While conducting a coordinated set of repeat runs of human evaluation experiments in NLP, we discovered flaws in every single experiment we selected for inclusion via a systematic process. In this paper, we describe the types of flaws we discovered which include coding errors (e.g., loading the wrong system outputs to evaluate), failure to follow standard scientific practice (e.g., ad hoc exclusion of participants and responses), and mistakes in reported numerical results (e.g., reported numbers not matching experimental data). If these problems are widespread, it would have worrying implications for the rigour of NLP evaluation experiments as currently conducted. We discuss what researchers can do to reduce the occurrence of such flaws, including pre-registration, better code development practices, increased testing and piloting, and post-publication addressing of errors.

This content is only available as a PDF.
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, which permits you to copy and redistribute in any medium or format, for non-commercial use only, provided that the original work is not remixed, transformed, or built upon, and that appropriate credit to the original source is given. For a full description of the license, please visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode.

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview