by Andrew Cochran

A publication about lithium-ion batteries is the first textbook authored by a computer. Springer produced the book by collaborating with researchers from the Applied Computational Linguistics (ACoLi) lab at Goethe University in Frankfurt.

The 247-page title sets a new milestone in machine-generated publishing.

Everything in the book beyond the preface was algorithmically generated, says Springer. They suggest their method opens ‘a new era in scientific publishing.’ Springer intends to automate publishing more books in other fields, including the humanities and social sciences.

The Achievement

The system assessed 1,200 possible papers in Springer’s files and shortlisted them to 150. It organized them by theme, then extracted and summarised, aggregated or paraphrased the content as required. The system also arranged elements such as bibliographies, scientific notation, introductions, and a table of contents.

The Value

The volume of published findings is growing rapidly, and researchers want to keep up or get up-to-speed quickly. More than 53,000 research papers in the field have been published in the past three years. Automated systems will help match supply (of information) to demand.

Our Take

  • This changes the scale for automated text. News autoscribe systems are averaging 100-400 words, produced with templates. The Springer system produced more than 200 pages drawn from complete papers.
  • The workflow creates a platform for more titles. Other kinds of long-form NLP publications are inevitable.
  • It’s another industry + academic success story. Industry identifies a market need, and the data, the research community provides know-how and specialty computing power. Both gain a high-profile outcome, practical learning, and possibilities for revenue or a path to future spin-offs.



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