Sociotechnical Architecture for Biomedical Communication on the Web of Argument and Data

Timothy W. Clark

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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his work undertakes an analysis of problems in the information model by which biomedical research is communicated on the Web, and proposes a semantic model by which these problems can be resolved. It uses and develops Activity Theory and Argumentation Theory as tools in this analysis, and produces a semantic model of biomedical communication on the Web, in OWL2, which it shows can be applied to current research articles and implemented in software.It makes contributions in three areas. This work contributes to Activity Theory, a model used in the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Computer-Supported Collaborative Work (CSCW) domains, by resolving ambiguities and formalizing concepts previously obscure in the theory, and by reformulating it as an Activity Views Model. It contributes to Argumentation Theory, used in AI and Communications Theory, by integrating the work of Toulmin, Dung, and others, and applying it specifically to construct a semantic model of biomedical argumentation, which may be more generally applicable in scientific communications. And it contributes to improving scientific communications on the web, by developing a practical semantic model of biomedical communications, as arguments grounded in reproducible methods, materials and data, in OWL2.Lastly, this work demonstrates that our model can be (a) applied consistently to examples from the biomedical literature, with serialization in RDF; (b) applied independently and successfully, by biomedical research workers not specially trained in informatics; and (c) having published the model as an ontology, that it has been implemented in software, and is capable of further useful application in the biomedical communications ecosystem by others.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Manchester
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2014


  • Semantic Web
  • Biomedical Communication
  • Argumentation
  • Web of Data
  • Argumentation Framework
  • Activity Theory


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