The 42nd European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR) was held on April 14–17, 2020, and brought together hundreds of researchers from all over the world. ECIR 2020 was to be held in Lisbon, Portugal, but due to the COVID-19 lockdown and travel restrictions enforced worldwide, the conference was held online. This made ECIR 2020 the first online IR conference ever.
The conference was organized by Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Portugal and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain — in cooperation with the British Computer Society’s Information Retrieval Specialist Group (BCS-IRSG). It was supported by the ACM Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval (ACM SIGIR), Bloomberg, Amazon, Salesforce, TextKernel, NTENT, Google, and Levi Strauss.
The Organizing Committee was João Magalhães, Pablo Castells, Emine Yilmaz, Joemon Jose, Mário J. SIlva, Nicola Ferro, Flávio Martins, Nuno Correia, Ana Freire, Edleno Moura, Pável Calado, Stefan Rueger, Suzan Verberne, Suzane Little, Sérgio Nunes, Laura Dietz, Allan Hanbury, Vanessa Murdock, Bruno Martins, Carla Teixeira Lopes, Ricardo Campos, Dyaa Albakour, Rui Nóbrega and Filipa Peleja.
The ECIR 2020 program boasted a variety of novel works from contributors from all around the world and also provided a platform for information retrieval-related (IR) activities from the CLEF Initiative. In addition, a new collaboration was instated between BCS-IRSG and the Information Retrieval Journal, whereby selected papers from the journal were presented at the conference, and a selection of ECIR 2020 papers were invited to submit an extended version for publication in a special issue of the journal.
ECIR 2020 was a memorable conference. It started as an opportunity to bring a core IR conference to Portugal for the first time, but circumstances changed the initial plan drastically. In the process, we all learned a lot with a new setup, more distant, but also more inclusive. The online format showed that there is an interest in this type of online participation and offline viewing of scientific papers.
In the end, despite all obstacles, ECIR 2020 was a wonderful event. We wish to thank all the IR community: authors, contributors, session chairs and participants that engaged with ECIR 2020.
Acknowledgements. ECIR 2020 was sponsored by: Bloomberg, Amazon, Salesforce, Google, Textkernel, Ntent, Levi Strauss, Signal AI, SIGIR, and Springer. We thank them all for their support and contributions to the conference. We also would like to thank David Semedo and Javier Sanz-Cruzado who helped to manage the Zoom Webinars.