Effective: September 1, 2021
With over 12,500 members from around the globe, Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) is the leading international association for professionals in operations research and analytics.
INFORMS promotes best practices and advances in operations research, management sciences, and analytics to improve operational processes, decision-making and outcomes through an array of highly cited publications, conferences, competitions, networking communities, and professional development services.
While information is critical to our ability to provide high quality service to users, our most important asset is the trust that out members and visitors place in how we provide that service. Keeping personal information secure, and using it only as our visitors would want us to, is a top priority for all of us at INFORMS.
This page is used to inform members and visitors regarding our policies governing the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information anyone using our services.
Information collection and use
For a better experience while using our service, we may require you to provide us with certain personally identifiable information, including but not limited to your name, phone number, and postal address. The information that we collect will be used to contact or identify you.
GDPR mandates organizations which collect, process and/or store an individual's or corporate personal information to gain that individual's positive consent. Positive consent requires the individual to actively express agreement with the proposed use of their data. Assuming agreement on their use of the system or relying on pre-checked consent questions does not meet GDPR standards.
INFORMS is committed to protecting the privacy of children, and therefore does not knowingly collect or maintain personally identifiable information on the web site or through its services from persons under 13 years of age, except in compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 ("COPPA"). By providing any personal information to INFORMS or otherwise using the service, all visitors and users, including without limitation individuals in the European Union, must acknowledge and hereby unambiguously consent to the transfer to, collection, and processing of such information in the United States. You may not use the service if you do not agree to such transfer to collection, and processing of your personal information in the United States.
What this policy covers
Your privacy is important to us, and so is being transparent about how we collect, use, and share information about you. This policy is intended to help you understand:
- What information we collect about you
- How we use information we collect
- How we share information we collect
- How we store and secure information we collect
- How we access and control your information
- How we transfer information we collect internationally
- Other important privacy information
This policy also explains your choices about how we use information about you. Your choices include how you can object to certain uses of information about you and how you can access and update certain information about you. If you do not agree with this policy, do not access or use our Services or interact with any other aspect of our business.
What information we collect about you
We collect information about you when you provide it to us, when you use our Services, and when other sources provide it to us, as further described below.
Information you provide to us
We collect information about you when you input it in through the Self-Services or otherwise provide it directly to us.
Account and profile information: We collect information about you when you register for an account, create or modify your profile, set preferences, sign-up for or make purchases through the Services. For example, you provide your contact information and, in some cases, billing information when you register for an event or renew your membership. You also have the option of adding a display name, profile photo, job title, and other details to your profile information to be displayed in our Services. We keep track of your preferences when you select settings within the Services.
Content you provide through our products: The Services include INFORMS products you use, where we collect and store content that you post, send, receive, and share. This content includes any information about you that you may choose to include. Examples of content we collect and store include: the summary and description added to journals, magazines or conference abstracts, the pages you create in INFORMS Connect, the messages you exchange in Stride, your repositories and pull requests in HubSpot, comments you enter in connection with an incident in feedback page, and any comments you provide to us. Content also includes the files and links you upload to the Services.
Content you provide through our websites: The Services include all websites owned or operated by INFORMS. We collect content that you submit to these websites, which include social media or private social networking websites operated by INFORMS (for example, INFORMS Connect). Examples of content we collect and store include: content provided to us when you provide feedback or when you participate in any interactive features, surveys, contests, promotions, sweepstakes, activities or events.
Information you provide through our support channels: The Services include our customer support, where you may choose to submit information regarding a problem you are experiencing with a Service. Whether you designate yourself as a technical contact, open a support ticket through our data processors, speak to one of our representatives directly, or otherwise engage with our support team, you will be asked to provide contact information, a summary of the problem you are experiencing, and any other documentation, screenshots or information that would be helpful in resolving the issue.
Payment information: We collect certain payment and billing information when you register for certain paid Services. For example, we ask you to designate a billing representative, including name and contact information, upon registration. You might also provide payment information, such as payment card details, which we collect via secure payment processing services.
Information we collect automatically when you use the Services
We collect information about you when you use our Services, including browsing our websites and taking certain actions within the Services.
Your use of the Services: We keep track of certain information about you when you visit and interact with any of our Services. This information includes the features you use; the links you click on; the type, size, and filenames of information you download of the Services; frequently used search terms; and how you interact with others on the Services. We also collect information about the teams and people you work with and how you work with them, like who you collaborate with and communicate with most frequently. If you use a server or data center version of the Services, the information we collect about your use of the Services is limited to clickstream data about how you interact with and use features in the Services, in addition to content-related information described in "Content you provide through our products," above. Server and data center administrators can disable our collection of this information from the Services via the administrator settings or prevent this information from being shared with us by blocking transmission at the local network level.
Information use: We use the acquired information to better understand your needs and provide you with a tailored service, in particular so we can process your journals, magazine and e-newsletter subscriptions, and event registrations. We may also use the information to improve our products and services. We may periodically send essential updates, subscription renewal reminders, promotional emails and/or postal mailings about events, new products, special offers, or other information which we think you may find of interest. From time to time, we may also use your information to contact you for market survey research purposes. We may contact you by email, phone, fax, or mail. We may use the information to customize the website according to your interests.
We will not disclose any information to any company outside of these parameters, unless we are required to do so by law.
If you do not wish to receive certain types of communication, just let us know using the contact details at the bottom of this policy. Any communications you do receive from us a as result of supplying your personal information will always include a clear, simple method to "opt-out" of future communications of that nature and/or from any communication from INFORMS in future.
Device and connection information: We collect information about your computer, phone, tablet, or other devices you use to access the Services. This device information includes your connection type and settings when you install, access, update, or use our Services. We also collect information through your device about your operating system, browser type, IP address, URLs of referring/exit pages, device identifiers, and crash data. We use your IP address and/or country preference in order to approximate your location to provide you with a better Service experience. How much of this information we collect depends on the type and settings of the device you use to access the Services. Server and data center administrators can disable collection of this information via the administrator settings or prevent this information from being shared with us by blocking transmission at the local network level.
Cookies: Users should be aware that information may be collected using cookies, whenever accessing INFORMS' websites. We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyze data about webpage traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system. Cookies help us provide you with a better website by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.
You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline if you prefer. This may prevent you from taking full advantage of the website and services.
Information we receive from other sources
We receive information about you from other Service users, from third-party services, from our related companies, and from our business and channel partners due to the following reasons:
- To facilitate our Service;
- To provide the Service on our behalf
- To perform Service-related services; or;
- To assist us in analyzing how our Service is used
We want to inform our Service users that these third parties have access to your personal information to allow them to perform the tasks assigned to them on our behalf. However, they are obligated not to disclose or use the information for any other purpose.
Other users of the Services: Other users of our Services may provide information about you when they submit content through the Services. For example, you may be listed as a co-author for a manuscript submitted to one of our journals or magazines, or mentioned in a support ticket opened by someone else. We also receive your email address from other Service users when they provide it in order to invite you to the Services. Similarly, an administrator may provide your contact information when they designate you as the billing or technical contact on your company's account.
INFORMS communities: We receive information about you from INFORMS communities (societies, sections, chapters, and fora) in accordance with their terms and policies.
How we use information we collect
How we use the information we collect depends in part on which Services you use, how you use them, and any preferences you have communicated to us. Below are the specific purposes for which we use the information we collect about you.
To provide the Services and personalize your experience: We use information about you to provide the Services to you, including to process transactions with you, authenticate you when you log in (Single Sign-On), provide customer support, and operate and maintain the Services. For example, we use the name and details you provide in your account to identify you to other Service users. Our Services also include tailored features that personalize your experience, enhance your productivity, and improve your ability to collaborate effectively with others by automatically analyzing the activities of your interests to provide search results, activity feeds, notifications, connections, and recommendations that are most relevant for you and your team. For example, we may use your stated job title and activity to return search results we think are relevant to your job function. We also use information about you to connect you with other team members seeking your subject matter expertise. We may use your email domain to infer your affiliation with a particular organization or industry to personalize the content and experience you receive on our websites. Where you use multiple Services, we combine information about you and your activities to provide an integrated experience, such as to allow you to find information from one Service while searching from another or to present relevant product information as you travel across our websites.
For research and development: We are always looking for ways to make our Services smarter, faster, secure, integrated, and useful to you. We use collective learnings about how people use our Services and feedback provided directly to us to troubleshoot and to identify trends, usage, activity patterns, and areas for integration and improvement of the Services. We automatically analyze and aggregate frequently used search terms to improve the accuracy and relevance of suggested topics that auto-populate when you use the search feature. In some cases, we apply these learnings across our Services to improve and develop similar features or to better integrate the services you use. We also test and analyze certain new features with some users before rolling the feature out to all users.
To communicate with you about the Services: We use your contact information to send transactional communications via email and within the Services, including confirming your purchases, reminding you of subscription expirations, responding to your comments, questions, and requests, providing customer support, and sending you technical notices, updates, security alerts, our events with your interests, and administrative messages. We send you email notifications when you or others interact with you on the Services. We also provide tailored communications based on your activity and interactions with us. For example, certain actions you take in the Services may automatically trigger a feature or third-party app suggestion within the Services that would make that task easier. We also send you communications as you onboard to a particular Service to help you become more proficient in using that Service. These communications are part of the Services and in most cases you cannot opt out of them. If an opt out is available, you will find that option within the communication itself or in your account settings.
To market, promote, and drive engagement with the Services: We use your contact information and information about how you use the Services to send promotional communications that may be of specific interest to you, including by email and by displaying INFORMS event ads on our company websites and applications, as well as on platforms like Facebook and Google. These communications are aimed at driving engagement and maximizing what you get out of the Services, including information about new features, survey requests, newsletters, and events we think may be of interest to you. We also communicate with you about new journal offers, promotions, and contests. You can control whether you receive these communications as described below under "Opt-out of communications."
Customer support: We use your information to resolve technical issues you encounter, to respond to your requests for assistance, to analyze crash information, and to repair and improve the Services.
For safety and security: We use information about you and your Service use to verify accounts and activity, to monitor suspicious or fraudulent activity, and to identify violations of Service policies.
To protect our legitimate business interests and legal rights: Where required by law or where we believe it is necessary to protect our legal rights, interests, and the interests of others, we use information about you in connection with legal claims, compliance, regulatory, and audit functions, and disclosures in connection with the acquisition, merger, or sale of a business.
With your consent: We use information about you where you have given us consent to do so for a specific purpose not listed above. For example, we may publish testimonials or featured customer stories to promote the Services, with your permission.
Legal bases for processing (for EEA users):
If you are an individual in the European Economic Area (EEA), we collect and process information about you only where we have legal bases for doing so under applicable EU laws. The legal basis depends on the Services you use and how you use them. This means we collect and use your information only where:
- We need it to provide you the Services, including to operate the Services, provide customer support and personalized features and to protect the safety and security of the Services;
- It satisfies a legitimate interest (which is not overridden by your data protection interests), such as for research and development, to market and promote the Services, and to protect our legal rights and interests;
- You give us consent to do so for a specific purpose; or
- We need to process your data to comply with a legal obligation.
If you have consented to our use of information about you for a specific purpose, you have the right to change your mind at any time, but this will not affect any processing that has already taken place. Where we are using your information because we are not a third party or, have a legitimate interest to do so, you have the right to object to that use, though, in some cases, this may mean you will no longer be able to use the Services.
How we share information we collect
We make collaboration tools, and we want them to work well for you, such as providing Single Sign-On across INFORMS' main website informs.org and subsidiary sites such as INFORMS Connect, INFORMS PubsOnline (Atypon), and INFORMS abstract management platform (Oasis). This requires sharing information through the Services and with certain data processors. We share information we collect about you in the ways discussed below, including in connection with possible business transfers, but we are not in the business of selling information about you to advertisers or other third parties.
Sharing with other Service users
When you use the Services, we share certain information about you with other Service users.
For collaboration: You can create content, which may contain information about you, and grant permission to others to see, share, edit, copy, and download that content based on settings you or your administrator (if applicable) select. Some of the collaboration features of the Services display some or all of your profile information to other Service users when you share or interact with specific content. For example, when you create or comment on a INFORMS Connect discussion thread, we display your profile picture and name next to your comments so that other users with access to the page or issue understand who made the comment. When you send a Stride message to another user, the recipient can view any information in your profile card. Similarly, when you publish an article, your name is displayed as the author of that article, and Service users with permission to view the article can view any profile information published within the article as well (such as your professional affiliation, ORCID ID, and email address). Please be aware that some aspects of the Services such as INFORMS Connect Bulletin Boards, or Committee participation, may be made publicly available, meaning any content posted, including information about you, may be publicly viewed and indexed by and returned in search results of search engines. You can confirm whether certain Service properties are publicly visible from within the Services or by contacting the relevant administrator.
Managed accounts and administrators: If you register or access the Services using an email address with a domain that is owned by your employer or organization, and such organization wishes to establish an account or site, certain information about you including your name, profile picture, contact info, content and past use of your account may become accessible to that organization's administrator, and other Service users sharing the same domain. If you are an administrator for a particular site or group of users within the Services, we may share your contact information with current or past Service users, for the purpose of facilitating Service-related requests.
Community forums: Our websites offer publicly accessible blogs, forums, issue trackers, and INFORMS Connect Communities. You should be aware that any information you provide on these websites, - including profile information associated with the account you use to post the information, - may be read, collected, and used by any member of the public who accesses these websites. Your posts and certain profile information may remain even after you terminate your account. We urge you to consider the sensitivity of any information you input into these Services. To request removal of your information from publicly accessible websites operated by us, please contact us as provided below. In some cases, we may not be able to remove your information, in which case we will let you know if we are unable to and why.
Sharing with third parties
We share information with our data processors that help us operate, provide, improve, integrate, customize, support, and market our Services.
Service providers: We work with data processors to provide website and application development, hosting, maintenance, backup, storage, virtual infrastructure, payment processing, analysis, and other services for us, which may require them to access or use information about you. If a service provider needs to access information about you to perform services on our behalf, they do so under close instruction from us, including policies and procedures designed to protect your information.
INFORMS data processors: We work with data processors who provide journal sales, deliver contents, and implement customer solutions around the Services. We may share your information with these data processors in connection with the Services, such as to assist with billing and collections, to provide localized support, and to provide customizations. We may also share information with these processors where you have agreed to that sharing through Single Sign-On.
Social media widgets: The Services may include links that direct you to other websites or services whose privacy practices may differ from ours. Your use of and any information you submit to any of those third-party sites is governed by their privacy policies, not this one.
With your consent: We share information about you with INFORMS data processors only when you give us consent to do so.
Compliance with enforcement requests and applicable laws; enforcement of our rights: In exceptional circumstances, we may share information about you with a legal law enforcements entity if we believe that sharing is reasonably necessary to (a) comply with any applicable law, regulation, legal process, or governmental request, including to meet national security requirements, (b) enforce our agreements, policies, and terms of service, (c) protect the security or integrity of our products and services, (d) protect INFORMS, our customers, or the public from harm or illegal activities, or (e) respond to an emergency which we believe in good faith requires us to disclose information to assist in preventing the death or serious bodily injury of any person.
Sharing with affiliated companies
INFORMS communities: We share information we have about you with other INFORMS departments in order to operate and improve products and services and to offer other INFORMS services to you.
How we store and secure information we collect
Information storage and security
We use secure data hosting service providers in the United States to host the information we collect, and we use technical measures to secure your data regardless of the data hosting location.
While we implement safeguards designed to protect your information, no security system is impenetrable, and due to the inherent nature of the Internet, we cannot guarantee that data, during transmission through the Internet or while stored on our systems or otherwise in our care, is absolutely safe from intrusion by others.
INFORMS data processors comply with all security compliances and regulations. Information is stored in encrypted formats. All backup and restores are well protected from any external hackers. Our processors take the appropriate technical and organizational measures to adequately protect personal data against accidental or unlawful destruction, loss alteration, and unauthorized disclosure of or access. Measures include, but are not be limited to:
- Prevention of unauthorized persons from gaining access to personal data and processing systems (physical access control);
- Prevent of personal data processing systems from being used without authorization (logical access control);
- Ensuring that persons entitled to use a personal data processing systems gain access only to such personal data as they are entitled to accessing in accordance with their access rights, and that, in the course of processing or use and after storage, personal data cannot be read, copied modified, or deleted without authorization;
- Ensuring that personal data cannot be read, copied modified or deleted without authorization during electronic transmission, transport or storage on storage media, and the target entities for any transfer of personal data by means of data transmission facilities can be established and verified;
- Ensuring the establishment of an audit trail to document whether and by whom personal data have been entered into, modified in, or removed from personal data processing systems; and;
- Ensuring that personal data is protected against accidental destructions or loss;
How long we keep information
How long we keep information we collect about you depends on the type of information, as described in further detail below. After such time, we will either delete or anonymize your information or, if this is not possible (for example, because the information has been stored in backup archives), then we will securely store your information and isolate it from any further use until deletion is possible.
Account information: We retain your account information for as long as your account is active and a reasonable period thereafter in case you decide to re-activate the Services. We also retain some of your information as necessary to comply with our legal obligations, to resolve disputes, to enforce our agreements, to support business operations, and to continue to develop and improve our Services. Where we retain information for Service improvement and development, we take steps to eliminate information that directly identifies you, and we only use the information to uncover collective insights about the use of our Services, not to specifically analyze personal characteristics about you.
Information you share on the Services: If your account is deactivated or disabled, some of your information and the content you have provided will remain in order to allow our team members or other processors to make full use of the Services. For example, we continue to display messages you sent to the users that received them and continue to display content you provided.
Managed accounts: If the Services are made available to you through an organization (e.g., your employer), we retain your information as long as required by the administrator of your account. For more information, see "Managed accounts and administrators" above.
Marketing information: If you have elected to receive marketing emails from us, we retain information about your marketing preferences for a reasonable period of time from the date you last expressed interest in our Services, such as when you last opened an email from us or ceased using your INFORMS account. We retain information derived from cookies and other tracking technologies for a reasonable period of time from the date such information was created.
How to access and control your information
You have certain choices available to you when it comes to your information. Below is a summary of those choices, how to exercise them, and any limitations.
You have the right to request a copy of your information, to object to our use of your information (including for marketing purposes), to request the deletion or restriction of your information, or to request your information in a structured, electronic format. Below, we describe the tools and processes for making these requests. You can exercise some of the choices by logging into the Services and using settings available within the Services or your account. Where the Services are administered for you by an administrator (see "Notice to end users" below), you may need to contact INFORMS Customer Service to assist with your requests.
Your request and choices may be limited in certain cases: for example, if fulfilling your request would reveal information about another person, or if you ask to delete information which we or our customer services are permitted by law or have compelling legitimate interests to keep. If you have unresolved concerns, you have the right to file a complaint to INFORMS' data controller's or the data protection authority in the country where you live, where you work, or where you feel your rights were infringed.
Access and update your information: Our Services and related documentation give you the ability to access and update certain information about you from within the Self-Service. For example, you can access your profile information from your account and search for content containing information about you using key-word searches in the Service. You can update your profile information within your profile settings and modify content that contains information about you using the editing tools associated with that content.
Deactivate your account: If you no longer wish to use our Services, you or your administrator may be able to deactivate your Services account by contacting our Customer Services. You cannot deactivate your own account, that setting is not available to you in your account settings. Please contact your administrator or INFORMS Customer Services. Please be aware that deactivating your account does not delete your information; your information remains visible to other Service users based on your past participation within the Services. For more information on how to delete your information, see below.
Delete your information: Our Services and related documentation give you the ability to delete certain information about you from within the Service. For example, you can remove content that contains information about you using the key-word search and editing tools associated with that content, and you can remove certain profile information within your profile settings. Please note, however, that we may need to retain certain information for record keeping purposes, to complete transactions, or to comply with our legal obligations.
Request that we stop using your information: In some cases, you may ask us to stop accessing, storing, using and otherwise processing your information where you believe we don't have the appropriate rights to do so. For example, if you believe a Services account was created for you without your permission or you are no longer an active user, you can request that we delete your account as provided in this policy. Where you gave us consent to use your information for a limited purpose, you can contact us to withdraw that consent, but this will not affect any processing that has already taken place at the time. You can also opt-out of our use of your information for marketing purposes by contacting us, as provided below. When you make such requests, we may need time to investigate and facilitate your request. If there is delay or dispute as to whether we have the right to continue using your information, we will restrict any further use of your information until the request is honored or the dispute is resolved, provided your administrator does not object (where applicable).
Opt out of communications: You may opt out of receiving promotional communications from us by using the unsubscribe link within each email, updating your email preferences within your Service account settings menu, or by contacting us as provided below to have your contact information removed from our promotional email list or registration database. Even after you opt out from receiving promotional messages from us, you will continue to receive transactional messages from us regarding our Services. You can opt out of some notification messages in your account settings.
You may be able to opt out of receiving personalized emails through INFORMS Connect by making changes in the settings under your profile.
Turn off cookie controls: Relevant browser-based cookie controls may be deactivated through your browser settings. This may prevent you from taking full advantage of our website and Services.
Send "Do Not Track" signals: Some browsers have incorporated "Do Not Track" (DNT) features that can send a signal to the websites you visit indicating you do not wish to be tracked. Because there is not yet a common understanding of how to interpret the DNT signal, our Services do not currently respond to browser DNT signals. You can use the range of other tools we provide to control data collection and use, including the ability to opt out of receiving marketing from us as described above.
Data portability: Data portability is the ability to obtain some of your information in a format you can move from one service provider to another (for instance, when you transfer your mobile phone number to another carrier). Depending on the context, this applies to some of your information, but not to all of your information. Should you request it, we will provide you with an electronic file of your basic account information and the information you create while using the Services, by your preferred method.
How we transfer information we collect internationally
International transfers of information we collect
We collect information globally and primarily store that information in the United States. We transfer, process, and store your information outside of your country of residence for journal shipping purpose only, to wherever we or our data processing service providers operate for the purpose of providing you the Services. Whenever we transfer your information, we take steps to protect it. Our data processors have equivalent privacy and data protection laws to the laws of many of the countries where our customers and users are based. When we share information about you within and among INFORMS affiliates, we make use of standard contractual data protection clauses, which have been guided by the European Commission.
Other important privacy information
Notice to end users
Many of our products are intended for use by organizations. Where the Services are made available to you through an organization (for example, your employer), that organization is the administrator of the Services and is responsible for the accounts and/or Service sites over which it has control. If this is the case, please direct your data privacy questions to your administrator, as your use of the Services is subject to that organization's policies. We are not responsible for the privacy or security practices of an administrator's organization, which may be different than this policy.
Administrators are able to:
- require you to reset your account password;
- restrict, suspend, or terminate your access to the Services;
- access information in and about your account; and
- access or retain information stored as part of your account.
In some cases, administrators can also:
- restrict, suspend, or terminate your account access;
- change the email address associated with your account;
- change your information, including profile information; and
- restrict your ability to edit, restrict, modify, or delete information.
Even if the Services are not currently administered to you by an organization, if you use an email address provided by an organization (such as your work email address) to access the Services, then the owner of the domain associated with your email address (for example. your employer) may assert administrative control over your account and use of the Services at a later date. You will be notified if this happens.
If you do not want an administrator to be able to assert control over your account or use of the Services, use your personal email address to register for or access the Services. If an administrator has not already asserted control over your account or access to the Services, you can update the email address associated with your account through your account settings in your profile. Once an administrator asserts control over your account or use of the Services, you will no longer be able to change the email address associated with your account without administrator approval.
Please contact your organization or refer to your administrator's organizational policies for more information.
If you have questions or concerns about how your information is handled, please direct your inquiry to INFORMS, which we have appointed to be responsible for facilitating such inquiries or, if you are a resident of the European Economic Area, please contact our Data Controllers.
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS)
5521 Research Park Drive, Suite 200
Catonsville, MD 21228
Attn: Nagaraj Reddi/Matthew Walls
5521 Research Park Drive, Suite 200
Catonsville, MD 21228