Semantic relations have been studied for decades without yet reaching consensus on the set of these relations. However, biomedical language processing and ontologies rely on these relations, so it is important to be able to evaluate their suitability. In this paper we examine the role of inter-annotator agreement in choosing between competing proposals regarding the set of such relations. The experiments consisted of labeling the semantic relations between two elements of noun-noun compounds (e.g. cell migration). Two judges annotated a dataset of terms from the biomedical domain using two competing sets of relations and analyzed the inter-annotator agreement. With no training and little documentation, agreement on this task was fairly high and disagreements were consistent. The results support the utility of the relation-based approach to semantic representation.
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