Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is the prototype of a large and heterogeneous group of pulmonary disorders, mainly chronic and progressive, usually known as interstitial lung disease (ILD). Over the last few decades, IPF has been increasingly recognized as a major unmet medical need in respiratory medicine and has become the focus of intense research activity. This is due to the fact that IPF incidence is increasing worldwide, with rates (and unfortunately prognosis) which are very similar to those of many forms of cancer. Basic and clinical research on IPF has been enormously advancing over the last few decades, culminating in the recent discovery of two safe and effective drugs, now finally made available to patients. For all these reasons, missing a diagnosis of IPF is not acceptable anymore and there is a need for spreading the knowledge about IPF across various specialties of medicine globally. In this context, this article collection in BMC Medicine contributes to the ultimate goal of early identification and better management of patients with ILD, and IPF in particular, worldwide.