BU’s keywords for research – is everything included?

In May/June there was some discussion on the blog about developing keywords for research (research ontology/vocabulary/taxonomy) which would be used to classify BU research in future.

See previous blog posts here:

Looking to the future the finalised ontology will be extremely important in structuring how research at BU is presented, internally and externally, particularly on the external research webpages and the directory of expertise.

Responses received via the Blog indicated that the Science-Metrix ontology was too broad and that the Library of Congress ontology was too granular, so it seems that neither is a perfect fit for BU.

Using the Library of Congress ontology as a starting point we have worked with the Deputy Deans (R&E)/equivalent, Research Centre Directors and UOA Leaders to list the key specialisms applicable to BU. The resulting list is now available – you can read this by following the link below:

BU research ontology v3

We need to finalise the list by 19 August 2011. But before we finalise the list we’d very much appreciate your advice as to whether these keywords adequately cover your disciplines. If you’d like to suggest any changes to the list please could you add a comment to this post by 19 August?

In addition we are interested to know whether the proposed level structure is useful or whether one list of keywords would be preferable? Let us know your views by commenting on this post!

16 Responses to “BU’s keywords for research – is everything included?”

  1. Kirsty

    I’m afraid I’m a little disappointed that my previous comments weren’t taken on board and despite mentioning it in the comments of a previous thread occupational therapy (which I remember seeing on the list doesn’t appear to be represented here), neither is physiotherapy, operating department practice, nutrition or paramedic science. In fact the Heath and Social Care thread seems very narrow (only covering the professions of Nursing and Midwifery) considering the breadth of disciplines in the school. I am subscribed to the blog but am not aware of consultation on this through other forums.

  2. Julie Northam

    Hi Kirsty,
    Many thanks for your comment. This is exactly the kind of response required. I have added your suggestions (occupational therapy, physiotherapy, operating department practice, nutrition and paramedic science) to V4 of the list which will be circulated via the Blog at the end of this stage of the consultation (after 19 August).

  3. Andy Mayers


    I am a little concerned that clinical psychology may have been overlooked in the research ontology. This is a vital research strand, particularly bearing in mind the collaboration between BU and Dorset HealthCare NHS Trust on mental health. There is some inconsistency on these web pages regarding whether it will be included. According to this link, it is listed under sub-field 130:


    However, the PDF list does not include it:


    The clinical psychology research strand really needs to be included



  4. Carol

    I would add the following:

    Research ethics
    Healthcare ethics

    Social Sciences
    Mixed methodology

    Health and social care
    Health Information
    Self management

    Higher education
    Interprofessional Education

    I would also like to see the Internet and Web 2.0 included. I would put them under an Information or Information Science heading, but there isn’t one at the moment.

  5. Julie Northam

    Hi Andy,
    Thanks for your comments. I will add clinical psychology into V4 of the keywords list.

  6. Julie Northam

    Hi Carol,
    Thanks for your suggestions. I have added all of them to V4 of the list, with the exception of ‘Interprofessional Education’ which is already included under the ‘Health and Social Care’ heading.
    I’ve added ‘Internet’ and ‘Web 2.0’ in the ‘Computer science and informatics’ group.
    I hope this is ok!

  7. Katarzyna Musial

    I looked at the ontology and I would like to say that I am very happy to find complex systems in there. However, it was placed in Computer Science and Informatics. I believe it is not so easy with this area of research to categorise it in one place.
    Area of complex systems is a very interdisciplinary field as it is present in Computer Science, Biology, Sociology, Economics, Mathematics, Physics and many more. And my concern is that the current ontology does not really support this kind of interdisciplinary approach. Do you have any plans for promoting interdisciplinary approach in the ontology?
    The ontology in its current form is a tree not an overlapping set of concepts. More complex ontology would enable different disciplines to overlap and gather them under the umbrella of interdisciplinary concept (e.g. complex systems).

  8. Julie Northam

    Thanks, Kate. I agree that the structure we currently have for the ontology is too rigid and not flexible enough to meet the requirements of inter/multidisciplinary research. How about it there was just one list of keywords which were not grouped into smaller subject clusters? Or do you need the disciplines to map to one another?

    • Katarzyna Musial

      Dear Julie,
      thank you for your answer.
      In terms of interdisciplinary research it would be good if in the ontology you can gather the already idetified research fields (that belong to a specific research field) also under the crosdisciplinary area.
      To be more specific and present you my idea I am preparing the figure that will show it. I will send it to you later on today.

  9. Carol Bond

    Thanks for adding my suggestions, just one problem.

    Putting ‘Internet’ and ‘Web 2.0′ in the ‘Computer science and informatics’ group could suggest the technical side of the discipline rather than the information aspects which I think should be under an information heading.

  10. Einar Thorsen

    Hi Julie,

    Could we also add the following terms to the Media and Communication list?
    mass communication
    media coverage

    Would it also be possible to add methodological terms, so as to help accentuate research dimension (e.g., content analysis, discourse, ethnography)?


  11. Einar Thorsen

    Hi Julie,

    My original comment does not show up, so have emailed you separately.


    • Julie Northam

      Thanks so much for these additional keywords, Einar. I have added them to version 4 of the ontology which I plan to circulate via the blog later today.