What are the Desired Characteristics of Calibration Sets? Identifying Correlates on Long Form Scientific Summarization

Published on May 12, 2023
· Submitted by akhaliq on May 15, 2023


Summarization models often generate text that is poorly calibrated to quality metrics because they are trained to maximize the likelihood of a single reference (MLE). To address this, recent work has added a calibration step, which exposes a model to its own ranked outputs to improve relevance or, in a separate line of work, contrasts positive and negative sets to improve faithfulness. While effective, much of this work has focused on how to generate and optimize these sets. Less is known about why one setup is more effective than another. In this work, we uncover the underlying characteristics of effective sets. For each training instance, we form a large, diverse pool of candidates and systematically vary the subsets used for calibration fine-tuning. Each selection strategy targets distinct aspects of the sets, such as lexical diversity or the size of the gap between positive and negatives. On three diverse scientific long-form summarization datasets (spanning biomedical, clinical, and chemical domains), we find, among others, that faithfulness calibration is optimal when the negative sets are extractive and more likely to be generated, whereas for relevance calibration, the metric margin between candidates should be maximized and surprise--the disagreement between model and metric defined candidate rankings--minimized. Code to create, select, and optimize calibration sets is available at


This paper was selected and reviewed as the spotlight paper at for the week of March 25, 2024.

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