The University of Southampton

Professor Elena Simperl

Academic Staff

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I am Professor of Computer Science in the Web and Internet Science (WAIS) research group in the department of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton, United Kingdom. I hold a doctoral degree in Computer Science (Dr. rer. nat.) from the Freie Universität Berlin; and a Diploma in Computer Science from the Technische Universität München. I have held research and teaching positions at the Technische Universität München (2002-2003); Freie Universität Berlin (2003-2007); Semantic Technology Institute (STI) Innsbruck at the Universität Innsbruck, Austria (2007-2009); and at the Institute of Applied Informatics and Formal Description Methods (AIFB) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany (2010 - 2012); before joining WAIS in November 2012.

My primary domain of research is at the intersection between knowledge technologies, social computing, and crowdsourcing. In particular I am interested in socially and economically motivated aspects of creating and using semantically enabled content on the Web, and in paradigms, methods, and techniques to incentivize collaboration and participation at scale. Recently I've been looking at particular classes of Web systems that aim at massive crowd engagement: citizen science platforms; crowdsourcing and open innovation initiatives creating economic and social good through the use of open data; or universal knowledge bases such as DBpedia, Wikidata, and the Linked Open Data Cloud. I had the opportunity to investigate these topics in over twenty European and national research projects, often as project coordinator or technical lead.

I published more than 100 scientific papers, organized many workshops addressing the research topics just mentioned, and initiated several training activities for doctoral students and junior researchers such as the Knowledge Web PhD Symposium series held at the European Semantic Web Conference (ESWC) since 2006. In addition to teaching at the undergrad and postgrad levels in Germany, Austria, and the UK, I have founded and organized summer schools in Europe, Asia, and the US, including the ESWC summer school now at its 5th edition, and the IEEE summer school on semantic computing at the UC Berkeley. For many years I have managed the education service within Semantic Technologies Institute International (STI), an association bringing together major players in the field of semantic technologies. In that context, I co-founded semsphere, a professional training and certification company, and coordinated the EUCLID project, which delivered a curriculum for data professionals interested in Linked Data. As of February 2015 I am the scientific director of the European Data Science Academy (EDSA), which will produce a broad demand analysis of data science skills across European countries, as well as training serving that demand.

I have been on the organization committee of several conferences in areas such as semantic technologies, data science, and open data. I am, or have been, among others, track co-chair of the International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC) 2015 and 2016; general co-chair of the European Data Forum (EDF) 2013, general chair of the ESWC 2012; program chair of the ESWC 2011; and co-chair of the European Semantic Technologies Conference (ESTC) 2009.




Dipl. Inform.; Dr. rer. nat. 

Conferences attended

I attend all core academic conferences in my field, including the WWW, ISWC, ESWC, Semantics, as well as various industry and community building events such as the European Data Forum or the ODI Summit.


Shadbolt, Nigel R., Smith, Daniel Alexander, Simperl, Elena, Van Kleek, Max, Yang, Yang and Hall, Wendy (2013) Towards a classification framework for social machines At SOCM2013: The Theory and Practice of Social Machines, Brazil.

Simperl, E., Cuel, R. and Stein, M. (2013) Incentive-Centric Semantic Web Application Engineering, San Francisco, US, Morgan & Claypool, 117pp. (Synthesis Lectures on the Semantic Web: Theory and Technology, 4).

Warren, P., Davies, J. and Simperl, E. (eds.) (2011) Context and Semantics in Knowledge Management, London, GB, Springer, 337pp.

Fensel, D., Facca, F., Simperl, E. and Toma, I. (2011) Semantic Web Services, London, GB, Springer, 357pp.

Tselentis, G., Galis, A., Gavras, A., Krco, S., Lotz, V., Simperl, E., Stiller, B. and Zahariadis, T. (eds.) (2010) Towards the Future Internet - Emerging Trends from European Research, IOS Press, 296pp.

Simperl, Elena, Wölger, Stephan, Thaler, Stefan, Norton, Barry and Bϋrger, Tobias (2012) Combining human and computation intelligence: the case of data interlinking tools International Journal of Semantics, Metadata and Ontologies, 7, (2), pp. 77-92. (doi:10.1504/IJMSO.2012.050018).

Thaler, S., Simperl, E. and Wölger, S. (2012) An experiment in comparing human-computation techniques IEEE Internet Computing, 16, (5), pp. 52-58. (doi:10.1109/MIC.2012.67).

Simperl, Elena, Bürger, Tobias, Hangl, Simon, Wörgl, Stephan and Popov, Igor (2012) ONTOCOM: a reliable cost estimation method for ontology development projects [in special issue: The Semantic Web Challenge 2011] Web Semantics, 16, pp. 1-16. (doi:10.1016/j.websem.2012.07.001).

Cuel, R., Morozova, O., Rohde, M., Simperl, E., Siorpaes, K., Tokarchuk, O., Wiederhoefer, T., Yetim, F. and Zamarian, M. (2011) Motivation mechanisms for participation in human-driven semantic content creation International Journal of Knowledge Engineering and Data Mining, 1, (4), pp. 331-349. (doi:10.1504/IJKEDM.2011.040652).

Simperl, E., Sarasua, C., Ungrangsi, R. and Bürger, T. (2011) Ontology metadata for ontology reuse International Journal of Semantics, Metadata and Ontologies, 6, (2), pp. 126-145. (doi:10.1504/IJMSO.2011.046579).

Simperl, E., Mochol, M. and Buerger, T. (2010) Achieving maturity: the state of practice in ontology engineering in 2009 International Journal of Computer Science and Applications, 7, (1), pp. 45-65.

Simperl, E. (2010) Guidelines for reusing ontologies on the semantic web International Journal of Semantic Computing, 4, (2), pp. 239-283. (doi:10.1142/S1793351X10001012).

Simperl, E., Thurlow, I., Warren, P., Dengler, F., Davies, J., Grobelnik, M., Mladenic, D., Gomez-Perez, J. and Moreno, C. Ruiz (2010) Overcoming information overload in the enterprise: the active approach IEEE Internet Computing, 14, (6), pp. 39-46. (doi:10.1109/MIC.2010.146).

Siorpaes, K. and Simperl, E. (2010) Human intelligence in the process of semantic content creation World Wide Web, 13, (1-2), pp. 33-59. (doi:10.1007/s11280-009-0078-0).

Pedrinaci, C., Simperl, E., Krummenacher, R. and Norton, B. (2009) Towards web-scale SOA [in special issue: SOA Keys for Success] The Architecture Journal, 21, p. 46.

Simperl, E. (2009) Reusing ontologies on the semantic web: a feasibility study Data & Knowledge Engineering, 68, (10), pp. 905-925. (doi:10.1016/j.datak.2009.02.002).

Krummenacher, R., Simperl, E., Cerizza, D., Valle, E.D., Nixon, L.J.B. and Foxfog, D. (2009) Enabling the European patient summary through triplespaces Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine, 95, (2), S33-S43.

Tempich, C., Simperl, E., Pinto, S., Luczak, M. and Studer, R. (2007) Argumentation-based ontology engineering IEEE Intelligent Systems, 22, (6), pp. 52-59. (doi:10.1109/MIS.2007.103).

Tolksdorf, R., Simperl, E. and Nixon, L. (2008) Towards a tuplespace-based middleware for the Semantic Web Web Intelligence and Agent Systems, 6, (3), pp. 235-251. (doi:10.1109/WI.2005.150).

Simperl, E. and Schlangen, D. (2007) Creating ontologies for content representation - the OntoSeed suite Journal of Data Semantics IX, 4601, pp. 141-166. (doi:10.1007/978-3-540-74987-5_5).

Flöck, F., Vrandecic, D. and Simperl, E. (2012) Revisiting reverts: accurate revert detection in Wikipedia At Proceedings of the 23rd ACM Conference on Hypertext and Social Media, United States. 25 - 28 Jun 2012. , pp. 3-12. (doi:10.1145/2309996.2310000).

Sarasua, C., Simperl, E. and Noy, N. (2012) CrowdMap: crowdsourcing ontology alignment with microtasks At 11th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC2012), United States. 11 - 15 Nov 2012. , pp. 525-541. (doi:10.1007/978-3-642-35176-1_33).

Thaler, S., Siorpaes, K., Mear, D., Simperl, E. and Goodman, C. (2011) SeaFish: a game for collaborative and visual image annotation and interlinking At 8th Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC 2011). 29 May - 02 Jun 2011. , pp. 466-470. (doi:10.1007/978-3-642-21064-8_36).

Ell, B., Vrandecic, D. and Simperl, E. (2011) Deriving human-readable labels from SPARQL queries At 7th International Conference on Semantic Systems (I-SEMANTICS2011), Austria. 07 - 09 Sep 2011. , pp. 126-133. (doi:10.1145/2063518.2063535).

Thaler, S., Simperl, E. and Siorpaes, K. (2011) SpotTheLink: a game for ontology alignment At 6th Conference for Professional Knowledge Management (WM2011), Austria. 21 - 23 Feb 2011.

Ell, B., Vrandecic, D. and Simperl, E. (2011) Labels in the web of data At 10th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC2011), Germany. 23 - 27 Oct 2011. , pp. 162-176. (doi:10.1007/978-3-642-25073-6_11).

Simperl, E., Bürger, T. and Hofer, C. (2010) FOLCOM or the costs of tagging At 17th International Knowledge Acquisition Conference (EKAW2010), Portugal. 11 - 15 Oct 2010. , pp. 163-177. (doi:10.1007/978-3-642-16438-5_12).

Simperl, E., Mochol, M., Popov, I. and Buerger, T. (2009) Achieving maturity: the state of practice in ontology engineering in 2009 At Confederated International Conferences, CoopIS, DOA, IS, and ODBASE 2009 on On the Move to Meaningful Internet Systems (OTM2009), Portugal. 01 - 06 Nov 2009. , pp. 983-991. (doi:10.1007/978-3-642-05151-7_17).

Simperl, E., Popov, Igor and Bürger, T. (2009) ONTOCOM revisited: towards accurate cost predictions for ontology development projects At 6th European Semantic Web Conference (ESWC 2009), Greece. 31 May - 04 Jun 2009. , pp. 248-262. (doi:10.1007/978-3-642-02121-3_21).

Simperl, E. and Tempich, C., (2006) Ontology engineering: A reality check Meersman, R. and Tari, Z. (eds.) At The 5th International Conference on Ontologies, DataBases, and Applications of Semantics (ODBASE2006), France. 31 Oct - 02 Nov 2006. , pp. 836-854. (doi:10.1007/11914853_51).

Simperl, Elena, Tempich, C. and Sure, Y., (2006) ONTOCOM: a cost estimation model for ontology engineering Cruz, I. (ed.) At 5th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2006). 05 - 09 Nov 2006. , pp. 625-639.

Antoniou, G., Corcho, O., Aberer, K., Simperl, E. and Studer, R. (2012) Semantic data management (Dagstuhl Seminar 12171) Dagstuhl Reports, 2, (4), pp. 39-65. (doi:10.4230/DagRep.2.4.39).

Simperl, E., Acosta, M. and Norton, B. (2012) A Semantically enabled architecture for crowdsourced linked data management At First International Workshop on Crowdsourcing Web Search (CrowdSearch 2012), France. 17 Apr 2012. , pp. 9-14.

Simperl, E., Norton, B. and Vrandecic, D. (2011) Crowdsourcing tasks within linked data management At Second International Workshop on Consuming Linked Data (COLD 2011), Germany. 23 Oct 2011.

Hare, Jonathon, Acosta, Maribel, Weston, Anna, Simperl, E., Samangooei, Sina, Dupplaw, David and Lewis, Paul H. (2013) An investigation of techniques that aim to improve the quality of labels provided by the crowd At MediaEval 2013 / Crowdsourcing for Social Multimedia, Spain.

Hall, Wendy, Tiropanis, Thanassis, Tinati, Ramine, Wang, Xin, Luczak-Rösch, Markus and Simperl, Elena (2014) The Web Science Observatory - The Challenges of Analytics over Distributed Linked Data Infrastructures ECRIM News, (96), pp. 29-30.

Smart, Paul R, Simperl, Elena and Shadbolt, Nigel (2014) A Taxonomic Framework for Social Machines In, Miorandi, Daniele, Maltese, Vincenzo, Rovatsos, Michael, Nijholt, Anton and Stewart, James (eds.) Social Collective Intelligence: Combining the Powers of Humans and Machines to Build a Smarter Society. Berlin, Germany, Springer pp. 51-85. (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-08681-1_3).

Luczak-Rösch, Markus, Tinati, Ramine, Simperl, Elena, Van Kleek, Max, Shadbolt, Nigel and Simpson, Robert (2014) Why won't aliens talk to us? Content and community dynamics in online citizen science At Eighth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, United States. 01 - 04 Jun 2014. 10 pp.

Tinati, Ramine, Simperl, Elena, Luczak-Rösch, Markus, Van Kleek, Max and Shadbolt, Nigel (2014) Collective intelligence in citizen science – a study of performers and talkers At Collective Intelligence 2014, United States. 10 - 12 Jun 2014. 4 pp.

Simperl, Elena and Luczak-Rösch, Markus (2013) Collaborative ontology engineering: a survey The Knowledge Engineering Review, 29, (1), pp. 101-131. (doi:10.1017/S0269888913000192).

Dragan, Laura, Luczak-Rösch, Markus, Simperl, Elena, Berendt, Bettina and Moreau, Luc (2014) Crowdsourcing data citation graphs using provenance At Provenance Analytics (ProvAnalytics2014), Germany. 09 Jun 2014. 4 pp.

Tarte, Ségolène, De Roure, David and Willcox, Pip, (2014) Working out the plot: the role of stories in social machines Simperl, Elena, Contractor, Noshir, Hendler, James and Shadbolt, Nigel (eds.) At The 23rd International World Wide Web Conference (WWW2014), Korea, Republic of. 07 - 11 Apr 2014.

Tinati, Ramine, Luczak-Rösch, Markus, Simperl, Elena and Shadbolt, Nigel R. (2014) Motivations of citizen scientists - a quantitative investigation of forum participation At WebSci ’14, United States. 23 - 26 Jun 2014. 2 pp. (doi:10.1145/2615569.2615651).

Dragan, Laura, Luczak-Rösch, Markus, Berendt, Bettina, Simperl, Elena, Packer, Heather S. and Moreau, Luc (2014) A-posteriori provenance-enabled linking of publications and datasets via crowdsourcing At Second Workshop on Linking and Contextualizing Publications and Datasets, United Kingdom.

Tinati, Ramine, Van Kleek, Max, Simperl, E., Luczak-Rösch, Markus, Simpson, Robert and Shadbolt, Nigel (2015) Designing for citizen data analysis: a cross-sectional case study of a multi-domain citizen science platform ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2014 (CHI2015), pp. 1-10. (doi:10.1145/2702123.2702420).

Tinati, Ramine, Luczak-Rösch, Markus, Simperl, E., Hall, Wendy and Shadbolt, Nigel (2015) 'Command' and conquer: analysing discussion in a citizen science game At ACM Web Science 2015, United Kingdom. 28 Jun - 01 Jul 2015. 10 pp.

Parsons, Sophie, Atkinson, Peter M., Simperl, Elena and Weal, Mark (2015) Thematically analysing social network content during disasters through the lens of the disaster management lifecycle At Social Web for Disaster Management, Italy. 18 - 22 May 2015. , pp. 1221-1226. (doi:10.1145/2740908.2741721).

Luczak-Roesch, Markus, Simperl, Elena, Stadtmüller, Steffen and Käfer, Tobias (2014) The role of ontology engineering in linked data publishing and management: an empirical study International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems, 10, (3), pp. 74-91. (doi:10.4018/IJSWIS.2014070103).

Tinati, Ramine, Luczak-Roesch, Markus, Simperl, Elena and Hall, Wendy (2015) Exploring the global adoption of citizen science At 2nd GESIS Computational Social Science Winter Symposium, Germany. 02 - 03 Dec 2015. 3 pp.

Feyisetan, Oluwaseyi, Simperl, Elena, Van Kleek, Max and Shadbolt, Nigel (2015) Improving paid microtasks through gamification and adaptive furtherance incentives At Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on World Wide Web, Italy. , pp. 333-343.

Tinati, Ramine, Luczak-Roesch, Markus, Simperl, Elena and Hall, Wendy (2016) "Because science is awesome": studying participation in a citizen science game At ACM WEb Science 2016, Germany. 21 - 25 May 2016.

Phethean, Christopher, Simperl, Elena, Tiropanis, Thanassis, Tinati, Ramine and Hall, Wendy (2016) The role of data science in web science IEEE Intelligent Systems, 31, (3), pp. 120-107. (doi:10.1109/MIS.2016.54).

Bu, Qiong, Simperl, Elena, Zerr, Sergej and Li, Yunjia (2016) Using microtasks to crowdsource DBpedia entity classification: A study in workflow design Semantic Web Journal, pp. 1-16.

Mrabet, Yassine, Vougiouklis, Pavlos, Kilicoglu, Halil, Gardent, Claire, Demner-Fushman, Dina, Hare, Jonathon and Simperl, Elena (2016) Aligning texts and knowledge bases with semantic sentence simplification At 2nd International Workshop on Natural Language Generation and the Semantic Web (WebNLG 2016), United Kingdom. 05 - 08 Sep 2016. , pp. 29-36.

Vougiouklis, Pavlos, Hare, Jonathon and Simperl, Elena (2016) A neural network approach for knowledge-driven response generation At 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING 2016), Japan. 11 - 16 Dec 2016. 11 pp.

Piscopo, Alessandro, Phethean, Christopher and Simperl, Elena (2016) Wikidatians are born: paths to full participation in a collaborative structured knowledge base At 50th Hawaii International conference on Systems Science (HICSS-50), United States. 04 - 07 Jan 2017. 10 pp.

Tinati, Ramine, Luczak-Roesch, Markus, Simperl, Elena and Hall, Wendy (2017) An investigation of player motivations in Eyewire, a gamified citizen science project Computers in Human Behaviour, pp. 1-29. (doi:10.1016/j.chb.2016.12.074).

Ell, Basil, Harth, Andreas and Simperl, Elena (2014) SPARQL query verbalization for explaining semantic search engine queries In, Presutti, Valentina, d'Amato, Claudia, Gandon, Fabien, d'Aquin, Mathieu, Staab, Steffen and Tordai, Anna (eds.) The Semantic Web: Trends and Challenges. Cham, CH, Springer International Publishing pp. 426-441. (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-07443-6_29).

Tinati, Ramine, Simperl, Elena and Luczak-Roesch, Markus (2017) To help or hinder: Real-time chat in citizen science At 11th International Conference on Web and Social Media, Montreal, Canada. 15 - 18 May 2017. 10 pp.

Ibanez Gonzalez, Luis, Simperl, Elena, Gandon, Fabien and Story, Henry, Joseph (2017) Redecentralizing the web with distributed ledgers IEEE Intelligent Systems, 32, (1), pp. 92-95. (doi:10.1109/MIS.2017.18).

Koesten, Laura, Mylena, Simperl, Elena, Kacprzak, Emilia, Magdalena and Tennison, Jenifer (2016) The trials and tribulations of working with structured data - a study on information seeking behaviour At ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Denver, United States. 06 - 11 May 2017.


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