The journal provides an international forum for the publication of theory, algorithms, and experiments across the broad area of information retrieval. Topics of interest include search, indexing, analysis, and evaluation for applications such as text archives, social and streaming media, recommender systems, and the web. Research results published in the journal typically address the problems that arise for user-oriented tasks where the meaning as well as the explicit content of the data is of interest.
The ideal paper may be theoretical, experimental or applied. A theoretical paper will report a significant conceptual advance in the design of algorithms or other processes for some information retrieval task. It will establish the validity or potential validity of the proposed ideas in terms of their relation to already accepted ideas and/or in terms of some modest prototype experiment or simulation. An experimental paper will report on a test of one or more theoretical ideas in a laboratory or natural setting. Experimental papers will be reviewed for both scientific and statistical merit, and will be expected to discuss the limitations and generality of the reported results. An application paper will report the successful application of some already established technique to a significant real world problem involving information retrieval.
Information Retrieval Journal overlaps with a variety of technical and behavioral fields. Papers on such technical issues as compression and optimization, and on issues of human behavior and cognition are appropriate insofar as they bear specifically on the issues of methods, tasks or media as outlined above. Variations from these prototypes, such as critical reviews of existing work and significant tutorials will be considered provided that they make a clear contribution to the field. Preference will be given to papers which unify concepts across several traditional disciplinary boundaries, with specific application to problems of information retrieval.