authors should
select “Special issue: ontology-based data access” when they reach
the “Article Type” step in the submission process.

Important Dates
Paper submission deadline: July 31, 2013
Initial notification of acceptance (approximate): end of November 2013
Publication in middle 2014

Diego Calvanese, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
Manolis Koubarakis, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
David Toman, University of Waterloo

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