This thematic series focuses on the application of web based technologies for knowledge representation and data integration in life sciences, that seek to facilitate biomedical research and healthcare practice. The series originates in research presented at two conferences, SWAT4LS (Semantic Web Application and Tools for Life Sciences) which is held annually in Europe, and CSHALS(Conference on Semantics in Healthcare and Life Sciences), which is held annually in the United States. These two venues foster critical discussions on the limits, challenges, and opportunities in the adoption of semantic web technologies in healthcare and life sciences. The emergence of the Web as the primary communication medium; the ever increasing amount of biomedical information and the convergence of disciplines in the biomedical spectrum are all phenomena that point at the Web as a promising technology platform to increase the efficiency of biomedical research and healthcare delivery. At the same time, they make evident the need for semantic approaches in order to integrate information that arises from different processes and disciplines in a meaningful way. At this convergence of Web and semantic solutions we are witnessing a front of innovation where various approaches, including Semantic Web and Linked Data solutions, are proposed. The objective of this thematic series, and of the events that underpin it, is to explore this front of innovation, both in the critical assessment of current technologies and in novel proposals. The series is open for any submission that fits into these objectives. The 2012 SWAT4LS and CSHALS papers can be found at: http://www.jbiomedsem.com/series/SWAT4LSCSHALS.
Prof. Jonas Almeida, Dr Albert Burger, Prof Joanne Luciano, Dr Andrea Splendiani