Postdoc on Natural Language Processing in Semantic Publishing

Duration: Full-time temporary employment, 1 year

Net Salary: about 23K euros per year

Begin: 1st October 2017

Location: DASPLab offices, Bologna, Italy

Application Deadline: around mid September 2017. Online applications will be opened after mid August.

Expression of interest: Interesting candidates are encouraged to contact Angelo Di Iorio.


Description: We are seeking a brilliant postdoc researcher, expert in Natural Language Processing, to work on the SCAR project.

The goal of the SCAR project to enrich bibliographies of scientific articles by adding explicit metadata about individual bibliographic entries and to characterize these entries according to multiple criteria (publication date, citation functions, sentiment, etc.). The project is focused on Semantic Publishing technologies, models and tools. More details can be found at: Semantic Coloring of Academic References.

The project is a collaboration with Elsevier and the postdoc will be in touch with people at the DASPLab and at Elsevier. They will work in a lively and stimulating environment and is expected to give a key personal contribution to the project.

Two aspects are particularly challenging when processing the textual content of articles and citations:

  • identification of the citation context (in which sentence/context a work is cited) and function (why a work is cited, which is the opinion on a cited work, and so on)
  • classification of the citations (according to multiple criteria, for instance, citation function, sentiment, timing, and so on)

Sophisticated and customized NLP models and tools are needed for the task. Given the promising results of preliminary experiments on characterising citations according to the CiTO ontology, we would like to further investigate these issues, with the help of a NLP expert. Several questions arise: are CiTO categories expressive enough? Are they too complex? Can we identify linguistic patterns, author profiles and domain-specific textual structures? How about differences across disciplines?

The postdoc will primarily work on these topics and is expected to collaborate with another postdoc for the production of the SCAR data and infrastructure (see this job offer for more details).

Applicants are expected to have excellent research, programming and academic writing skills, plus a strong commitment and team-working abilities.

In particular, they are expected to have a strong background in NLP with particular attention to natural language parsing, entity linking, relation extraction, topic modeling, sentiment analysis and author profiling.

Expertise in Semantic Web technologies, Linked Data, and Web technologies is also appreciated.


Living in Bologna

Bologna is the largest city (and the capital) of the Emilia-Romagna Region in Italy. It is the seventh most populous city in Italy, located in the heart of a metropolitan area of about one million.

It is a lively city, also famous for its culinary tradition, home to numerous prestigious cultural, economic and political institutions. In 2000 it was declared European capital of culture and in 2006, a UNESCO “city of music”. It is also one of the wealthiest cities in Italy, often ranking as one of the top cities in terms of quality of life in the country: in 2011 it ranked 1st out of 107 Italian cities.

The University of Bologna, founded in 1088, is recognized as the oldest university in the western world, and one of the largest in Italy (with about 90,000 enrolled students).

Bologna is also very easy to reach and close to several major cities in Italy, such as Milan (one hour by train), Florence (half an hour by train), and Rome (two hours by train), as well as to very famous locations, such as the city of Venice (one hour and half by train).

Cost of living

Sample figures for the monthly rent are 350 € for a room in a house share, 700-800€ for apartments suitable for two persons or a family. These figures usually include heating and water and but not electricity and telecommunication.