Peer Review Report: Ontologies relevant to behaviour change interventions, version 3

Human Behaviour Change Project (2021)
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In the present review we focus on what we take to be some remaining issues with the Behaviour Change Intervention Ontology (BCIO). We are in full agreement with the authors’ endorsement of the principles of best practice for ontology development In particular, we agree that an ontology should be “logically consistent and having a clear structures [sic], preferably a well-organised hierarchical structure,” and that “Maximising the new ontology’s interoperability with existing ontologies by reusing entities from existing ontologies where appropriate” is critically important (Wright et al., 2020, p. 17). Our remaining concerns with BCIO relate directly to these two principles. First, we identify a number of issues with some of the classifications and definitions in BCIO that seem to be in tension with the just-mentioned principle . Second, we note some reservations about the reuse of certain classes in BCIO, namely from the Gazetteer (GAZ), the Ontology of Medically Related Social Entities (OMRSE), and the Information Artifact Ontology (IAO). While the latter principle of “reuse” is important, it is also important not to let the reuse of existing classes (or their corresponding definitions) compromise the logical integrity or the realist nature of one’s ontology.

Author Profiles

Robert M. Kelly
Bakersfield College
David Limbaugh
State University of New York (SUNY)
Barry Smith
University at Buffalo


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