Teach Me to Explain: A Review of Datasets for Explainable Natural Language Processing

Part of Proceedings of the Neural Information Processing Systems Track on Datasets and Benchmarks 1 (NeurIPS Datasets and Benchmarks 2021) round1

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Sarah Wiegreffe, Ana Marasovic


Explainable Natural Language Processing (ExNLP) has increasingly focused on collecting human-annotated textual explanations. These explanations are used downstream in three ways: as data augmentation to improve performance on a predictive task, as supervision to train models to produce explanations for their predictions, and as a ground-truth to evaluate model-generated explanations. In this review, we identify 65 datasets with three predominant classes of textual explanations (highlights, free-text, and structured), organize the literature on annotating each type, identify strengths and shortcomings of existing collection methodologies, and give recommendations for collecting ExNLP datasets in the future.