Term Guidelines
2022 Workshop

Ontology for Biomedical Investigations

Community Standard for Scientific Data Integration

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The Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI) helps you communicate clearly about scientific investigations by defining more than 2500 terms for assays, devices, objectives, and more.

It’s easy to use with many other Open Biomedical Ontologies, including the Gene Ontology, Protein Ontology, Plant Ontology, ChEBI, and many more.

What is an Ontology?

An ontology is a system of carefully defined terminology, connected by logical relationships, and designed for both humans and computers to use. OBI is about scientific investigations, so OBI contains general terms such as ‘assay’ and specific terms such as ‘genotyping by high throughput sequencing assay’. Every term has a unique identifier, standard metadata, and logical definitions that connect it to other terms in OBI and the wider OBO community.

By using OBI terms when you collect your data, you benefit from the careful definitions, and can use the logical network to enrich search and analysis. By using OBI terms when you share your data, you make it easy for others to understand your work, and integrate it with their own datasets that use OBI and OBO terminology.


The OBI Wiki includes documentation on the use and development of OBI. Like OBI, the wiki is under development and we encourage contributions.

Request a Term

Please see our term guidelines for information on how to request a new term, or request changes to an existing term.

Report a Problem

Please use our GitHub issue tracker to report a problem with OBI:

Cite OBI

Please cite The Ontology for Biomedical Investigations, PLoS One. 2016 Apr 29;11(4):e0154556. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154556. eCollection 2016.

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