TREC Statement on Product Testing and Advertising

The annual Text REtrieval Conference (TREC) is an event in which organizations with an interest in information retrieval research take part in a coordinated series of experiments using the same experimental data. The goal of the conference series is to create the infrastructure necessary for large-scale evaluation of research retrieval systems and thereby foster research into effective techniques for information access.

By design, TREC is explicitly not a venue for commercial product tests (i.e., benchmark comparisons). A valid, informative vendor test requires a level of control in task definition and system execution that is counter to the scientific research goals of TREC. Insofar as TREC participants do the same task, the results from different participating teams are comparable, but interpretation of what those results actually represent may vary widely. For example, commercial participants may submit results from research prototype systems rather than their production system, or participants may deliberately degrade one aspect of their system to focus on another aspect.

To preserve the desired, pre-competitive nature of the TREC conferences, TREC requires all participants to sign and abide by an agreement concerning the dissemination and publication of TREC evaluation results. The guidelines embodied in the agreement are meant to preclude the publication of incomplete or inaccurate information that could damage the reputation of the conference or its participants. In particular, the agreement prohibits any advertising based on TREC results and sharply curtails the use of TREC results in marketing literature.

NIST and the TREC program committee are strongly committed to the ethos of cooperation the guidelines are designed to engender, but cannot accept responsibility for performance claims made by participants in violation of the agreement. TREC reserves the right to prohibit violators from participating in future TREC conferences.

To register to participate see the TREC 2021 Call for Participation

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Last updated: Tuesday, 23-Feb-2021 08:42:07 EST
Date created: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
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