Message from the Program Committee Chairs

Welcome to the 34th ACM SIGIR International Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval. The record number of papers in this year’s conference represents both the breadth and depth of the research being done in this vibrant field, both in academia and industry. We have done our best to ensure that these papers meet high standards of quality in terms of presentation, citations, and experimental methodology. At the same time, we have tried to be flexible in the application of these criteria in order to accept papers describing novel and innovative work that may be somewhat unconventional.
The conference received 543 full paper submissions this year, with 240 (44%) coming from Asia and Pacific region, 185 (34%) from the Americas, and 112 (21%) from Europe (the rest were “unknown”). Of these papers, 108 (19.9%) were accepted, up from the acceptance rate of 16.7% in last year’s conference. The top five countries in terms of accepted papers were the U.S.A. (52), China (18), Germany (7), and thenthe U.K. and Spain (both 5). In addition, 274 short papers were submitted to the poster track, of which 89 (32.5%) were accepted. In the other categories, there were 15 (42.8%) demonstrations, 8 workshops, and 11 half-day tutorials accepted. In terms of the technical areas that the accepted papers cover, using the primary keyword assigned by the authors, the top five areas are document representation and content analysis (20%), retrieval models and ranking (17%), users and interactive IR (13%), queries and query analysis (11%), and filtering and recommendation (11%). Perhaps the only surprise there is the increase in the number of papers in filtering and recommendation. We believe that the papers at this year’s conference provide an excellent cross-section of what is going on in our field. We hope that you find that reading them and listening to the presenters to be a rewarding experience.

SIGIR uses a two-tier double blind review system. For the full papers, the first step is that at least three first-tier reviewers read every paper and provide ratings and comments. Then two additional reviewers, referred to as the primary or secondary area chairs, study those reviews, and introduce their own opinions and summaries where appropriate by making additional comments. In some cases, the area chairs initiate the discussion among the first-tier reviewers to work out any controversial issues or significant differences of opinion. A new step 6 introduced this year was to request author feedback for specific issues in some papers. Another change this year was that final decisions for nearly all papers were made by the two area chairs together with the reviewers. At the program committee meeting in Barcelona, the program chairs and some area chairs went over the reviews, obtained additional input, and made decisions in the few cases where the area chairs had requested more discussion.

The success of the conference depends entirely on the large number of volunteers that every year devotes large amounts of their time to reviewing and organizing. We are grateful to the more than 200 first-tier reviewers (or general program committee), who performed their tasks very well. We also acknowledge the tremendous job done by the Posters Chairs in handling the short papers, and the great work done by the other Chairs with their tasks. We are particularly indebted to the 43 Area Chairs for their willingness to try a new approach that required more effort from them, and for their responsiveness throughout the reviewing process. We also acknowledge the help of Thomas Preuss with support for the ConfMaster reviewing system. Finally, we extend our best wishes to next year’s Program Chairs!

Ricardo Baeza-Yates
Yahoo! Research Barcelona
Africa and Europe

Tat-Seng Chua

National University of Singapore
Asia and Pacific

W. Bruce Croft

University of Massachusetts