Barend Mons

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Barend Mons
Born 1957 (age 60–61)
The Hague
Known for
Scientific career
Thesis Intra erythrocytic differentiation of Plasmodium Berghei (1986)

Barend Mons (born 1957, The Hague) is a molecular biologist and biosemantics specialist. He is known for innovations in scholarly collaboration, especially nanopublications and the FAIR data initiative. Since 2012 he is a Professor in Bio-Semantics at the Department of Human Genetics at the Leiden University Medical Centre and he is also affiliated with the Erasmus Medical Centre, University of Rotterdam,[1] both in The Netherlands.[2][3][4] In 2015 Mons 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.


Mons was awarded a Masters (1981 Cum Laude) and a PhD (1986) from Leiden University on Plasmodium berghei,[5] and has worked for more than ten years on the genetic differentiation of malaria parasites,[6][7][8][9] publishing over 45 research articles.[2] After switching to biosemantics he published over 60 papers on this area.


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. During this time, Mons supported several other international initiatives. 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, with the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. 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. and also started the first Biosemantics Group at the Erasmus medical Centre in Rotterdam. He is still associated with Erasmus Medical Centre but his main research is now at Leiden University Medical Centre.

In addition to his research and teaching responsibilities, Mons has remained involved in international scientific management and networking at various levels. He was one of the founding trustees of the Centre for the Management of Intellectual Property in Health Research and Development, which assists people in developing countries to manage their critical intellectual property for the betterment of Society. After leaving Collexis in 2005 he co-founded Knewco, Inc. in 2006.

His present activities mainly focus on international knowledge sharing and networking to realize a completely new form of Computer Assisted Distributed Annotation and on-line knowledge discovery, in close collaboration between the Leiden University Medical Centre and The Dutch Techcenter for the Life Sciences, and largely based on the semantic technologies that his research yielded over the years, including nanopublications. Since 2010 Mons is a member of the Executive Committee for the Innovative Medicines Initiative project known as Open PHACTS.[10][11] encouraging the use of microattributions.[12] Since 2014 he acts as Head of Node of the Dutch Node in ELIXIR. Also in 2014 he initiated the FAIR Data initiative and in 2015 he was appointed Chair of the High Level Expert Group for the European Open Science Cloud.


  1. ^ Waldrop, M. (2008). "Big data: Wikiomics". Nature. 455 (7209): 22–5. doi:10.1038/455022a. PMID 18769412. 
  2. ^ a b Barend Mons publications indexed by Google Scholar
  3. ^ Barend Mons's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier. (subscription required)
  4. ^ Barend Mons publications from Europe PubMed Central
  5. ^ Mons, B. (1986). "Intra erythrocytic differentiation of Plasmodium berghei". Acta Leidensia. 54: 1–124. PMID 3538746. 
  6. ^ Mons, B.; Klasen, E.; Van Kessel, R.; Nchinda, T. (1998). "Biomedicine: Partnership Between South and North Crystallizes Around Malaria". Science. 279 (5350): 498–499. doi:10.1126/science.279.5350.498. PMID 9454348. 
  7. ^ 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. doi:10.1038/386541a0. PMID 9121571. 
  8. ^ The problem of multiplicity in malaria vaccine development, B. Mons, Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, Volume 91, Issue 2 March 1997 , pages 55-58
  9. ^ Makelov, H; Mons, B; Roumiantzeff, M; Wigzell, H, European Commission COST/STD Initiative. Report of the expert panel X. Animals models for vaccines to prevent infectious diseases, Vaccine 1996/May, 14(7):717-31
  10. ^ Williams, A. J.; Harland, L.; Groth, P.; Pettifer, S.; Chichester, C.; Willighagen, E. L.; Evelo, C. T.; Blomberg, N.; Ecker, G.; Goble, C.; Mons, B. (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, B.; Van Haagen, H.; Chichester, C.; Hoen, P. B. 'T.; Den Dunnen, J. T.; Van Ommen, G.; Van Mulligen, E.; Singh, B.; Hooft, R.; Roos, M.; Hammond, J.; Kiesel, B.; Giardine, B.; Velterop, J.; Groth, P.; Schultes, E. (2011). "The value of data". Nature Genetics. 43 (4): 281–283. doi:10.1038/ng0411-281. PMID 21445068. 
  12. ^ Patrinos, G. P.; Cooper, D. N.; Van Mulligen, E.; Gkantouna, V.; Tzimas, G.; Tatum, Z.; Schultes, E.; Roos, M.; Mons, B. (2012). "Microattribution and nanopublication as means to incentivize the placement of human genome variation data into the public domain". Human Mutation. 33 (11): 1503–1512. doi:10.1002/humu.22144. PMID 22736453.