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This is the main repository for the NIF Standard ontology (NIFSTD).
NIFSTD is a neuroscience ontology that maintains an extensive set of
terms and concepts important for the domains of neuroscience and biology.

The ontology won't load!

If you are having trouble loading ttl/nif.ttl in protege please see docs/


The easiest way to use the NIF Ontology is through our SciGraph REST API.
You will need a SciCunch API key.
You can get one by registering for a SciCrunch account and then creating an api key. For several example queries, see


Ontology files

Please fork and submit pull requests on GitHub.
Please read the docs for development processes in order to get started.
In short, load ttl/nif.ttl in your favourite ontology editor, and before commit run ttlfmt on any files that you have modified.

Non-ontology files

This repository only holds ontology files (usually .ttl) that are directly part of NIFSTD and its documentation. Workflows for ingesting external content into the ontology are managed in the pyontutils repository. If you have additional non-ontology files please contribute them to the appropriate folder in pyontutils/nifstd/development.

New terms

There are two ways to submit new terms.

  1. Via the issue tracker with the new term tag.
  2. Via InterLex. InterLex is still in beta so you will need to contact us in order to get edit access. There will be some delay between the creation of a term in InterLex and its inclusion here in the ontology.


Please see the documentation for information about how to use and develop NIFSTD.


Creative Commons License
The contents of this repository are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The text of the license can also be found in the LICENSE file.