Semantic Web and its Role in Facilitating ICT Data Sharing in the Circular Economy: An Ontology Survey

Tracking #: 3586-4800

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Anelia Kurteva
Kathleen McMahon
Alessandro Bozzon
Ruud Balkenende

Responsible editor: 
Agnieszka Lawrynowicz

Submission type: 
Survey Article
The environmental pressure, CO2 emissions (including embodied energy) and delivery risks of our digital infrastructures are increasing. The exponentially growing digitisation of services that drive the transition from industry 4.0 to industry 5.0 has resulted in a rising materials demand for ICT hardware manufacturing. ICT devices such as laptops and data servers are being used on average for 3 and 4-5 years respectively [1], while research shows that they should last 7 years before replacement [2]. A solution is to transition from a linear to a circular economy (CE), through which materials that were previously disposed of as waste are re-entered back into product life-cycles through processes such as reuse, recycling, remanufacturing, repurposing. However, the adoption of the CE in the ICT sector is currently limited due to the lack of tools that support knowledge exchange between sustainability, ICT and technology experts in a standardised manner and the limited data availability, accessibility and interoperability needed to build such tools. Further, the already existing knowledge of the domain is fragmented into silos and the lack of a common terminology restricts its interoperability and usability. These also lead to transparency and responsibility issues along the supply chain. For many years now, the Semantic Web has been known to provide solutions to such issues in the form of ontologies. Several ontologies for the ICT, materials and CE domains have been build and successfully utilised to support processes such as predictive maintenance. However, there is a lack of a systematic analysis of the existing ontologies in these domains. Motivated by this, we present a literature survey and analysis of, but not limited to, existing ontologies for ICT devices such as laptops, materials and the CE. In addition, we discuss the need for findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable (FAIR) data in the CE, different factors such as data privacy and security that affect this and the role of ontologies.
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