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ArXiv Preprint

Question Answering (QA) is a benchmark Natural Language Processing (NLP) task where models predict the answer for a given question using related documents, images, knowledge bases and question-answer pairs. Automatic QA has been successfully applied in various domains like search engines and chatbots. However, for specific domains like biomedicine, QA systems are still rarely used in real-life settings. Biomedical QA (BQA), as an emerging QA task, enables innovative applications to effectively perceive, access and understand complex biomedical knowledge. In this work, we provide a critical review of recent efforts in BQA. We comprehensively investigate prior BQA approaches, which are classified into 6 major methodologies (open-domain, knowledge base, information retrieval, machine reading comprehension, question entailment and visual QA), 4 topics of contents (scientific, clinical, consumer health and examination) and 5 types of formats (yes/no, extraction, generation, multi-choice and retrieval). In the end, we highlight several key challenges of BQA and explore potential directions for future works.

Qiao Jin, Zheng Yuan, Guangzhi Xiong, Qianlan Yu, Chuanqi Tan, Mosha Chen, Songfang Huang, Xiaozhong Liu, Sheng Yu