The wording of this principle is still in progress.

Summary and Purpose

The ontology needs to reflect changes in scientific consensus to remain accurate over time.


Ideally, the maintainer of an ontology should actively monitor for any changes in scientific consensus, but at a minimum, the maintainer needs to be responsive in a timely manner (less than 3 months) to requests from the community pointing out such changes in scientific consensus. Tentatively, we consider scientific consensus to be reached if multiple publications by independent labs over a year come to the same conclusion, and there is no or limited (<10%) dissenting opinions published in the same time frame. In cases an area remains controversial, and no consensus is reached, then it is up to the ontology maintainer to either leave out the controversial term, or pick a viewpoint for practical considerations, and note the presence of controversy in an editor note.

Review Criteria

The developers of the ontology need to include a statement specifying how they are planning to maintain the ontology. We expect that an ontology will be maintained for at least 3 years from the time of review.

Original Formulation

The original 2006 principles stated in the preamble:

 OBO is an open community and, by joining the initiative,
the authors of an ontology commit to its *maintenance in light of
scientific advance* and to working with other members to ensure the
improvement of these principles over time