Advancing Reproducibility and Accountability of Unsupervised Machine Learning in Text Mining: Importance of Transparency in Reporting Preprocessing and Algorithm Selection

  • Laura Valtonen (Creator)
  • Saku J. Mäkinen (University of Turku) (Creator)
  • Johanna Kirjavainen (Creator)



Machine learning (ML) enables the analysis of large datasets for pattern discovery. ML methods and the standards for their use have recently attracted increasing attention in organizational research; recent accounts have raised awareness of the importance of transparent ML reporting practices, especially considering the influence of preprocessing and algorithm choice on analytical results. However, efforts made thus far to advance the quality of ML research have failed to consider the special methodological requirements of unsupervised machine learning (UML) separate from the more common supervised machine learning (SML). We confronted these issues by studying a common organizational research dataset of unstructured text and discovered interpretability and representativeness trade-offs between combinations of preprocessing and UML algorithm choices that jeopardize research reproducibility, accountability, and transparency. We highlight the need for contextual justifications to address such issues and offer principles for assessing the contextual suitability of UML choices in research settings.
Date made available22 Sept 2022

Field of science, Statistics Finland

  • 512 Business and management

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