To our regret the last issue of International Abstracts in Operations Research (IAOR) was published in 2017.  As a direct consequence of the merger with Springer, in 2016 Palgrave announced its decision not to renew its agreement with IFORS beyond the contract period that expires at the end of 2017. The main reason for this was a technical one – after close analysis, the publisher concluded that the enhanced content platform to which all Palgrave Journals migrated could not support the unique needs of IAOR.  Palgrave, originally Macmillan Press, had been publishing IAOR since 1991.

At the second conference of the International Federation of Operational Research Societies (IFORS) held in Aix-en-Provence in 1961, it was proposed, and formally agreed later by mail ballot, that the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA) would publish the journal for IFORS. Each member society would be invited to become a “contributing society”, and thus be responsible for the production and submission of all abstracts of articles published in its own country, by appointing a contributing editor, and for circulating the journal to all its members. The responsibility for publishing IAOR was passed to IFORS in 1970. The national contributing editors were later augmented by editors who were responsible for subject areas.

The first issue of IAOR appeared in November 1961, containing 116 abstracts. The editor was Herbert P. Galliher (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).  During 1968, Herbert Galliher handed over the editorship to Hugh Bradley of the Upjohn Company, Kalamazoo.   He continued to edit IAOR until 1979, when Graham Rand, of the University of Lancaster U.K. was appointed as his successor.  He served for 12 years before the editorship passed to David Smith, University of Exeter, UK, in 1992. Both successors to Hugh Bradley had previously been the UK contributing editor to IAOR for several years.

The 10,000th abstract was published in 1971, the 20,000th in 1979, the 50,000th in 1992, the 100,000th in 2007.  2017 saw the publication of the 140,000th abstract.  This increase in publication rate reflects, to some extent, constraints in the budget, as OR literature has proliferated over the years.

In the early years of this century, under the leadership of David Smith, a comprehensive plan of action was undertaken to completely transform IAOR from a paper-based publication to an online journal capable of meeting the challenges created by the widespread availability of powerful browsers on the Internet. The objectives of this transformation were to regain IAOR’s role as the “First Source” for those researching the OR literature by being: a one-stop-source format; easily searched; possessing added value; up-to-date; and with a printed version also available.

After 18 years as editor, in 2010 David Smith handed over the editorship to K. Preston White Jr. of the University of Virginia (USA).  N. Peter Whitehead joined the team, and they were designated Executive Editor and Editor respectively, in 2015.  In a case study available at, White and his research student, Lawrence Bonczar, compared literature search and retrieval in the OR/MS field using IAOR and Google Scholar. The authors showed that the results of IAOR and GS searches were complementary.  As more and more OR papers are published, and not added to the database which is provided here, It is with regret that this complementarity will no longer apply for researchers in the OR and MS community.

Graham K. Rand, Chair IFORS Publications committee, and UK contributing editor for IAOR (1974-79), editor IAOR (1979-91), specialist contributing editor for IAOR (1990-2008)

All of us at IFORS regret the need to end the publication of IAOR.  Throughout its lifetime, IAOR provided organization and insight into the burgeoning literature of operational research.  We are tremendously grateful to the editors and contributors to IAOR over the years, and gain satisfaction from knowing that their work through IAOR has been invaluable to the field for the last 56 years.  We hope that the gap created by the ending of the journal will be filled by increasingly powerful online search, but we know that those systems will never fully replace what we have lost.

Michael Trick, President, IFORS