Summary

There should be a person who is responsible for communications between the community and the ontology developers, for communicating with the Foundry on all Foundry-related matters, for mediating discussions involving maintenance in the light of scientific advance, and for ensuring that all user feedback is addressed.

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Purpose

It is important that there is a person responsible for communication rather than a group of people or a list. Secondary or tertiary contacts are however appropriate. Often in communications to a list, the responsibility for responding can be diffused and it is likely that in some scenarios no response will be given. It may also, from time to time, be necessary to engage in strategic communications (e.g. relating to funding or collaboration possibilities) that are not able to be made public, and these should not be conducted on public mailing lists. The designation of a contact person is not to be interpreted as a designation for credit.

Implementation

Recommendation:

The name, email address and github username of this person should be provided when requesting to register with OBO. This person must be subscribed to obo-discuss in order to be kept abreast of community developments of relevance to participating ontology projects. The email address of the person who is the locus of the authority must be kept up-to-date, and before that person ceases to have responsibility for the project, they should identify a replacement and update the metadata accordingly (via the OBO Foundry issue tracker) before they move on. The contact person can, of course, delegate these responsibilities as necessary.

Examples:

For ChEBI, the primary contact person is Gareth Owen (gowen@ebi.ac.uk).

Counterexamples:

Mailing list; for ChEBI, chebi-help@ebi.ac.uk

History

Original Formulation

 (Name: Locus of Authority) There should be a single person who is responsible for the 
 ontology, for ensuring continued maintenance in light of scientific advance and prompt 
 response to user feedback, Contact information for this person should be provided on the 
 ontology website, and listed in the OBO Library Metadata File.
 
 There should be a single person (perhaps the same person) who is responsible for liaison 
 between the ontology developers and the OBO Foundry coordinating editors.