Hosting SIGIR

The annual SIGIR conferences are organized by volunteers. Since you are reading this page, you are probably interested in hosting SIGIR at some point in the future. This page contains information about the steps in that process.

There are two main steps in the bid: (1) Make an informal presentation at the SIGIR conference Business Meeting, and (2) make a formal bid to the SIGIR Executive Committee. The SIGIR Executive Committee selects among the bids to determine where SIGIR will happen.

SIGIR currently rotates its conference around the world in three groups:

  1. North America or South America in 2006, 2009, 2012, 2015, and so on
  2. Europe and Africa in 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, and so on
  3. Asia and Australia in 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017, and so on
  4. SIGIR has no plans to include Antarctica in the rotation.

See the list of SIGIR locations for more specific information about past and future SIGIR conference locations.

Who may bid

SIGIR will entertain bids from any group or organization, provided the geographical constraints are met. However, SIGIR expects the organizers to be (1) recognized and active members of the Information Retrieval research community as well as (2) active participants in current and past SIGIR conferences. Typically the conference chair or chairs will have published widely in the field over many years. Bids without the solid connection to IR are unlikely to be accepted.

ACM requires that the conference chair or chairs and the treasurer be members of the ACM. SIGIR further expects that those individuals will also be members of SIGIR itself.

Timing of Bids

SIGIR aims to have the conference location determined 3-4 years in advance. That means, for example, that bids for SIGIR 2016 will be presented informally at SIGIR 2012, made formally during 2012-13, and announced at SIGIR 2013.

Informal Bid: SIGIR Conference Business Meeting

At the SIGIR business meeting (held lunch of the third day of the SIGIR conference) someone from your group makes a very short presentation (2-3 minutes). The presentation should describe the people who would run the conference, their experience running events, potential venues, potential hotels, a rough idea of the costs, touristy things to do in the area, and anything else that would make people want to come to your location. The main goals are to show that it’s a great place to have a conference, a wonderful place to visit, and that you’re competent to run a conference like SIGIR.

Although you may list possible organizing committee members, please note that the PC chairs must be approved by the SIGIR Executive and that process does not happen until after a formal bid is accepted. If you choose to list candidates, be clear to them and to the community that these are possibilities only for purposes of discussion.

The Chair will request a show of hands at the end of the session to assess support for the various proposals and will take other suggestions as well. This gives the SIGIR Executive Committee a rough idea of the degree of interest in each location.

This informal bid is not a requirement, but it provides useful advance feedback from the SIGIR community.

The Formal Bid

The SIGIR Executive Committee considers formal proposals to host the conference from September to December. A formal bid consists of two parts: The Preliminary Approval Form (PAF), and the proposal.

The Preliminary Approval Form

Complete the ACM Preliminary Approval Form and include it with your formal bid. Do not send it to ACM headquarters; only the accepted bid’s PAF is forwarded to the ACM. Note that this form is really intended as a first step for conferences that are much closer to happening than SIGIR conferences, so some of the questions (like the exact dates and a conference URL) may not be known yet. Complete as much of the form as you can, and don’t worry about the parts that don’t seem relevant at this stage.

The Proposal

The proposal is a short description of how you will address the technical and logistical issues involved in running a high quality conference in the location you propose. Three to five pages should suffice here, but feel free to write as much as you like. This should include information about:

  • Your connection to the Information Retrieval research community in general and SIGIR in particular. SIGIR expects that the conference chair or chairs will have extensive experience and a positive reputation in the field.
  • Your experience in organizing and running technical conferences.
  • If you have started to think about a team, provide that information as well. Do not actually recruit Program Chairs, etc, at this stage; your focus should be on Local Arrangements people at this stage. To be clear: although you may list possible organizing committee members, please note that the PC chairs must be approved by the SIGIR Executive and that process does not happen until after a formal bid is accepted. If you choose to contact possible candidates, be clear to them that their appointment is only for purposes of discussion. If your bid is contingent on particular organizers, explicitly state that in your document.
  • The ability of the local community to support the logistics of a conference the size of SIGIR in terms of hotels/dorms, transportation, other activities for attendees, etc. Conference registration has been around 600 for recent conferences held in the Americas, and 500 for recent conferences in Europe, so you need to accommodate this and a bit more. You’ll need access to an auditorium that can hold this number of people and three more rooms that can handle about half of this (since some sessions have four talks in parallel), as well as rooms for tutorials and workshops that range in size from 20 to 100 people.
  • You should also include information about hotel, transportation and living costs, including information about how you might accommodate students at reasonable costs. If the location has hosted other technical conferences of roughly the same size it would be helpful to know about that as well.
  • The ability of the local community to provide technical and administrative support for your involvement in the conference (e.g., support from department chairs, deans, or work management). Running a conference takes a significant amount of time, and it’s important that you have a good local group of technical and administrative people to work with and support at work from your ‘management’ (e.g., deans or other university officials, or management in industry).
  • To help compare alternative proposals, please provide a summary of the estimated costs for the following individuals to attend the conference: (1) an ACM member who will attend the conference and a workshop, and who prefers to stay in the conference hotel or comparable accommodations, traveling from Boston, London, or Beijing; and (2) a student who will attend a tutorial, the conference, and a workshop, preferring quite cheap accommodations, traveling from the same three locations.
  • Feel free to include additional positives and negatives of holding the meeting at the location you propose.
  • A draft budget. If your bid is successful, you will need to complete the ACM TMRF (Technical Meeting Request Form) which asks for a detailed budget. You should browse through the ACM conference organizers manual and use the TMRF as a template for your draft budget.

Important Dates for Formal Bid

SIGIR uses a two-stage evaluation process, which gives bidders a chance to fix any problems in their initial bids. Our goal is for your bid to be as strong as possible before a final decision is made. The schedule is as follows.

  • September 15: The initial proposal is due to the SIGIR Chair.
  • October 15: The SIGIR Executive Committee responds with a list of questions and requests for clarifications or revisions.
  • November 15: The revised proposal is due to the SIGIR Chair.
  • December 15: The SIGIR Executive Committee informs you of its decision. The formal announcement of the decision is made at the following SIGIR conference’s business meeting.

We are fairly firm about sticking to this schedule, to avoid conflicts with submitting and reviewing SIGIR papers in January.

If you have questions about anything, ask the SIGIR Chair or any member of the Executive Committee. We want you to have the best bid possible (with a reasonable amount of effort), and we will help you however we can.