Supporting database annotations and beyond with the Evidence & Conclusion Ontology (ECO)

Marcus C. Chibucos, Suvarna Nadendla, James B. Munro, Elvira Mitraka, Dustin Olley, Nicole A. Vasilevsky, Matthew H. Brush, Michelle Giglio

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The Evidence & Conclusion Ontology (ECO) is a community standard for summarizing evidence in scientific research in a controlled, structured way. Annotations at the world's most frequented biological databases (e.g. model organisms, UniProt, Gene Ontology) are supported using ECO terms. ECO describes evidence derived from experimental and computational methods, author statements curated from the literature, inferences drawn by curators, and other types of evidence. Here, we describe recent ECO developments and collaborations, most notably: (i) a new ECO website containing user documentation, up-to-date news, and visualization tools; (ii) improvements to the ontology structure; (iii) implementing logic via an ongoing collaboration with the Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI); (iv) addition of numerous experimental evidence types; and (v) addition of new evidence classes describing computationally derived evidence. Due to its utility, popularity, and simplicity, ECO is now expanding into realms beyond the protein annotation community, for example the biodiversity and phenotype communities. As ECO continues to grow as a resource, we are seeking new users and new use cases, with the hope that ECO will continue to be a broadly used and easy-to-implement community standard for representing evidence in diverse biological applications. Feel free to visit two ECO-sponsored workshops at ICBO 2016 to learn more: 1. "An introduction to the Evidence and Conclusion Ontology and representing evidence in scientific research" and 2. "OBI-ECO Interactions & Evidence".

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCEUR Workshop Proceedings
StatePublished - 2016
Event2016 Joint International Conference on Biological Ontology and BioCreative - Food, Nutrition, Health and Environment for the 9 Billion, ICBO-BioCreative 2016 - Corvallis, United States
Duration: Aug 1 2016Aug 4 2016


  • Annotation
  • Biodiversity
  • Biomedical investigation
  • Conclusion
  • Confidence
  • Curation
  • Evidence
  • Experimental evidence
  • Inference
  • Provenance
  • Sequence similarity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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