Mark Grennan


Synthetic vs. Real Reference Strings for Citation Parsing, and the Importance of Re-training and Out-Of-Sample Data for Meaningful Evaluations: Experiments with GROBID, GIANT and CORA
Mark Grennan | Joeran Beel
Proceedings of the 8th International Workshop on Mining Scientific Publications

Citation parsing, particularly with deep neural networks, suffers from a lack of training data as available datasets typically contain only a few thousand training instances. Manually labelling citation strings is very time-consuming, hence synthetically created training data could be a solution. However, as of now, it is unknown if synthetically created reference-strings are suitable to train machine learning algorithms for citation parsing. To find out, we train Grobid, which uses Conditional Random Fields, with a) human-labelled reference strings from ‘real’ bibliographies and b) synthetically created reference strings from the GIANT dataset. We find that both synthetic and organic reference strings are equally suited for training Grobid (F1 = 0.74). We additionally find that retraining Grobid has a notable impact on its performance, for both synthetic and real data (+30% in F1). Having as many types of labelled fields as possible during training also improves effectiveness, even if these fields are not available in the evaluation data (+13.5% F1). We conclude that synthetic data is suitable for training (deep) citation parsing models. We further suggest that in future evaluations of reference parsers both evaluation data similar and dissimilar to the training data should be used for more meaningful evaluations.