In recent years researchers have achieved considerable success applying neural network methods to question answering (QA). These approaches have achieved state of the art results in simplified closed-domain settings such as the SQuAD (Rajpurkar et al. 2016) dataset, which provides a preselected passage, from which the answer to a given question may be extracted. More recently, researchers have begun to tackle open-domain QA, in which the model is given a question and access to a large corpus (e.g., wikipedia) instead of a pre-selected passage (Chen et al. 2017a). This setting is more complex as it requires large-scale search for relevant passages by an information retrieval component, combined with a reading comprehension model that “reads” the passages to generate an answer to the question. Performance in this setting lags well behind closed-domain performance. In this paper, we present a novel open-domain QA system called Reinforced Ranker-Reader (R3), based on two algorithmic innovations. First, we propose a new pipeline for open-domain QA with a Ranker component, which learns to rank retrieved passages in terms of likelihood of extracting the ground-truth answer to a given question. Second, we propose a novel method that jointly trains the Ranker along with an answer-extraction Reader model, based on reinforcement learning. We report extensive experimental results showing that our method significantly improves on the state of the art for multiple open-domain QA datasets.