Call for Papers – NLP COVID @ ACL 2020

Call for Papers

Lives all around the world have been dramatically impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The global research community has mobilized to respond with timely research and scientific analysis that can contribute to our understanding and management of the virus. This workshop will specifically focus on the use of natural language processing (NLP) to address COVID-19 and/or its collateral impacts.

Submissions and Timelines

This workshop will host late-breaking research papers. In order to support a rapid review process, we will offer rolling submissions and publications using the OpenReview platform. We aim to review publications within one week and will make papers immediately available upon acceptance.


The ACL community can play a unique role in supporting research to combat COVID-19. Many valuable insights and information may be contained in vast quantities of text and speech data. Thousands of previously published research articles (and those being published on a daily basis) on coronavirus may shape our understanding of the latest virus (SARS-CoV-2) or support best practice clinical management of the disease. Analysis of millions of social media posts can help us understand how the public at large is responding to the outbreak. Identifying spreading misinformation can be critical to public health messaging. Automatic identification and organization of helpful information collected from the web can aid the public response.

There are already several research activities that are leveraging natural language processing to contribute to the study of COVID-19. For example, for the CORD-19 dataset, SketchEngine has tokenized, POS-tagged, and lemmatized the text (, the PubAnnotation team is collecting annotations (, and OHSU is soliciting queries for retrieval topics (

Additionally, several publicly available corpora have emerged to support COVID-19 research:

Please see the Resources page for more.

This ACL 2020 workshop brings together NLP researchers to discuss best practices and approaches moving forward. We welcome submissions related to any aspect of NLP applied to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including (but not limited to):

  • Text mining of scientific literature related to COVID-19 (e.g. CORD-19)
  • Analysis of text from the web, social media or clinical data in support of public health activities related to COVID-19
  • Sentiment analysis, mental health, or well-being analysis in social media or clinical data related to COVID-19
  • Application of NLP to analysis of the collateral effects of COVID-19. Collateral effects include anything that is happening as a result of the virus, including economic effects.
  • Multi-lingual or cross-lingual analysis of COVID-19 related textual data
  • NLP for semantic search of COVID-19 related textual data
  • Chatbots and other interactive support systems related to COVID-19
  • Analysis of spoken language related to COVID-19

Submissions and Timelines

This workshop will offer rolling submissions and publications. Publications will be reviewed within one week and made available upon acceptance through OpenReview. Formal publication via the ACL Anthology will proceed after the workshop takes place.

Due to the rapid review process we adopt, we will utilize single blind reviewing, meaning that author information will be available to the reviewers but reviewers will remain anonymous. We also adopt open reviews such that reviewer comments, while anonymous, will be publicly viewable. We also invite anyone to comment on the work.

  • Submission deadline (long & short papers): June 30, 2020
  • Main conference dates: July 5-10, 2020
  • ACL 2020 Workshops: July 09-10, 2020

We expect that most of the submissions to this workshop will be short papers, given the late-breaking nature of this research.

Following ACL, full papers should not exceed eight (8) pages of text, plus unlimited references. Final versions of full papers will be given one additional page of content (up to 9 pages) so that reviewers' comments can be taken into account. Full papers are intended to be reports of original research.

Short papers may consist of up to four (4) pages of content, plus unlimited references. Appropriate short paper topics include preliminary results, application notes, descriptions of work in progress, etc.


UPDATE 12 May 2020: We have added the option for "Abstract only" acceptance. This will be applicable in three cases:

  • For authors of accepted papers who would prefer not to include the paper in the Workshop Proceedings in the ACL Anthology. This would allow publication in other venues.
  • For authors of papers that are not able to be fully reviewed prior to the workshop, due to submission too close to the workshop. This would nevertheless allow the work to be shared in some form at the workshop.
  • For papers that are not fully accepted through the review process, but would nevertheless be interesting to be shared at the workshop.

Organizing Committee

Given the rapidly evolving nature of this topic, we encourage contacting us with ideas and suggestions. Please contact Karin Verspoor,

ACL 2020 Workshop Chairs

ACL 2020 General Chair