Motivation: A Robot Scientist is a physically implemented robotic system that can automatically carry out cycles of scientific experimentation. We are commissioning a new Robot Scientist designed to investigate gene function in S. cerevisiae. This Robot Scientist will be capable of initiating >1,000 experiments, and making >200,000 observations a day. Robot Scientists provide a unique test bed for the development of methodologies for the curation and annotation of scientific experiments: because the experiments are conceived and executed automatically by computer, it is possible to completely capture and digitally curate all aspects of the scientific process. This new ability brings with it significant technical challenges. To meet these we apply an ontology driven approach to the representation of all the Robot Scientist’s data and metadata.
Results: We demonstrate the utility of developing an ontology for our new Robot Scientist. This ontology is based on a general ontology of experiments. The ontology aids the curation and annotating of the experimental data and metadata, and the equipment metadata, and supports the design of database systems to hold the data and metadata.