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[bioontology-support] Please help BioPortal and NCBO

Mark A Musen musen at
Tue Sep 13 12:52:17 PDT 2016

Dear Colleagues,

This message is about the future of the NCBO and the BioPortal system.

As most of you know, Stanford is able to make the BioPortal ontology repository and the related NCBO technologies available only because we have received a generous grant from the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH).  We have received ongoing funding for the NCBO since 2005, and it is now time to prepare our next grant application so that we can continue our work.  For those of you who have benefitted from the availability of BioPortal, its repository of more than 500 biomedical ontologies and terminologies, and the many NCBO services that we have developed over the years, we would be extremely grateful if you could join with us to help secure the next round of funding so that you can continue to receive these benefits.

I am asking for something very simple:  A letter of support that we can include in our grant application.

When our request for grant funding will be reviewed by the NIH, the testimonials that we receive from our user community will have a major role in determining whether we will receive future funding and, if so, whether we will be funded at the level that we request in our proposal.  Letters from people who rely on NCBO technology will go a long way in ensuring uninterrupted services and the many exciting new features that we have planned for the years ahead.  Your letter will make an enormous difference to ensure that BioPortal doesn’t go away.

It would be best if you could send me a signed letter on letterhead (preferably, a PDF) that I can include in the grant application.  Sending me plain e-mail is OK, but a letter on formal letterhead with a real signature will have maximum impact.

Please describe your project and how it uses NCBO technology.  Do you use BioPortal?  Via the Web interface, via the API, or both?  Are there ontologies or terminologies available in the BioPortal library that are not easily accessible elsewhere?  What would happen to your work if BioPortal were to be shut down?

As I have indicated, formal letters are best, but, if it is impractical to write a letter, a brief e-mail message will be greatly appreciated.  Fundamentally, the continued existence of the BioPortal resource depends on our ability to demonstrate the importance of our work to the community of users whom we support.  Without your enthusiastic letters, NIH will not see evidence for continuing to fund us.

I know that this request imposes on your time.  The entire NCBO team will be grateful for any statement of support that we can include in our grant application.  One of the most exciting aspects of the NCBO has been the ability to serve and support a user community that believes in our work and in what we are trying to do.

Please send your letters to me at the address below.  If you know of others who might be able to help us out, then please forward this message directly to them.  The more letters that we receive, the better!   If you have recently sent us a letter of support, thank you!

If you could send us your new letter by October 14, 2016, we will be very grateful.

Many thanks for your support and for your contributions to our community.

Mark Musen
Principal Investigator
The National Center for Biomedical Ontology

Mark A. Musen, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine (Biomedical Informatics Research) and Biomedical Data Science
Director, Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research
Stanford University
1265 Welch Road, X-215
Stanford, CA  94305-5479  USA

musen at<mailto:musen at>
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