SemStats 2013 Call for Papers

Franck Cotton1
Richard Cyganiak2
Armin Haller3
Alistair Hamilton4
Raphaël Troncy5
Document ID
CC BY 4.0


1st International Workshop on Semantic Statistics co-located with 12th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2013)
Sydney, Australia

Workshop Summary

The goal of this workshop is to explore and strengthen the relationship between the Semantic Web and statistical communities, to provide better access to the data held by statistical offices. It will focus on ways in which statisticians can use Semantic Web technologies and standards in order to formalize, publish, document and link their data and metadata.

The statistical community has recently shown an interest in the Semantic Web. In particular, initiatives have been launched to develop semantic vocabularies representing statistical classifications and discovery metadata. Tools are also being created by statistical organizations to support the publication of dimensional data conforming to the Data Cube specification, now in Last Call at W3C. But statisticians see challenges in the Semantic Web: how can data and concepts be linked in a statistically rigorous fashion? How can we avoid fuzzy semantics leading to wrong analyses? How can we preserve data confidentiality?

The workshop will also cover the question of how to apply statistical methods or treatments to linked data, and how to develop new methods and tools for this purpose. Except for visualisation techniques and tools, this question is relatively unexplored, but the subject will obviously grow in importance in the near future.


There is a growing interest regarding linked data and the semantic web in the statistical community. A large amount of statistical data from international and national agencies has already been published on the web of data, for example Census data from Ireland, Italy or France amongst others. In most cases, though, this publication is done by actors exterior to the statistical office (see in particular, or, which raises issues such as longterm URI persistence, institutional commitment and data maintenance.

Statistical organizations also possess an important corpus of structural metadata such as concept schemes, thesauri, code lists and classifications. Some of those are already available as linked data, generally in SKOS format (e.g. FAO’s Agrovoc or UN’s COFOG). Semantic web standards useful for the statisticians have now arrived at maturity. The best examples are the W3C Data Cube, DCAT and ADMS vocabularies. The statistical community is also working on the definition of more specialized vocabularies, especially under the umbrella of the DDI Alliance. For example, XKOS extends SKOS for the representation of statistical classifications, and Disco defines a vocabulary for data documentation and discovery; and the Visual Analytics Vocabulary is a first step towards semantic descriptions for user interface components developed to visualize Linked Statistical Data which can lead to increased linked data consumption and accessibility. We are now at the tipping point where the statistical and the Semantic Web communities have to formally exchange in order to share experiences and tools and think ahead regarding the upcoming challenges.

The web of data will benefit in getting rich data published by professional and trustworthy data providers. It is also important that metadata maintained by statistical offices like concept schemes of economic or societal terms, statistical classifications, well-known codes, etc., are available as linked data, because they are of good quality, well-maintained, and they constitute a corpus to which a lot of other data can refer to.

Statisticians have a long-going culture of data integrity, quality and documentation. They have developed industrialized data production and publication processes, and they care about data confidentiality and more generally how data can be used. It seems that after a period where the aim was to publish as many triples as possible, the focus of the Semantic Web community is now shifting to having a better quality of data and metadata, more coherent vocabularies (see the LOV initiative), good and documented naming patterns, etc. This workshop aims to contribute in these longer term problems in order to have a significant impact.

The statistics community faces sometimes challenges when trying to adopt Semantic Web technologies, in particular:

  • difficulty to create and publish linked data: this can be alleviated by providing methods, tools, lessons learned and best practices, by publicizing successful examples and by providing support.
  • difficulty to see the purpose of publishing linked data: we must develop end-user tools leveraging statistical linked data, provide convincing examples of real use in applications or mashups, so that the end-user value of statistical linked data and metadata appears more clearly.
  • difficulty to use external linked data in their daily activity: it is important to develop statistical methods and tools especially tailored for linked data, so that statisticians can get accustomed to using them and get convinced of their specific utility.

To conclude, statisticians know how misleading it can be to exploit semantic connections without carefully considering and weighing information about the quality of these connections, the validity of inferences, etc. A challenge for them is to determine, to ensure and to inform consumers about the quality of semantic connections which may be used to support analysis in some circumstances but not others. The workshop will enable participants to discuss these very important issues.


The workshop will address topics related to statistics and linked data. This includes but is not limited to:

How to publish linked statistics?

  • What are the relevant vocabularies for the publication of statistical data?
  • What are the relevant vocabularies for the publication of statistical metadata (code lists and classifications, descriptive metadata, provenance and quality information, etc.)?
  • What are the existing tools? Can the usual statistical software packages (e.g. R, SAS, Stata) do the job?
  • How do we include linked data production and publication in the data lifecycle?
  • How do we establish, document and share best practices?

How to use linked data for statistics?

  • Where and how can we find statistics data: data catalogues, dataset descriptions, data discovery?
  • How do we assess data quality (collection methodology, traceability, etc.)?
  • How can we perform data reconciliation, ontology matching and instance matching with statistical data?
  • How can we apply statistical processes on linked data: data analysis, descriptive statistics, estimation, correction?
  • How to intuitively represent statistical linked data: visual analytics, results of data mining?


This full-day workshop is aimed at an interdisciplinary audience of researchers and practitioners involved or interested in Statistics and the Semantic Web. All papers must represent original and unpublished work that is not currently under review. Papers will be evaluated according to their significance, originality, technical content, style, clarity, and relevance to the workshop. At least one author of each accepted paper is expected to attend the workshop.

Workshop participation is available to ISWC 2013 attendants at an additional cost, see for details.

The workshop will also feature a challenge based on Census Data published on the web or provided by Statistical Institutes. It is expected that data from Australia, France, Ireland, the U.S. and Spain at least will be available. The challenge will consist in the realization of mashups or visualizations, but also on comparisons, alignment and enrichment of the data and concepts involved. A reward will be attributed to the challenge winner. See details on the challenge at SemStats 2013 Challenge.

We welcome the following types of contributions:

  • Full research papers (up to 12 pages)
  • Short papers (up to 6 pages)
  • Challenge papers (up to 6 pages)

All submissions must be written in English and must be formatted according to the information for LNCS Authors (see Please, note that (X)HTML(+RDFa) submissions are also welcome as long as the layout complies with the LNCS style. Authors can for example use the template provided at Submissions are NOT anonymous. Please submit your contributions electronically in PDF format at and before July 13, 2013, 23:59 PM Hawaii Time. All accepted papers will be archived in an electronic proceedings published by

If you are interested in submitting a paper but would like more preliminary information, please contact

Organizing Committee

  • Franck Cotton, INSEE, France
  • Richard Cyganiak, DERI, Ireland
  • Armin Haller, ANU, Australia
  • Alistair Hamilton, ABS, Australia
  • Raphaël Troncy, EURECOM, France

Program Committee

  • Phil Archer, W3C / i-sieve, UK
  • Ghislain Atemezing, EURECOM, France
  • Sarven Capadisli, University of Leipzig, Germany
  • Ric Clarke, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia
  • Jay Devlin, Statistics New Zealand, New Zealand
  • Miguel Expósito, Instituto Cántabro de Estadística, Spain
  • Dan Gillman, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, USA
  • Alberto González Yanes, ISTAC, Spain
  • Arofan Gregory, Open Data Foundation, United States
  • Tudor Groza, The University of Queensland, Australia
  • Christophe Guéret, Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS), The Netherlands
  • Andreas Harth, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
  • Yves Jacques, UN Population Fund, USA
  • Laurent Lefort, CSIRO, Australia
  • Marco Pellegrino, Eurostat, Luxembourg
  • Dave Reynolds, Epimorphics, UK
  • Monica Scannapieco, Istat, Italy
  • François Scharffe, LIRMM, University of Montpellier, France
  • Hideaki Takeda, National Institute of Informatics, Japan
  • Wendy Thomas, University of Minnesota, United States
  • Bernard Vatant, Mondeca, France
  • Boris Villazón-Terrazas, iSOCO, Intelligent Software Components, Spain
  • Joachim Wackerow, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany
  • Stuart Williams, Epimorphics, UK