ScienceWISE project


The provides scientists with possibilities of article annotation and scientific bookmarking, helping the international community of physicists to generate dynamically, as a part of their everyday work, an interactive semantic environment, containing a field specific concept ontology with direct connections to the body of research papers in physics, available at (the standard all-physics preprint server since early 1990s).

Goals and perspectives of the project

We expect the successful realization of this project to bring several important break-through. Information management in physics faces new additional problems that are very different from those in, say, bioinformatics or even in formal mathematics. A typical starting point in, say, bioinformatics is to identify set of concepts describing elements of some natural "Lego construction set", that are well defined and have a finite set of easily classifiable properties. They are relatively easy to be formalized in an ontology and manipulated automatically using two main abstractions: hierarchies and keywords. However, advances in physics cannot be categorized using those simple abstractions, because they often revolve around sets of complex, rather abstract and hardly formalizable concepts and their non-trivial relationship.Thus, manipulating it automatically requires a fundamental new step in information management, e.g. development of new tools facilitating the elicitation and the automatic manipulation of complex and dynamic knowledge graphs.

If achieved, it will allow for a breakthrough in many areas of science, industry and business where a similar expert community with electronic document space exists and a minimal field specific ontology is rather non- trivial.

It should be added that, if successful, the first stage of the project will revolutionize research in physics itself, where collaborations involving thousands of people with very different expertise are more and more required and organizing non-trivial information becomes a crucial obstacle for development.

The key idea to achieve such a breakthrough is to create a system that is continuously developed, updated and trained by the experts as a part of their daily scientific work.

The community of experts in a given field (from thousands to tens thousands of members) is large enough to provide enough statistics and social power, but it is also still small and homogeneous enough to collectively discuss very non-trivial information and methods. As a result, collective efforts of the community, applied as a part of everyday work, get accumulated so that the environment hosting these everyday activities becomes "smart" -- capable of analyzing and process research information that goes through it. (The existing for international physics community is just a first step in this direction.)

Therefore, there are three main elements in the project:
  • the complex knowledge-graph which should capture the advances/concepts in physics and their complex relationships
  • the social community of experts in a field which give local, noisy and incomplete knowledge about some parts of this knowledge-graph
  • the system itself, which consolidates all local inputs with the current ontology and creates a comprehensive, global and dynamic knowledge system

Annotation of your own scientific articles

Authors may now create annotated (or tagged) versions of their arXiv articles using the ScienceWISE service. The corresponding links can be found on user's page when clicking on the icon ScienceWISE icon on page. Tagged PDF versions are linked from the arXiv abstract page (see the screenshot on the right). Examples of tagged PDFs can be found for example here:
  1. 1103.5989
  2. 0812.0010
  3. 0710.3755
Altogether our system currently contains more than 150 annotated papers.


ScienceWISE also provides scientific bookmarking facilities and the icon ScienceWISE
          icon on page have been added to the set of bookmarking providers displayed on all abstract pages. Once you have added several bookmarks on your page, you see the list of bookmarked papers and the minimal list of concepts used to index this papers to bookmark. There is a cloud view, showing all used concepts. However, in the default (list) view one first sees only the minimal set of concepts such that in all bookmarked paper at least one of them is used. Clicking on any one of them narrow the list of papers to those that use this one. The concept filter than narrows down to those concepts that co-occur together with this one only. As a result any paper can be found in 2-3 clicks.


Scientists can create their own definitions, explaining important scientific concepts. These definitions are authored, (see e.g. Andreev reflection by Carlo Beenakker or Neutrino Minimal Standard Model by Mikhail Shapohsnikov (click here for the full list of definitions) These definition articles are available for all the authors of regular research papers, as a part of their annotation process.

About the team

The ScienceWISE project is a collaboration of a group of physicists from the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne (EPFL), CERN in collaboration with the computer scientists from Distributed Information Systems Laboratory and eXascale Infolab at the University of Fribourg. Our goal is to create an environment that would encourage physics and other scientific communities to dynamically create an encyclopedia and an ontology of the important scientific concepts.

The main participants:

  • Alexey Boyarsky
  • Oleg Ruchayskiy
  • Karl Aberer (EPFL)
  • Roman Prokofyev (UniFR)
  • Volodymyr Kuznetsov (EPFL)
  • Zoltan Miklos (EPFL)
  • Philippe Cudre-Mauroux (UniFR)
  • Gianluca Demartini (UniFR)

Former participants:

  • Sergey Kopylov
  • Alexander Chuklin

with important contributions from

  • Monika Henzinger
  • Gleb Skobeltsyn

Main ScienceWISE papers

  • Ontology-Based Word Sense Disambiguation in the Scientific Domain []

    In: 35th European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR 2013),
    Moscow, Russia,
  • From scientific papers to the scientific ontology: dynamical clustering of heterogeneous graphs and ontology crowdsourcing []

    Boston, USA,
  • Tag Recommendation for Large-Scale Ontology-Based Information Systems []

    In: 11th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2012 - Evaluations and Experiments Track),
    Boston, MA, USA,
  • ScienceWISE: A Web-based Interactive Semantic Platform for Paper Annotation and Ontology Editing []

    In: Extended Semantic Web conference 2012
  • An Integrated Socio-Technical Crowdsourcing Platform for Accelerating Returns in eScience []

    In: 10th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2011 - Outrageous Ideas),
    Bonn, Germany,
    2nd most Outrageous Idea
  • ScienceWISE: A Web-based Interactive Semantic Platform for Scientific Collaboration []

    In: 10th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2011 - Demo),
    Bonn, Germany,
    Best Demo Award
Example of the arxiv page