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Barend Mons

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Barend Mons
Born1957 (age 66–67)
The Hague, Netherlands
Known for
Scientific career
ThesisIntra erythrocytic differentiation of Plasmodium Berghei (1986)
Websitewww.go-fair.org; www.gofairfoundation.org

Barend Mons (born 1957, The Hague) is a molecular biologist by training and a leading FAIR data specialist. The first decade of his scientific career he spent on fundamental research on malaria parasites and later on translational research for malaria vaccines. In the year 2000 he switched to advanced data stewardship and (biological) systems analytics. He is currently a professor in Leiden and most known for innovations in scholarly collaboration, especially nanopublications, knowledge graph based discovery and most recently the FAIR data initiative and GO FAIR. Since 2012 he is a Professor in biosemantics in the Department of Human Genetics at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) in The Netherlands.[1][2][3] In 2015 Barend was appointed chair of the High Level Expert Group on the European Open Science Cloud. Since 2017 Barend is heading the International Support and Coordination office of the GO FAIR initiative. He is also the elected president of CODATA, the standing committee on research data related issues of the International Science Council. Barend is a member of the Netherlands Academy of Technology and Innovation(ACTI). He is also the European representative in the Board on Research Data and Information (BRDI) of the National Academies of Science for engineering and medicine in the USA. Barend is a frequent keynote speaker about FAIR and open science around the world, and participates in various national and international boards.



Mons was awarded a Masters (1981 Cum Laude) and a PhD (1986) from Leiden University on cellular and molecular biology of the malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei,[4] and has worked for more than ten years on the genetic differentiation of malaria parasites and vaccine research,[5][6][7][8] publishing over 45 research articles.[1] After switching to biosemantics he published some 80 papers on this area, many of them highly cited.[9]

Past career


In 1993 Mons joined the European Commission as a Seconded National Expert with the task to develop and support international scientific networks, especially with developing countries as partners. While at the EC, in the early days of the internet, he pioneered one of the first electronic interactive communication systems for science networking with developing countries, SHARED, for which he started to (co-)design thesaurus-based concept extraction technologies in order to match across languages and jargon. From 1996 to 1999 he served the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (The National Research Council, NWO) as a senior advisor on International Health Research. After leaving NWO he co-founded the SME Collexis B.V. (later acquired by Elsevier Science) and also started the first Biosemantics Group at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. In addition to his research and teaching responsibilities, Mons has remained involved in international scientific management and networking at various levels. After leaving Collexis in 2005 he co-founded Knewco, Inc. in 2006, and more recently, part of his intellectual legacy was the basis for the founding of the successful SME Euretos, focused on advanced machine learning over machine readable data, now also being used for academic research purposes. From 2008, Barend served as a scientific director of the Netherlands Bioinformatics Centre, the predecessor of the current Dutch Techcentre for the Life Sciences (DTL), which he co-founded. DTL was one of the initial supporters of the FAIR data concept. He served as the ‘Integrator for Life Sciences’ in the Netherlands e- Science Center from its inception till 2016, where he was one of the initiators of an early white paper: Data-Stewardship in the Big Data Era: Taking Care of Data (2013). Barend was one of the designers and coordinators of the transformational Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) project known as Open PHACTS,[10][11] pioneering the use of semantic technologies, nanopublications and micro-attributions in pharmaceutical biomedical research. From 2013 to 2015 he acted as Head of Node of the Dutch Node in ELIXIR. In 2014, he initiated the FAIR Data initiative[12] and in 2015 he was appointed Chair of the High Level Expert Group for the European Open Science Cloud. From 2017-2020, he served as the scientific director of the International Support and Coordination Office in the GO FAIR initiative.

Present activities


His present research activities in LUMC mainly focus on open science, and international knowledge sharing and networking. A more specific aim in his research group is to realise a new form of computer-assisted distributed annotation and learning and on-line knowledge discovery, based on the semantic technologies that his research yielded over the years, including nanopublications. Since 2017 his main task has been to set up and lead the international initiative Global Open FAIR (GO FAIR), which is aimed at implementing the FAIR guiding principles in order to create an ‘Internet for Machines’ to support open science and innovation. In his capacity of president of CODATA, he works with an international executive committee to support open science data policies and practices. Barend published the handbook Data Stewardship for Open Science, Implementing FAIR Principles, which is functionally integrated with an on line stewardship wizard. He is currently the Scientific Director of the GO FAIR Foundation.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Barend Mons publications indexed by Google Scholar
  2. ^ Barend Mons's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  3. ^ Barend Mons publications from Europe PubMed Central
  4. ^ Mons, B. (1986). "Intra erythrocytic differentiation of Plasmodium berghei". Acta Leidensia. 54: 1–124. PMID 3538746.
  5. ^ Mons, B.; Klasen, E.; Van Kessel, R.; Nchinda, T. (1998). "Biomedicine: Partnership Between South and North Crystallizes Around Malaria". Science. 279 (5350): 498–499. Bibcode:1998Sci...279..498M. doi:10.1126/science.279.5350.498. PMID 9454348. S2CID 42396771.
  6. ^ Bruno, J. M.; Feachem, R.; Godal, T.; Nchinda, T.; Ogilvie, B.; Mons, B.; Mshana, R.; Radda, G.; Samba, E.; Schwartz, M.; Varmus, H.; Diallo, S.; Doumbo, O.; Greenwood, B.; Kilama, W.; Miller, L. H.; Da Silva, L. P. (1997). "The spirit of Dakar: A call for action on malaria". Nature. 386 (6625): 541. Bibcode:1997Natur.386..541.. doi:10.1038/386541a0. PMID 9121571. S2CID 4265060.
  7. ^ Mons, B. (March 1997). "The problem of multiplicity in malaria vaccine development". Annals of Tropical Medicine & Parasitology. 91 (sup1): S55–S58. doi:10.1080/00034983.1997.11813239.
  8. ^ Mäkelä, H; Mons, B; Roumiantzeff, M; Wigzell, H (May 1996). "Report of the Expert Panel X Animals models for vaccines to prevent infectious diseases". Vaccine. 14 (7): 717–732. doi:10.1016/s0264-410x(96)90052-3. PMID 8799983.
  9. ^ "Barend Mons".
  10. ^ Williams, Antony J.; Harland, Lee; Groth, Paul; Pettifer, Stephen; Chichester, Christine; Willighagen, Egon L.; Evelo, Chris T.; Blomberg, Niklas; Ecker, Gerhard; Goble, Carole; Mons, Barend (November 2012). "Open PHACTS: semantic interoperability for drug discovery". Drug Discovery Today. 17 (21–22): 1188–1198. doi:10.1016/j.drudis.2012.05.016. PMID 22683805.
  11. ^ Mons, Barend; van Haagen, Herman; Chichester, Christine; Hoen, Peter-Bram 't; den Dunnen, Johan T; van Ommen, Gertjan; van Mulligen, Erik; Singh, Bharat; Hooft, Rob; Roos, Marco; Hammond, Joel; Kiesel, Bruce; Giardine, Belinda; Velterop, Jan; Groth, Paul; Schultes, Erik (April 2011). "The value of data". Nature Genetics. 43 (4): 281–283. doi:10.1038/ng0411-281. PMID 21445068. S2CID 20891055.
  12. ^ Wilkinson, Mark D.; Dumontier, Michel; Aalbersberg, IJsbrand Jan; Appleton, Gabrielle; Axton, Myles; Baak, Arie; Blomberg, Niklas; Boiten, Jan-Willem; da Silva Santos, Luiz Bonino; Bourne, Philip E.; Bouwman, Jildau; Brookes, Anthony J.; Clark, Tim; Crosas, Mercè; Dillo, Ingrid; Dumon, Olivier; Edmunds, Scott; Evelo, Chris T.; Finkers, Richard; Gonzalez-Beltran, Alejandra; Gray, Alasdair J. G.; Groth, Paul; Goble, Carole; Grethe, Jeffrey S.; Heringa, Jaap; ’t Hoen, Peter A. C.; Hooft, Rob; Kuhn, Tobias; Kok, Ruben; Kok, Joost; Lusher, Scott J.; Martone, Maryann E.; Mons, Albert; Packer, Abel L.; Persson, Bengt; Rocca-Serra, Philippe; Roos, Marco; van Schaik, Rene; Sansone, Susanna-Assunta; Schultes, Erik; Sengstag, Thierry; Slater, Ted; Strawn, George; Swertz, Morris A.; Thompson, Mark; van der Lei, Johan; van Mulligen, Erik; Velterop, Jan; Waagmeester, Andra; Wittenburg, Peter; Wolstencroft, Katherine; Zhao, Jun; Mons, Barend (15 March 2016). "The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship". Scientific Data. 3 (1): 160018. Bibcode:2016NatSD...360018W. doi:10.1038/sdata.2016.18. PMC 4792175. PMID 26978244.