2013Q3 Reports: SIGBioMed

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SIGBIOMED is ACL's special interest group for Biomedical Natural Language Processing. Membership continues to grow and currently stands at 104, up from 93 last year and 84 the year before.


Per the SIG constitution, the second elections since the SIG's formation are being held at this time. See below for further comments on this.


The SIG's major activity has been the organization of the annual workshop. Judging by reviewer scores, last year was the strongest year yet for the workshop. BioNLP 2013 will be held in conjunction with the ACL meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria. According to the preregistration statistics, it is roughly the size of a typical workshop. (In other years we have been the largest or second largest on occasion.) This will be the fifth BioNLP workshop under the auspices of SIGBIOMED and the twelfth BioNLP workshop held in conjunction with ACL or NAACL.

This year, for the second time we are holding a two-day workshop, with the second day being devoted to a shared task.


In addition to organizing the workshop, our other main activity has been in fundraising. We received generous contributions from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center for the SIG shadow account and to fund Open Access publication in a biomedical informatics journal of revised versions of full papers accepted at the workshop. This is an important issue for members of our community, since our primary funding agency values journal publications significantly higher than conference publications.


We have a working website (www.sigbiomed.org) that lists upcoming events of interest to our members and links to BioNLP proceedings. We use the BioNLP and AMIA nlp-sig mailing lists for announcements and discussions.


We recently received notice that a complaint was received by the ACL executive committee concerning a perceived conflict of interest in our ongoing elections. We have taken steps to address the issue and plan to propose to the membership changes to the SIG constitution that will prevent similar situations from arising in the future.