Towards a Hybrid Human-Computer Scientific Information Extraction Pipeline

Published: November 27, 2017


Roselyne B. Tchoua, Kyle Chard, Debra J. Audus, Logan T. Ward, Lequieu Joshua, Juan J. de Pablo, Ian Foster


The emerging field of materials informatics has the potential to greatly reduce time-to-market and development costs for new materials. The success of such efforts hinges on access to large, high-quality databases of material properties. However, many such data are only to be found encoded in text within esoteric scientific articles, a situation that makes automated extraction difficult and manual extraction time-consuming and error-prone. To address this challenge, we present a hybrid Information Extraction (IE) pipeline to improve the machinehuman partnership with respect to extraction quality and personhours, through a combination of rule-based, machine learning, and crowdsourcing approaches. Our goal is to leverage computer and human strengths to alleviate the burden on human curators by automating initial extraction tasks before prioritizing and assigning specialized curation tasks to humans with different levels of training: using non-experts for straightforward tasks such as validation of higher accuracy results (e.g., completing partial facts) and domain experts for low-certainty results (e.g., reviewing specialized compound labels). To validate our approaches, we focus on the task of extracting the glass transition temperature of polymers from published articles. Applying our approaches to 6 090 articles, we have so far extracted 259 refined data values. We project that this number will grow considerably as we tune our methods and process more articles, to exceed that found in standard, expert-curated polymer data handbooks while also being easier to keep up-to-date. The freely available data can be found on our Polymer Properties Predictor and Database website at
Proceedings Title: 2017 IEEE 13th International Conference on e-Science (e-Science)
Conference Dates: October 24-27, 2017
Conference Location: Auckland, -1
Conference Title: 2017 IEEE 13th International Conference on e-Science
Pub Type: Conferences
Created November 27, 2017, Updated November 27, 2017