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This article is part of the supplement: A critical assessment of text mining methods in molecular biology

Open Access Open Badges Report

BioCreAtIvE Task 1A: gene mention finding evaluation

Alexander Yeh*, Alexander Morgan, Marc Colosimo and Lynette Hirschman

Author Affiliations

The MITRE Corporation, 202 Burlington Road, Bedford, MA 01730, USA

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BMC Bioinformatics 2005, 6(Suppl 1):S2  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-6-S1-S2

Published: 24 May 2005



The biological research literature is a major repository of knowledge. As the amount of literature increases, it will get harder to find the information of interest on a particular topic. There has been an increasing amount of work on text mining this literature, but comparing this work is hard because of a lack of standards for making comparisons. To address this, we worked with colleagues at the Protein Design Group, CNB-CSIC, Madrid to develop BioCreAtIvE (Critical Assessment for Information Extraction in Biology), an open common evaluation of systems on a number of biological text mining tasks. We report here on task 1A, which deals with finding mentions of genes and related entities in text. "Finding mentions" is a basic task, which can be used as a building block for other text mining tasks. The task makes use of data and evaluation software provided by the (US) National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).


15 teams took part in task 1A. A number of teams achieved scores over 80% F-measure (balanced precision and recall). The teams that tried to use their task 1A systems to help on other BioCreAtIvE tasks reported mixed results.


The 80% plus F-measure results are good, but still somewhat lag the best scores achieved in some other domains such as newswire, due in part to the complexity and length of gene names, compared to person or organization names in newswire.