Automated scientific fact checking is difficult due to the complexity of scientific language and a lack of significant amounts of training data, as annotation requires domain expertise. To address this challenge, we propose scientific claim generation, the task of generating one or more atomic and verifiable claims from scientific sentences, and demonstrate its usefulness in zero-shot fact checking for biomedical claims. We propose CLAIMGEN-BART, a new supervised method for generating claims supported by the literature, as well as KBIN, a novel method for generating claim negations. Additionally, we adapt an existing unsupervised entity-centric method of claim generation to biomedical claims, which we call CLAIMGEN-ENTITY. Experiments on zero-shot fact checking demonstrate that both CLAIMGEN-ENTITY and CLAIMGEN-BART, coupled with KBIN, achieve up to 90% performance of fully supervised models trained on manually annotated claims and evidence. A rigorous evaluation study demonstrates significant improvement in generated claim and negation quality over existing baselines
The scientific claim verification task requires an NLP system to label scientific documents which Support or Refute an input claim, and to select evidentiary sentences (or rationales) justifying each predicted label. In this work, we present MultiVerS, which predicts a fact-checking label and identifies rationales in a multitask fashion based on a shared encoding of the claim and full document context. This approach accomplishes two key modeling goals. First, it ensures that all relevant contextual information is incorporated into each labeling decision. Second, it enables the model to learn from instances annotated with a document-level fact-checking label, but lacking sentence-level rationales. This allows MultiVerS to perform weakly-supervised domain adaptation by training on scientific documents labeled using high-precision heuristics. Our approach outperforms two competitive baselines on three scientific claim verification datasets, with particularly strong performance in zero / few-shot domain adaptation experiments. Our code and data are available at https://github.com/dwadden/multivers.
While research on scientific claim verification has led to the development of powerful systems that appear to approach human performance, these approaches have yet to be tested in a realistic setting against large corpora of scientific literature. Moving to this open-domain evaluation setting, however, poses unique challenges; in particular, it is infeasible to exhaustively annotate all evidence documents. In this work, we present SciFact-Open, a new test collection designed to evaluate the performance of scientific claim verification systems on a corpus of 500K research abstracts. Drawing upon pooling techniques from information retrieval, we collect evidence for scientific claims by pooling and annotating the top predictions of four state-of-the-art scientific claim verification models. We find that systems developed on smaller corpora struggle to generalize to SciFact-Open, exhibiting performance drops of at least 15 F1. In addition, analysis of the evidence in SciFact-Open reveals interesting phenomena likely to appear when claim verification systems are deployed in practice, e.g., cases where the evidence supports only a special case of the claim. Our dataset is available at https://github.com/dwadden/scifact-open.
We present an overview of the SCIVER shared task, presented at the 2nd Scholarly Document Processing (SDP) workshop at NAACL 2021. In this shared task, systems were provided a scientific claim and a corpus of research abstracts, and asked to identify which articles Support or Refute the claim as well as provide evidentiary sentences justifying those labels. 11 teams made a total of 14 submissions to the shared task leaderboard, leading to an improvement of more than +23 F1 on the primary task evaluation metric. In addition to surveying the participating systems, we provide several insights into modeling approaches to support continued progress and future research on the important and challenging task of scientific claim verification.
The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned a diverse body of scientific literature that is challenging to navigate, stimulating interest in automated tools to help find useful knowledge. We pursue the construction of a knowledge base (KB) of mechanisms—a fundamental concept across the sciences, which encompasses activities, functions and causal relations, ranging from cellular processes to economic impacts. We extract this information from the natural language of scientific papers by developing a broad, unified schema that strikes a balance between relevance and breadth. We annotate a dataset of mechanisms with our schema and train a model to extract mechanism relations from papers. Our experiments demonstrate the utility of our KB in supporting interdisciplinary scientific search over COVID-19 literature, outperforming the prominent PubMed search in a study with clinical experts. Our search engine, dataset and code are publicly available.
We introduce scientific claim verification, a new task to select abstracts from the research literature containing evidence that SUPPORTS or REFUTES a given scientific claim, and to identify rationales justifying each decision. To study this task, we construct SciFact, a dataset of 1.4K expert-written scientific claims paired with evidence-containing abstracts annotated with labels and rationales. We develop baseline models for SciFact, and demonstrate that simple domain adaptation techniques substantially improve performance compared to models trained on Wikipedia or political news. We show that our system is able to verify claims related to COVID-19 by identifying evidence from the CORD-19 corpus. Our experiments indicate that SciFact will provide a challenging testbed for the development of new systems designed to retrieve and reason over corpora containing specialized domain knowledge. Data and code for this new task are publicly available at https://github.com/allenai/scifact. A leaderboard and COVID-19 fact-checking demo are available at https://scifact.apps.allenai.org.
We examine the capabilities of a unified, multi-task framework for three information extraction tasks: named entity recognition, relation extraction, and event extraction. Our framework (called DyGIE++) accomplishes all tasks by enumerating, refining, and scoring text spans designed to capture local (within-sentence) and global (cross-sentence) context. Our framework achieves state-of-the-art results across all tasks, on four datasets from a variety of domains. We perform experiments comparing different techniques to construct span representations. Contextualized embeddings like BERT perform well at capturing relationships among entities in the same or adjacent sentences, while dynamic span graph updates model long-range cross-sentence relationships. For instance, propagating span representations via predicted coreference links can enable the model to disambiguate challenging entity mentions. Our code is publicly available at https://github.com/dwadden/dygiepp and can be easily adapted for new tasks or datasets.