An ontology-based multi-domain model in social network analysis: Experimental validation and case study


•The Social Network Analysis applications do not currently facilitate the different tests.
•It is possible to create an ontology within the scope of the multi-domain SNA.
•The proposed model has been validated by comparing the results with other validated tools.
•The Semantic Web applied to the SNA is a line of research with a high capacity for growth.


The use of social network theory and methods of analysis have been applied to different domains in recent years, including public health. The complete procedure for carrying out a social network analysis (SNA) is a time-consuming task that entails a series of steps in which the expert in social network analysis could make mistakes. This research presents a multi-domain knowledge model capable of automatically gathering data and carrying out different social network analyses in different domains, without errors and obtaining the same conclusions that an expert in SNA would obtain. The model is represented in an ontology called OntoSNAQA, which is made up of classes, properties and rules representing the domains of People, Questionnaires and Social Network Analysis. Besides the ontology itself, different rules are represented by SWRL and SPARQL queries. A Knowledge Based System was created using OntoSNAQA and applied to a real case study in order to show the advantages of the approach. Finally, the results of an SNA analysis obtained through the model were compared to those obtained from some of the most widely used SNA applications: UCINET, Pajek, Cytoscape and Gephi, to test and confirm the validity of the model.