Simulation via command line

ASReview LAB comes with a command line interface for simulating the performance of ASReview algorithm.

Getting started

The simulation command line tool can be accessed directly like:

asreview simulate MY_DATASET.csv -s MY_SIMULATION.asreview

This performs a simulation with the default active learning model, where MY_DATASET.csv is the path to the Fully labeled data you want to simulate. The result of the simulation is stored, after a successful simulation, at MY_SIMULATION.asreview where MY_SIMULATION is the filename you prefer and the extension is .asreview (ASReview project file extension).

Simulation progress

The progress of the simulation is given with two progress bars. The top one is used to count the number of relevant records found. The bottom one monitors the number of records labeled. By default (with --stop-if min), the simulation stops once the the top progress bar reaches 100%.

Simulation started

Relevant records found: 100%|███████████████████████████████████████████████| 43/43 [00:03<00:00, 13.42it/s]
Records labeled       :   7%|██▉                                        | 420/6189 [00:03<00:43, 133.58it/s]

Simulation finished

Command line arguments for simulating

The command asreview simulate --help provides an overview of available arguments for the simulation.

Each of the sections below describe the available arguments. The example below shows how you can set the command line arguments. This can be helpful if you are new to the using the command line. For example, you want to change the query strategy being used. The command line and this documentation show -q, --query_strategy QUERY_STRATEGY. The default is max. If you want to change it to max_random, you use:

asreview simulate MY_DATASET.csv -s MY_SIMULATION.asreview -q max_random



Required. File path or URL to the dataset or one of the SYNERGY datasets.

You can also use one of the SYNERGY dataset. Use the following command and replace DATASET_ID by the dataset ID.

asreview simulate synergy:DATASET_ID

For example:

asreview simulate synergy:van_de_schoot_2018 -s myreview.asreview

Active learning

-e, --feature_extraction FEATURE_EXTRACTION

The default is TF-IDF (tfidf). More options and details are listed in asreview.models.feature_extraction.

-m, --model MODEL

The default is Naive Bayes (nb). More options and details are listed in asreview.models.classifiers.

-q, --query_strategy QUERY_STRATEGY

The default is Maximum (max). More options and details are listed in asreview.models.query.

-b, --balance_strategy BALANCE_STRATEGY

The default is double. The balancing strategy is used to deal with the sparsity of relevant records. More options and details are listed in asreview.models.balance

--seed SEED

To make your simulations reproducible you can use the --seed and --init_seed options. ‘init_seed’ controls the starting set of papers to train the model on, while the ‘seed’ controls the seed of the random number generation that is used after initialization.

--embedding EMBEDDING_FP

File path of embedding matrix. Required for LSTM models.

Prior knowledge

By default, the model initializes with one relevant and one irrelevant record. You can set the number of priors by --n_prior_included and --n_prior_excluded. However, if you want to initialize your model with a specific set of starting papers, you can use --prior_idx to select the indices of the papers you want to start the simulation with. When no prior knowledge is assigned (using --n_prior_included 0 --n_prior_excluded 0), the first records from the dataset are employed as priors in the order they were provided until the first 0 and 1 are encountered.

The following options can be used to label prior knowledge:

--n_prior_included N_PRIOR_INCLUDED

The number of prior included papers. Only used when prior_idx is not given. Default 1.

--n_prior_excluded N_PRIOR_EXCLUDED

The number of prior excluded papers. Only used when prior_idx is not given. Default 1.

--prior_idx [PRIOR_IDX [PRIOR_IDX ...]]

Prior indices by rownumber (rownumbers start at 0).

--init_seed INIT_SEED

Seed for setting the prior indices if the prior_idx option is not used. If the option prior_idx is used with one or more index, this option is ignored.

Simulation setup

--n_instances N_INSTANCES

Controls the number of records to be labeled before the model is retrained. Increase n_instances, for example, to reduce the time it takes to simulate. Default 1.

--stop_if STOP_IF

The number of label actions to simulate. Default, ‘min’ will stop simulating when all relevant records are found. Use -1 to simulate all labels actions.


--state_file STATE_FILE, -s STATE_FILE

Location to ASReview project file of simulation.


The command line interface provides an easy way to get an overview of all available active learning model elements (classifiers, query strategies, balance strategies, and feature extraction algorithms) and their names for command line usage in ASReview LAB. It also includes models added via Extensions. The following command lists the available models:

asreview algorithms

See Create extensions for more information on developing new models and install them via extensions.

Some models require additional dependencies to be installed. Use pip install asreview[all] to install all additional dependencies at once or check the installation instruction in section Models of the API Reference.