Call for Perspectives Papers

We solicit papers with a well-supported argument for research in an area that deserves more attention by the SIGIR community, including (1) an open problem in information retrieval research and (2) a critique of information retrieval research. Topics may reflect on current systems (e.g. an overlooked problem in currently researched or deployed systems) or speculative directions (e.g. an unanticipated problem in future researched or deployed systems). Submissions will be evaluated according to relevance to the SIGIR community, depth and breadth of impact, and novelty.

Important Dates

Time zone: Anywhere on Earth (AoE)
Perspectives paper abstracts due: Tue, Feb 2, 2021
Perspectives papers due: Tue, Feb 9, 2021
Perspectives paper notifications: Mon, Apr 19, 2021

Submission Guidelines

Submissions do not require new empirical results, unlike traditional SIGIR submissions. However, submissions must present new arguments and support their position with a strong base in relevant literature. Nonetheless, authors may include new empirical results if they support the position.

Relevant topics include, but are not limited to those covered by the call for full papers.

Submissions will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Relevance to SIGIR: Who from the SIGIR community might this problem be directly relevant to?
  • Conceptual leap: How does it change our way of thinking about a problem, a method, or its execution? How much will research in this area advance our state of knowledge?
  • Depth of impact: How many supporting subproblems requiring foundational research might arise from the observations in the submission?
  • Breadth of impact: What stakeholders inside or outside of the SIGIR community are impacted?
  • Novelty: Are people already studying this problem in the information retrieval community?  In other communities?

Examples of Appropriate Perspectives Submissions

  • Providing a research trajectory/agenda for a new and currently unsolved and important problem with support from literature demonstrating that it has not been addressed.
  • Envisioning a uniquely different solution for a resolved problem using evidence from literature (possibly from other disciplines) and/or proof-of-concept.
  • A critique of a core assumption underlying information retrieval research or systems, supported by relevant literature from other disciplines.  

Examples of Inappropriate Perspectives Submissions

  • Opinion piece about a core assumption underlying information retrieval research without sufficient evidence, background, or support from the relevant literature.
  • A literature review without a novel argument or strong connection to the information retrieval community. 


Submissions of perspectives papers must be in English, in PDF format, and be at most 9 pages (including figures) in length + unrestricted space for references, in the current ACM two-column conference format. Suitable LaTeX, Word, and Overleaf templates are available from the ACM Website (use the “sigconf” proceedings template). 

Submissions must be anonymous and should be submitted electronically via EasyChair (perspectives paper track):

At least one author of each accepted paper is required to register for, and present the work at the conference.


The perspectives paper review process is double-blind. Authors are required to take all reasonable steps to preserve the anonymity of their submission. The submission must not include author information and must not include citations or discussion of related work that would make the authorship apparent. Note that it is acceptable to explicitly refer in the paper to the companies or organizations that provided datasets, hosted experiments, or deployed solutions. For example, instead of stating that an experiment “was conducted on the logs of a major search engine”, the authors should refer to the search engine by name. The reviewers will be informed that it does not necessarily imply that the authors are currently affiliated with the mentioned organization. While authors can upload to institutional or other preprint repositories such as before reviewing is complete, we generally discourage this since it places anonymity at risk (which could result in a negative outcome of the reviewing process). Authors should carefully go through ACM’s authorship policy before submitting a paper. Submissions that violate the preprint policy, anonymity, length, or formatting requirements or are plagiarized are subject to desk-rejection by the chairs.

To support the identification of reviewers with conflicts of interest, the perspectives author list must be specified at submission time. Authors should note that changes to the author list after the submission deadline are not allowed without permission from the Perspectives Papers Chairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Will accepted perspectives papers be included in the conference proceedings?
    Yes. Perspectives papers are considered full papers and will be treated as such for publishing.
  2. What’s the difference between regular full papers and perspectives papers?
    Perspective papers are meant to present open problems in IR, rather than finished solutions.
  3. How will the perspectives papers be reviewed?
    The perspectives papers will be reviewed through a similar rigorous process that all regular SIGIR papers go through.

Perspectives Papers Chairs

  • Fernando Diaz, Google
  • Chirag Shah, University of Washington


For further information, please contact the SIGIR 2021 Perspectives Co-chairs by email to sigir2021-perspectives AT easychair DOT org.

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