We strive to produce concise, yet descriptive, ontology term labels and definitions. Please review the following points before submitting your request.

Rules for New Terms

Succinct term name (label) in the form of evidence

Examples are "microscopy evidence" or "motif discovery evidence". Many ECO experimental evidence types can be thought of as recorded information derived from a process (e.g. performing an assay) that has inputs of various components (e.g. machines, instruments, reagents, samples) and has outputs of various data types (e.g. images, tables, figures).

Aristotelian definition, in the form of "B is an A that C's"

In other words, consider exactly what characteristics (C) make this term (B) a more specific subtype of the parent term (A). Consider also what distinguishes this term from other proposed or existing terms sharing its parent. For example, the term "traceable author statement" is a subclass (child term) of "author statement". The definition of "traceable author statement" is "An author statement that is based on a cited reference". A related term with the same parent, "non-traceable author statement", is defined as "An author statement that is not associated with results presented or a cited reference." As subclasses of the same parent, these terms share common attributes, i.e. they are both author statements, but they each have distinguishing characteristics that are specific and non-overlapping, as well.

Definitions should be succinct and fit into one sentence

However, they should contain as much information as is required to capture the meaning of the term. Additional comments, examples, or usage notes should be provided in a separate comments section and not merged into the definition. This will prevent unnecessarily restricting the meaning of terms so that they can only be used by a specific database (usually the term creator's database).

Suggest a parent term, either existing or new

As you are researching your term's definition, make a note of its most appropriate parent term. In general, ECO is trying to follow a single inheritance hierarchy, where each term has one parent. If you feel that more parents are appropriate or necessary, then note this and we can create appropriate logical definitions to allow for inferring these relationships.

Provide a reference for the definition, preferably in the form of a PubMed ID

Preferred references are papers that are free (i.e. no paywall) and easy to access for most people.

Contact Information

Please provide us with your name, email, and organizational affiliation. This allows us to provide proper attribution in our notes and helps us to track groups that are using ECO.

Additional information can be shared

Writing clear, detailed, succinct definitions requires full knowledge of a subject. There are many types of additional information that can help us write better definitions & comments and clarify subtleties in meaning. These include:

  • Additional references or hyperlinks to articles
  • Personal notes on ECO term use in curation
  • Examples of ECO terms in use by other resources
  • Personal notes about the techniques (experimental or computational) described by a requested term
  • Knowledge about terms similar to ECO terms at other ontologies, databases, and other resources