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Keep the Protégé project alive!

From: Rafael Gonçalves <rafael.goncalves@stanford.edu>
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2019 10:34:27 -0700
Message-Id: <D1B311C6-27EC-44BB-9D0A-94E986147C06@stanford.edu>
To: semantic-web@w3.org
Dear Colleagues,

I am writing about a matter that I know is important to the Semantic Web community—fundamentally, the future of the Protégé system.

As most of you know, Stanford is able to make Protégé available as a freely downloadable, supported, open-source platform for developing and managing ontologies only because we receive a generous grant from the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The NIH funding supports feature enhancements requested by the community and allows us to maintain our software.  Each new release of the Protégé and WebProtégé systems is a direct result of our NIH funding.

We have received ongoing funding for the Protégé resource since 2003, and we are now preparing our next grant application so that we can continue to evolve the software (our Cloud client, WebProtégé, and a wide range of Protégé enhancements) and to answer questions posted to our mailing lists.  For those of you who have benefitted from the availability of Protégé over the years, we would be extremely grateful if you could join with us to help us secure the next round of funding so that you can continue to receive these benefits.

We are asking for something very simple:  A letter of support that we can include in our grant application.

When our request for grant funding will be reviewed by the NIH, the testimonials that we receive from our user community will have a major role in determining whether we will receive future funding.  Your letters will go a long way in ensuring uninterrupted user support and many exciting new features in the years ahead.  

If you would like to help out, it would be best if you could send us a signed letter on letterhead (either a hardcopy or, preferably, a PDF) that we can include in the grant application.  Sending a plain e-mail is OK, but a letter on formal letterhead with a real signature will have maximum impact on the reviewers.  Regardless of whether you send a real letter or e-mail, it would be best not to quote this message or to appear prompted in your comments; reviewers prefer testimonials that appear to spring from the heart.

To be most helpful, we will need your letter in the next four weeks. 

Every letter should provide a brief description of the projects for which you are using Protégé or have used Protégé.  If a project is the result of federally sponsored research, please include a reference to the agency that is funding the work and the corresponding grant or contract number, if possible.  Grant numbers are particularly important to the National Institutes of Health.

Although there is no required format for your letter—and indeed it should not appear that your letter is following a specific template—it would be wonderful if you could comment on the following kinds of things:

* How are you using Protégé?  Please describe the project or projects with which you are using the system.

* How have you benefitted from the Protégé resource?  Have you or your team used our mailing lists?  Have you communicated with the Protégé development group directly?  Have you attended any of our short courses?

* If the availability of an open-source product such as Protégé is important to you, you might comment on why this is the case.

* There are several research tools and commercial products on the market that allow users to create and edit ontologies and knowledge bases.  If you believe that Protégé, its plug-ins, or the Protégé user community offer advantages that are important to you that are not associated with these other systems, you might want to comment on why you are using Protégé, if this is the case.  Do you see a tangible advantage to the development and enhancement of a tool such as Protégé by a research group such as ours?  Simply put, the government will want to know why it should continue to invest in the Protégé system and in its ongoing evolution.

* In sum, how has the availability of the Protégé resource made a difference to you and your work?

We know that this request imposes on your time.  The entire Protégé team will be grateful for any statement of support that we can include in our grant application, which will go out at the end of October.  One of the most exciting aspects of the Protégé project has been the ability to serve and support a user community that believes in our work and in what we are trying to do. 

Please send your letters to the e-mail address below, addressed to Mark Musen—Principal Investigator of the Protégé Project (mailing address at the bottom of this email).

protege-letters@lists.stanford.edu <mailto:protege-letters@lists.stanford.edu>

If you know of others who might be able to help us out, then please forward this message directly to them.  The more letters that we receive, the better!

Many thanks for your support and for your contributions to our user community,

The Protégé Team

Mark A. Musen, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine (Biomedical Informatics) and of Biomedical Data Science
Head, Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research
Stanford University School of Medicine
1265 Welch Road, Room X-215
Stanford, CA  94305-5479

Phone: +1 (650) 725-3390
e-mail: musen@stanford.edu <mailto:musen@stanford.edu>

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Received on Friday, 27 September 2019 17:34:53 UTC

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