Learning to Reason for Text Generation from Scientific Tables


In this paper, we introduce SciGen, a new challenge dataset for the task of reasoning-aware data-to-text generation consisting of tables from scientific articles and their corresponding descriptions. Describing scientific tables goes beyond the surface realization of the table content and requires reasoning over table values. The unique properties of SciGen are that (1) tables mostly contain numerical values, and (2) the corresponding descriptions require arithmetic reasoning. SciGen is therefore the first dataset that assesses the arithmetic reasoning capabilities of generation models on complex input structures, i.e., tables from scientific articles. We study the effectiveness of state-of-the-art data-to-text generation models on SciGen and evaluate the results using common metrics as well as human evaluation. Our results and analyses show that (a) while humans like to reason for describing scientific tables, the ability of state-of-the-art models is severely limited on this task, (b) while adding more training data improves the results, it is not the solution for reasoning-aware text generation, and (c) one of the main bottlenecks for this task is the lack of proper automatic evaluation metrics. The data, code, and annotations for human evaluation will be available at https://github.com/UKPLab/SciGen. SciGen opens new avenues for future research in reasoning-aware text generation and evaluation.


    title = "Learning to Reason for Text Generation from Scientific Tables",
    author = {Moosavi, Nafise Sadat and
      R{\"u}ckl{\'e}, Andreas and
      Roth, Dan and
      Gurevych, Iryna},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the 2021 Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS-2021): Track on Datasets and Benchmarks},
  year = {2021},
  url = "https://arxiv.org/abs/2104.08296"