FOIS 2023 Call for paper

13th International Conference on Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS 2023), July 17-20, 2023 (Sherbrooke, QC, Canada) and Sept 18-20, 2023 (Online) 

For any questions, please email:

Definition and scope
The FOIS conference is a meeting point for all researchers with an interest in formal ontology. Formal ontology is the systematic study of the types of entities and relations making up the domains of interest represented in modern information systems. The conference encourages submission of high quality, not previously published results on both theoretical issues and practical advancements. FOIS 2023 will have distinct tracks for foundational issues, ontology applications and methods, and domain ontologies.

FOIS aims to be a nexus of interdisciplinary research and communication for researchers from many domains engaging with formal ontology. Common application areas include conceptual modeling, database design, knowledge engineering and management, software engineering, organizational modeling, artificial intelligence, robotics, computational linguistics, the life sciences, bioinformatics and scientific research in general, geographic information science, information retrieval, library and information science, as well as the Semantic Web.

FOIS is the flagship conference of the International Association for Ontology and its Applications (IAOA:, which is a non-profit organization promoting interdisciplinary research and international collaboration in formal ontology.

Important dates

• Abstract submission: 31 January 2023
• Paper submission: 12 February January 2023
• Author rebuttal period: March 24-31, 2023 (tentative)
• Notifications: April 10, 2023 (tentative)
• Camera-ready papers: May 1, 2023
• Onsite conference: July 17-20, 2023
• Virtual conference: week of September 18, 2023

The submission deadline for workshops will be after the notifications to allow authors to submit a revised version of rejected papers to any of the conference workshops if the paper topics are appropriate for this workshop.

FOIS 2023 will consist of a physical meeting and a virtual meeting: 

• An in-person only meeting in Sherbrooke, Quebec from July 17 to 21, 2023 that will be very much like a traditional conference with keynotes, regular talks, workshops and tutorials and plenty of social and networking opportunities. This part will not have a remote participation option, but we plan on recording selected talks (e.g. keynotes).
• This will be followed by an online part to be held from September 18 to 20, 2023 that offers an opportunity for presentation and discussion of additional papers that were not presented at the physical meeting in Sherbrooke. 

FOIS 2023 seeks three types of full-length (14 pages) high-quality papers on a wide range of topics:

• Foundational papers address content-related ontological issues, their formal representation, and their relevance to some aspect of information systems.
• Application and Methods papers address novel systems, methods, and tools related to building, evaluating, or using ontologies, emphasizing the impact of ontology contents.
• Domain ontology papers describe a novel ontology for a specific realm of interest, clarifying ontological choices against requirements and foundational theory, and showing ontology use.

Please refer to the Submissions Instructions (coming soon)  for more details. As usual, the FOIS proceedings will be published by IOS Press.

Topics of interest
Areas of particular interest to FOIS include the following:

Foundational Issues

• Kinds of entities: particulars/universals, continuants/occurrents, abstracta/concreta, dependent entities/independent entities, natural objects/artifacts, events/processes
• Formal relations: parthood, identity, connection, dependence, constitution, causality, subsumption, instantiation
• Vagueness and granularity
• Space, time, and change

Methodological issues

• Top-level vs. domain-specific ontologies
• Role of reference ontologies
• Ontology similarity, integration, alignment, matching and entity reconciliation
• Ontology modularity, patterns, and contextuality
• Ontology evaluation, quality, reuse, adaptation, and evolution
• Ontology compliance with FAIR principles
• Formal comparison among ontologies
• Relationship between conceptual modeling and ontologies
• Relationship with cognition, language, semantics, and context
• Connections between knowledge graphs and ontologies
• Methodological issues in the applications of ontologies
• Social issues, such as trust or bias, with respect to ontologies 


• Technical applications of ontologies, such as
• Semantic Web
• Other areas of AI (Machine Learning, Explainable AI, Rules)
• Qualitative modeling
• Systems applications of ontologies, such as
• Ontology-driven information systems design
• Ontology-based data access
• Knowledge management
• Information retrieval
• Computational linguistics
• Metadata management
• Domain applications of ontologies, such as
• Ontologies for business modeling
• Ontologies for particular scientific disciplines (biology, chemistry, geography, physics, geoscience, cognitive sciences, linguistics, etc.)
• Ontologies for engineering: shape, form and function, artifacts, manufacturing, design, architecture, etc.
• Ontologies for the humanities: arts, cultural studies, history, literature, philosophy, etc.
• Ontologies for the social sciences: economics, law, political science, anthropology, archeology, etc.
• Ontologies for Open Science and dataset sharing

Domain-specific ontologies

• Ontology of physical reality (matter, space, time, motion, etc.)
• Ontology of biological reality (organisms, genes, proteins, cells, etc.)
• Ontology of mental reality and agency (beliefs, intentions, emotions, perceptions, cognition, etc.)
• Ontology of artifacts, functions, capacities and roles
• Ontology of social reality (institutions, organizations, norms, social relationships, artistic expressions, etc.)

Conference Organization

General Chair:

Antony Galton, University of Exeter, UK

PC Chairs:

Nathalie Aussenac-Gilles, IRIT-CNRS Toulouse, France
Torsten Hahmann, University of Maine, USA

Local Organization Chair:

Jean-François Ethier, University of Sherbrooke, Canada 

Online Chair:

Cassia Trojahn, IRIT Université Toulouse 2, France

Workshop and Tutorial Chairs:

Megan Katsumi, University of Toronto, Canada
Emilio Sanfilippo, ISTC-CNR, Trento, Italy

Early Career Chairs:
Antoine Zimmermann, École des Mines de Saint-Étienne (EMSE), France
Guendalina Righetti, Free University Bozen/Bolzano, Italy

Demo & Showcase Chairs:
Sergio de Cesare, University of Westminster, UK

Publicity Chairs:
Lucia Gomez Alvarez, TU Dresden, Germany
Selja Seppälä, University College Cork, Ireland

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