The Manchester OWLRepository is a collection of OWL and OWL compatible ontologies curated mainly for the purpose of OWL related empirical work such as surveys and benchmarking experiments.
Empirical work with ontologies comes in a wide variety of forms, for example surveys of the modular structure of ontologies, surveys of modelling patterns to inform design decisions of engineering environments and benchmarking activities for reasoning services such as Description Logic (DL) classification. Since it is generally difficult to obtain representative datasets, both due to technical reasons (lack of suitable collections) and conceptual reasons (lack of agreement on what they should be representative of), it is common practice to manually select a somewhat arbitrary set of ontologies that usually supports the given case. On top of that, few authors ever publish the datasets they used, often for practical reasons (e.g. size, e ort), which makes reproducing experiment results often impossible. The currently best option for ontology related research is the BioPortal repository, which provides a web based interface for browsing ontologies in the biomedical domain and a REST web service to programmatically obtain copies of all (public) versions of a wide range of biomedical ontologies. There are, however, certain problems with this option. First, the repository is limited to biomedical ontologies, which makes BioPortal unsuitable for surveys that require access to ontologies of different domains. The second problem is the technical barrier of accessing the web service: It requires a good amount of work to download all interesting ontologies, for example due to a range of ontologies published in a compressed form or the logistical hurdle of recreating new snapshots over and over again. The third problem is due to the fact that there is no shared understanding of what it means to “use Bioportal”. Different authors have different inclusion and exclusion criteria, for example they only take the ones that are easily parseable after download, or the ones that were accessible at a particular point in time. The Manchester OWL Repository aims to bridge that gap by providing a framework for conveniently retrieving some standard datasets and allowing users to create, and share, their own.