FACTS-IR Workshop @ SIGIR 2019

Workshop Objectives

This workshop explores challenges in responsible information retrieval system development and deployment. The focus will be on determining actionable research agendas on five key dimensions of responsible information retrieval: fairness, accountability, confidentiality, transparency, and safety. Rather than just a mini-conference, this workshop will be an event during which participants will also be expected to work. The workshop aims to bring together a diverse set of researchers and practitioners interested in helping to develop the technical research agenda for responsible information retrieval.

The full-day workshop will be organized in two parts:

To ensure that the working groups in the second part of the workshop will be productive, we may cap the number of participants.


You can find the non-archival proceeding for the FACTS-IR workshop at: https://arxiv.org/html/1907.05755


Morning sessions

9:00-9:10 Welcome (10)


9:10-9:25 Invited talk - Preethi Lahoti (MPI-INF): Operationalizing Individual Fairness for Algorithmic Decision Making (15)

9:25-9:35 Paper talk - Fairness in Recommendation Ranking through Pairwise Comparisons (10)


9:35-9:50 Invited speaker - Maria Panteli (BBC) (15)

9:50-10:00 Paper talk - CobWeb: A Research Prototype for Exploring User Bias in Political Fact-Checking (10)


10:00-10:10 Paper talk - Do Transformer Attention Heads Provide Transparency in Abstractive Summarization? (10)

10:10-10:20 Paper talk - Explaining Predictions from Tree-based Boosting Ensembles (10)

10:20-10:30 Paper talk - Global Aggregations of Local Explanations for Black Box models (10)

10:30-11:00 BREAK


11:00-11:15 Invited talk – Krisztian Balog (University of Stavanger & Google) (15)


11:15-11:30 Invited talk - Mahmoud F. Sayed (University of Maryland) (15)

11:30-11:40 The FACTS of Technology-Assisted Sensitivity Review (10)


11:40-11:55 Invited talk - Pierre-Nicolas Schwab (RTBF) (15)

Breakout groups and goal setting

11:55-12:10 Overview of the afternoon session (15)

12:10-12:30 Breakout group assignment (20)

12:30-1:30 LUNCH

Afternoon sessions

1:30-3:00 Breakout groups

3:00-3:30 BREAK

3:30-3:50 Breakout groups wrap-up

3:50-4:40 Group discussion

4:40-5:00 Next steps and farewell

Call for Papers

The purpose of the workshop is to identify gaps in the technical emerging work on responsible IR, including undertheorized and underspecified issues related to each of these five areas of focus. We aim to create actionable technical research agendas for each of them.

To this end, we welcome technical contributions and position papers as either long papers (8 pages) or extended abstracts (2-4 pages) on a wide range of topics, including:

Fair IR

The IR system should avoid discrimination across people and communities. To do so the notion of fairness should be contextual and well grounded in the application setup and domain. Achieving fairness may be further complicated by the multi-stakeholder nature of most IR systems.

Accountable IR

The IR system should be able to justify its recommendations or actions to users and other stakeholders, as well as be reliable at all times. This requires an understanding of the potential harms of using the system and of who is more likely to be affected. It also requires recourse avenues and processes for redress.

Confidential IR

The output or actions of the IR system should not reveal secrets. For example, IR systems often combine extensive behavioral logs to model their users, which if not properly handled can result in unintended leakage of information.

Transparent IR

The IR system should be able to explain why and how the suggested results were obtained to users and other interested stakeholders. Providing proper explanations may require to answer who the users and the stakeholders are. More broadly, the IR systems should be able to enable third parties to monitor and probe that they behave as expected.

Safe IR

The IR system should be resilient to manipulation by possible adversarial parties, and should not expose the users to undesirable, harmful content.

FACTS-IR is interested in technical contributions on these topics.

Important Dates

How to submit

Papers should be in English, in PDF, and formatted using the standard ACM sigconf format, using the template available at the ACM site; Word users should use the Interim Template. FACTS-IR uses the HotCRP submission system: FACTS-IR submission site.

No official proceedings will be published, however accepted long paper submissions will be expected to be posted on arXiv.org. This is optional for extended abstract submissions. The review process is a single-blind.


PC Members


Please mail us at facts.ir.2019@gmail.com if you have any questions about the workshop.