How to Find Strong Summary Coherence Measures? A Toolbox and a Comparative Study for Summary Coherence Measure Evaluation

Julius Steen, Katja Markert

Automatically evaluating the coherence of summaries is of great significance both to enable cost-efficient summarizer evaluation and as a tool for improving coherence by selecting high-scoring candidate summaries. While many different approaches have been suggested to model summary coherence, they are often evaluated using disparate datasets and metrics. This makes it difficult to understand their relative performance and identify ways forward towards better summary coherence modelling. In this work, we conduct a large-scale investigation of various methods for summary coherence modelling on an even playing field. Additionally, we introduce two novel analysis measures, intra-system correlation and bias matrices, that help identify biases in coherence measures and provide robustness against system-level confounders. While none of the currently available automatic coherence measures are able to assign reliable coherence scores to system summaries across all evaluation metrics, large-scale language models fine-tuned on self-supervised tasks show promising results, as long as fine-tuning takes into account that they need to generalize across different summary lengths.

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