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Table 1 Organising knowledge: the epistemic agents and representational means

From: Open biomedical pluralism: formalising knowledge about breast cancer phenotypes

  Epistemic group Representation type Knowledge (base) type
I Society Demands
Problem (e.g. patient, disease)
Solution (e.g. diagnosis, prognosis, therapy)
standards and funding policies
Common knowledge
II Individual
Cognitive conceptualisation
Implicit representation in mind
Implicit semantics
Background knowledge of an individual scientist
III Communities
(clinical, biomedical,
bioinformatical etc.)
Biomedical claims
expressed in the scientific language - publications
Explicit representation of domain knowledge
Implicit semantics
Background knowledge of
a scientific community
   Terms as units of biomedical claims
Explicit representation of the terms - definition
Implicit semantics
Distributed domain knowledge
Various networks of
biomedical terms
IV Community
(breast cancer)
Model for an ontology
Explicit representation of a unifying conceptual model
expressed in the scientific terms as a shared conceptualisation
Semi-explicit semantics
Sub-domain knowledge
problem related
(merging domains)
V Computer scientists
Explicit formal representation of shared conceptualisation
expressed in a formal language - formal ontology
Explicit semantics
Formalised knowledge
VI Computer scientists
Mapping ontology onto data records (metadata)
Merged ontology model and information model - applied ontology
Explicit representation and semantics
Knowledge Base
   Data (Instances) structured within database architecture
Data models