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FormalParameter Profile

Version: 1.0-RELEASE (09 March 2021)

Bioschemas specification for describing a formal parameter in the Life Sciences.

If you spot any errors or omissions with this type, please file an issue in our GitHub.


The following people have been involved in the creation of this specification document. They are all members of the Workflow group.

Group Leader(s)
Other team members hierarchy

This Profile fits into the hierarchy as follows:

Thing > Intangible > FormalParameter


A FormalParameter is an identified variable used to stand for the actual value(s) are consumed/produced by a ComputationalWorkflow

Change Log

No change from 0.1-DRAFT-2020_07_21

Latest profiles

Latest release: 1.0-RELEASE

Previous profiles

Previous version: 0.1-DRAFT-2020_07_21

Group Use Cases Cross Walk Task & Issues Examples Live Deploys

You can read the draft version of this specification here.

Key to specification table
  • Green properties/types are proposed by Bioschemas, or indicate proposed changes by Bioschemas to
  • Red properties/types exist in the core of
  • Blue properties/types exist in the pending area of
  • Black properties/types are reused from external vocabularies/ontologies

CD = Cardinality

View all examples
Property Expected Type Description CD Controlled Vocabulary Example
Marginality: Minimum.
name Text

The name of the item.

View ≪name≫ example
Marginality: Recommended.
additionalType URL

An additional type for the item, typically used for adding more specific types from external vocabularies in microdata syntax. This is a relationship between something and a class that the thing is in. In RDFa syntax, it is better to use the native RDFa syntax - the ‘typeof’ attribute - for multiple types. tools may have only weaker understanding of extra types, in particular those defined externally.


The type of data consumed / produced at the FormalParameter.

It is strongly recommented that this be specified. If it is not specified, then nothing should be assumed about the type of the FormalParameter.


View ≪additionalType≫ example
description Text

A description of the item.


The description may include verbatim the ComputationalWorkflow’s description of the FormalParameter and its type

View ≪description≫ example
encodingFormat Text

Media type typically expressed using a MIME format (see IANA site and MDN reference) e.g. application/zip for a SoftwareApplication binary, audio/mpeg for .mp3 etc.).

In cases where a CreativeWork has several media type representations, encoding can be used to indicate each MediaObject alongside particular encodingFormat information.

Unregistered or niche encoding and file formats can be indicated instead via the most appropriate URL, e.g. defining Web page or a Wikipedia/Wikidata entry.


URLs to accepted formats.

It is strongly recommented that this be specified. If it is not specified, then nothing should be assumed about the encoding formats of the FormalParameter.


View ≪encodingFormat≫ example
Marginality: Optional.
defaultValue Text

The default value for the FormalParameter. This is commonly only used for Inputs.

View ≪defaultValue≫ example
identifier PropertyValue

The identifier property represents any kind of identifier for any kind of Thing, such as ISBNs, GTIN codes, UUIDs etc. provides dedicated properties for representing many of these, either as textual strings or as URL (URI) links. See background notes for more details.


Note that this is identification of what is produced / consumed by the FormalParameter.

The identifier may, for example, indicate a gene position that is expected to be read. The value supplied as the actual value will be read from that position.

View ≪identifier≫ example
valueRequired Boolean

If the FormalParameter must be specified. This is commonly only used for Inputs

View ≪valueRequired≫ example

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