Modelling Scientific Processes With the m4i Ontology




Metadata, Ontology, Provenance tracking, Interoperability, JSON-LD, Documentation


We present an approach to document research data in a human and machine readable way by creating JSON-LD metadata files based on the m4i ontology. m4i is based on top level ontologies and reuses concepts of widely accepted ontologies to embed information modelled in m4i in larger contexts like a knowledge graph connecting research data with projects, actors, methods, tools and publications. We use a real-life research example from the engineering domain to show how to describe a research process with its object of research, the different steps with input and output data, the actors, and the used methods and tools. The resulting metadata files can serve as low-threshold documentation in a file system, as an exchange format between tools, as an input for data repositories and as a source of information to be used by scripts and tools.


Download data is not yet available.


M. Sporny , D. Longley, G. Kellogg, M. Lanthaler, P.-A. Champin, N. Lindström (2020). "JSON-LD 1.1. A JSON-based Serialization for Linked Data". (accessed 2023-04-19).

“NFDI4Ing Terminology Service”. (accessed 2023-04-20)

B. Smith, P. Grenon, A. Ruttenberg, M. Brochhausen, W. Ceusters, M. Courtot, R. Di-pert, J. Hastings, C. Mungall, F. Neuhaus, D. Natale, N. Otte, J. Overton, B. Peters, R. Rudnicki, S. Schulz, S. Seppälä, H. Stenzhorn, J. Zheng (2020). "BFO Basic Formal Ontology". (accessed 2023-04-19).

“”. (accessed 2023-04-19).

T. Lebo, S. Sahoo, D. McGuinness. “PROV-O: The PROV Ontology”. W3C Recom-mendation 30 April 2013. (accessed 2023-04-19).

D. Browning. “DCAT 2 Vocabulary”. W3C. (accessed 2023-04-19).

M.D. Wilkinson, M. Dumontier, I.J. Aalbersberg, G. Appleton, M. Axton, A. Baak, N. Blomberg, J.-W. Boiten, L.B. da Silva Santos, P.E. Bourne, J. Bouwman, A. J. Brookes, T. Clark, M. Crosas, I. Dillo, O. Dumon, S. Edmunds, C.T. Evelo, R. Finkers, A. Gonza-lez-Beltran, A.J. Gray, P. Groth, C. Goble, J.S. Grethe, J. Heringa, P.A. ’t Hoen, R. Hooft, T. Kuhn, R. Kok, J. Kok, S.J. Lusher, M.E. Martone, A. Mons, A. L. Packer, B. Persson, P. Rocca-Serra, M. Roos, R. van Schaik, S.-A. Sansone, E. Schultes, T. Sengstag, T. Slater, G. Strawn, M.A. Swertz, M. Thompson; J. van der Lei, E. van Mul-ligen, J. Velterop, A. Waagmeester, P. Wittenburg, K. Wolstencroft, J. Zhao, B. Mons, 'The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship', Scienti-fic Data, vol. 3, pp: 160018.

Metadata4Ing Workgroup. “Metadata4Ing: An ontology for describing the generation of research data within a scientific activity”. Revision 1.1.0. (ac-cessed 2023-04-19).

“metadata4ing”. GitLab RWTH Aachen. (accessed 2023-04-19).

M. Ruf, & H. Steeb. "An open, modular, and flexible micro X-ray computed tomography system for research". Review of Scientific Instruments, vol. 91 no.11, 2020, p. 113102.

M. Ruf, & H. Steeb. "micro-XRCT data set of open-pored asphalt concrete." DaRUS. 2020.

“How to Use Metadata4Ing - First Steps Tutorial”. (accessed 2023-04-20)

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Research Prac-tice. Code of Conduct. 2022.




How to Cite

Iglezakis, D., Terzijska , D., Arndt, S., Leimer, S., Hickmann, J., Fuhrmans, M., & Lanza, G. (2023). Modelling Scientific Processes With the m4i Ontology. Proceedings of the Conference on Research Data Infrastructure , 1.
Received 2023-04-21
Accepted 2023-06-29
Published 2023-09-07

Funding data