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In Database : the journal of biological databases and curation

Biomedical relation extraction (RE) datasets are vital in the construction of knowledge bases and to potentiate the discovery of new interactions. There are several ways to create biomedical RE datasets, some more reliable than others, such as resorting to domain expert annotations. However, the emerging use of crowdsourcing platforms, such as Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), can potentially reduce the cost of RE dataset construction, even if the same level of quality cannot be guaranteed. There is a lack of power of the researcher to control who, how and in what context workers engage in crowdsourcing platforms. Hence, allying distant supervision with crowdsourcing can be a more reliable alternative. The crowdsourcing workers would be asked only to rectify or discard already existing annotations, which would make the process less dependent on their ability to interpret complex biomedical sentences. In this work, we use a previously created distantly supervised human phenotype-gene relations (PGR) dataset to perform crowdsourcing validation. We divided the original dataset into two annotation tasks: Task 1, 70% of the dataset annotated by one worker, and Task 2, 30% of the dataset annotated by seven workers. Also, for Task 2, we added an extra rater on-site and a domain expert to further assess the crowdsourcing validation quality. Here, we describe a detailed pipeline for RE crowdsourcing validation, creating a new release of the PGR dataset with partial domain expert revision, and assess the quality of the MTurk platform. We applied the new dataset to two state-of-the-art deep learning systems (BiOnt and BioBERT) and compared its performance with the original PGR dataset, as well as combinations between the two, achieving a 0.3494 increase in average F-measure. The code supporting our work and the new release of the PGR dataset is available at

Sousa Diana, Lamurias Andre, Couto Francisco M