David Wadden


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When do Generative Query and Document Expansions Fail? A Comprehensive Study Across Methods, Retrievers, and Datasets
Orion Weller | Kyle Lo | David Wadden | Dawn Lawrie | Benjamin Van Durme | Arman Cohan | Luca Soldaini
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EACL 2024

Using large language models (LMs) for query or document expansion can improve generalization in information retrieval. However, it is unknown whether these techniques are universally beneficial or only effective in specific settings, such as for particular retrieval models, dataset domains, or query types. To answer this, we conduct the first comprehensive analysis of LM-based expansion. We find that there exists a strong negative correlation between retriever performance and gains from expansion: expansion improves scores for weaker models, but generally harms stronger models. We show this trend holds across a set of eleven expansion techniques, twelve datasets with diverse distribution shifts, and twenty-four retrieval models. Through qualitative error analysis, we hypothesize that although expansions provide extra information (potentially improving recall), they add additional noise that makes it difficult to discern between the top relevant documents (thus introducing false positives). Our results suggest the following recipe: use expansions for weaker models or when the target dataset significantly differs from training corpus in format; otherwise, avoid expansions to keep the relevance signal clear.


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Cognitive Reframing of Negative Thoughts through Human-Language Model Interaction
Ashish Sharma | Kevin Rushton | Inna Lin | David Wadden | Khendra Lucas | Adam Miner | Theresa Nguyen | Tim Althoff
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

A proven therapeutic technique to overcome negative thoughts is to replace them with a more hopeful “reframed thought.” Although therapy can help people practice and learn this Cognitive Reframing of Negative Thoughts, clinician shortages and mental health stigma commonly limit people’s access to therapy. In this paper, we conduct a human-centered study of how language models may assist people in reframing negative thoughts. Based on psychology literature, we define a framework of seven linguistic attributes that can be used to reframe a thought. We develop automated metrics to measure these attributes and validate them with expert judgements from mental health practitioners. We collect a dataset of 600 situations, thoughts and reframes from practitioners and use it to train a retrieval-enhanced in-context learning model that effectively generates reframed thoughts and controls their linguistic attributes. To investigate what constitutes a “high-quality” reframe, we conduct an IRB-approved randomized field study on a large mental health website with over 2,000 participants. Amongst other findings, we show that people prefer highly empathic or specific reframes, as opposed to reframes that are overly positive. Our findings provide key implications for the use of LMs to assist people in overcoming negative thoughts.


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Generating Scientific Claims for Zero-Shot Scientific Fact Checking
Dustin Wright | David Wadden | Kyle Lo | Bailey Kuehl | Arman Cohan | Isabelle Augenstein | Lucy Lu Wang
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

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

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MultiVerS: Improving scientific claim verification with weak supervision and full-document context
David Wadden | Kyle Lo | Lucy Lu Wang | Arman Cohan | Iz Beltagy | Hannaneh Hajishirzi
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

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.

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SciFact-Open: Towards open-domain scientific claim verification
David Wadden | Kyle Lo | Bailey Kuehl | Arman Cohan | Iz Beltagy | Lucy Lu Wang | Hannaneh Hajishirzi
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

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.


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Extracting a Knowledge Base of Mechanisms from COVID-19 Papers
Tom Hope | Aida Amini | David Wadden | Madeleine van Zuylen | Sravanthi Parasa | Eric Horvitz | Daniel Weld | Roy Schwartz | Hannaneh Hajishirzi
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

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.

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Overview and Insights from the SCIVER shared task on Scientific Claim Verification
David Wadden | Kyle Lo
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Scholarly Document Processing

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.


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Fact or Fiction: Verifying Scientific Claims
David Wadden | Shanchuan Lin | Kyle Lo | Lucy Lu Wang | Madeleine van Zuylen | Arman Cohan | Hannaneh Hajishirzi
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

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.


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Entity, Relation, and Event Extraction with Contextualized Span Representations
David Wadden | Ulme Wennberg | Yi Luan | Hannaneh Hajishirzi
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

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.