Automatic detection and resolution of measurement-unit conflicts in aggregated data.

TitleAutomatic detection and resolution of measurement-unit conflicts in aggregated data.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSamadian, S, McManus, B, Wilkinson, M
JournalBMC Med Genomics
Volume7 Suppl 1
Date Published2014

BACKGROUND: Measurement-unit conflicts are a perennial problem in integrative research domains such as clinical meta-analysis. As multi-national collaborations grow, as new measurement instruments appear, and as Linked Open Data infrastructures become increasingly pervasive, the number of such conflicts will similarly increase.

METHODS: We propose a generic approach to the problem of (a) encoding measurement units in datasets in a machine-readable manner, (b) detecting when a dataset contained mixtures of measurement units, and (c) automatically converting any conflicting units into a desired unit, as defined for a given study.

RESULTS: We utilized existing ontologies and standards for scientific data representation, measurement unit definition, and data manipulation to build a simple and flexible Semantic Web Service-based approach to measurement-unit harmonization. A cardiovascular patient cohort in which clinical measurements were recorded in a number of different units (e.g., mmHg and cmHg for blood pressure) was automatically classified into a number of clinical phenotypes, semantically defined using different measurement units.

CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that through a combination of semantic standards and frameworks, unit integration problems can be automatically detected and resolved.

Alternate JournalBMC Med Genomics
PubMed ID25079396
PubMed Central IDPMC4101427
Grant List / / Canadian Institutes of Health Research / Canada