15 Nov 2015 - 30 Dec 2016 Paris (France)

TAL journal: NLP and Ethics

Natural Language Processing and Ethics  (NLP and Ethics)

2015 – Volume 57, Number 2

Invited editors: Karën Fort (U. Paris-Sorbonne/STIH), Gilles Adda (LIMSI-CNRS/IMMI), K. Bretonnel Cohen (U. of Colorado, School of Medicine)


Natural Language Processing (NLP) has always posed ethical or legal problems. These problems are particularly sensitive in this age of Big Data and of data duplication, areas in which NLP is involved. In addition to legal and economic matters (search for patents and rights associated with data/software), there are military issues (monitoring of conversations) and social issues (the “right to be forgotten” imposed on Google).

The crucial problem today is access to data (including sensitive) and personal privacy protection for citizens. Indeed, our domain produces applications considered to be effective for both areas (data access and protection), but without their known limitations being clear to the general public and governments.

Diversifying work on corpora has also led the community to be able to process more and more sensitive sources, be it personal data, medical data or even that of a criminal nature.

For privacy protection, anonymizing data, whether oral or written, is as much an industrial as an academic stake, with sometimes strong coverage constraints depending on the application or research needs, issues regarding the nature of the resources and the information to be anonymized, or legal limits.

Some NLP tools also join the ethical concerns, such as tools for plagiarism detection, facts checking and speaker identification. In addition, the advent of Web 2.0 and with it the development of crowdsourcing raises new questions as to the way in which to consider participants in the creation of linguistic resources.

This special issue of the TAL journal aims to highlight the NLP contributions to ethics and data protection and to uncover the limitations of the field both in terms of real possibilities (evaluation) and societal dangers.

We encourage submissions on all aspects related to ethics for and by Natural Language Processing, and in particular on the following problems or tasks:

  • sensitive corpus processing, including medical, police or personal data
  • language resource production, in particular using crowdsourcing, and ethics
  • ethical questions linked to the use of tools or the result of NLP processing
  • ethical questions related to NLP practices
  • quality and ways of evaluating applications and/or language resources
  • anonymization, de-identification and re-identification of NLP corpora
  • plagiarism detection by NLP
  • facts checking
  • paralinguistic and ethics, in particular speaker identification or detection of pathologies
  • historical perspective of ethics in NLP
  • definition of ethics as applied to NLP

We also welcome position papers on the subject.


Manuscripts may be submitted in English or French. French-speaking authors are requested to submit in French. Submissions in English are accepted only in case of one of the authors not being a French speaker.


  • March 31st, 2016    Deadline for submission
  • end of May 2016    Notification to authors after first review
  • beg. of July 2016    Deadline for submission of revised version
  • mid-July 2016    Notification to authors after second review
  • end of Sept. 2016    Deadline for submission of final version
  • December 2016    Publication


Authors who intend to submit a paper are encouraged to upload their contribution (no more than 25 pages, PDF format) via the menu "Paper submission" of the issue page of the journal. To do so, you will need to have an account on the Sciencesconf platform. To create an account, go to the Sciencesconf site and click on "create account" next to the "Connect" button at the top of the page. To submit, come back to this page, connect to you account and upload your submission.

TAL perfoms double blind reviewing. Your paper should be anonymised.

Style sheets are available for download on the Web site of the journal (http://www.atala.org/IMG/zip/tal-style.zip).


Maxime Amblard  (U. de Lorraine/LORIA)
Jean-Yves Antoine (U. de Tours/LI)
Philippe Blache (CNRS / LPL)
Jean-François Bonastre (LIA/U. D'Avignon)
Alain Couillault (U. de La Rochelle/L3i)   
Gaël de Chalendar (CEA LIST)     
Patrick Drouin (U. de Montréal/OLST)     
Cyril Grouin (LIMSI-CNRS)      
Lynette Hirschman  (MITRE Corporation)
Larry Hunter (U. of Colorado, School of Medicine)
Nancy Ide (Vassar College/Dpt of Computer Science)
Juliette Kahn (LNE)    
Mark Liberman (UPenn/LDC)     
Joseph Mariani (LIMSI-CNRS/IMMI)      
Yann Mathet (U. de Caen/GREYC)  
Claude Montacié (U. Paris-Sorbonne/STIH)   
Jean-Philippe Prost (U. de Montpellier/LIRMM)      
Rafal Rzepka (Hokkaido University/Language Media Laboratory)
Björn Schuller (University of Passau)    
Michel Simard (National Reseach Council Canada)    
Mariarosaria Taddeo (Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford)


TAL (Traitement Automatique des Langues) is an international journal that has been published by ATALA (Association pour le Traitement Automatique des Langues) for the past 40 years with the support of the CNRS. Over the past few years, it has become an online journal, with possibility of ordering the paper versions. This does not, in any way, affect the selection and review process.



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