Improving biomedical named entity recognition with syntactic information

Tian, Yuanhe, et al. "Improving biomedical named entity recognition with syntactic information." BMC Bioinformatics 21, 539 (2020)


Biomedical named entity recognition (BioNER) is an important task for understanding biomedical texts, which can be challenging due to the lack of large-scale labeled training data and domain knowledge. To address the challenge, in addition to using powerful encoders (e.g., biLSTM and BioBERT), one possible method is to leverage extra knowledge that is easy to obtain. Previous studies have shown that auto-processed syntactic information can be a useful resource to improve model performance, but their approaches are limited to directly concatenating the embeddings of syntactic information to the input word embeddings. Therefore, such syntactic information is leveraged in an inflexible way, where inaccurate one may hurt model performance.


In this paper, we propose BIOKMNER, a BioNER model for biomedical texts with key-value memory networks (KVMN) to incorporate auto-processed syntactic information. We evaluate BIOKMNER on six English biomedical datasets, where our method with KVMN outperforms the strong baseline method, namely, BioBERT, from the previous study on all datasets. Specifically, the F1 scores of our best performing model are 85.29% on BC2GM, 77.83% on JNLPBA, 94.22% on BC5CDR-chemical, 90.08% on NCBI-disease, 89.24% on LINNAEUS, and 76.33% on Species-800, where state-of-the-art performance is obtained on four of them (i.e., BC2GM, BC5CDR-chemical, NCBI-disease, and Species-800).


The experimental results on six English benchmark datasets demonstrate that auto-processed syntactic information can be a useful resource for BioNER and our method with KVMN can appropriately leverage such information to improve model performance.

Status of Research