This paper introduces the novel task of topic coherence evaluation, whereby a set of words, as generated by a topic model, is rated for coherence or interpretability. We apply a range of topic scoring models to the evaluation task, drawing on WordNet, Wikipedia and the Google search engine, and existing research on lexical similarity/relatedness. In comparison with human scores for a set of learned topics over two distinct datasets, we show a simple co-occurrence measure based on pointwise mutual information over Wikipedia data is able to achieve results for the task at or nearing the level of inter-annotator correlation, and that other Wikipedia-based lexical relatedness methods also achieve strong results. Google produces strong, if less consistent, results, while our results over WordNet are patchy at best.
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