Charles F. Elton Best Paper Award


The AIR Charles F. Elton Best Paper Award celebrates the scholarly papers presented at the AIR annual conference (AIR Forum) that best exemplify the standards of excellence established by the award's namesake and that make significant contributions to the field of IR. The purpose of the award is to promote scholarship and to acknowledge that AIR members make a wide variety of scholarly contributions to the field, ranging from theory to practice. Understanding that acceptance of a paper for a scholarly journal can take time, AIR allows up to two years* in order to provide proof of publication.

The Charles F. Elton Best Paper Award honors Forum scholarly papers that have been accepted for publication by peer-reviewed journals. 

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Award Criteria

All scholarly papers presented at the Forum are eligible for the Charles F. Elton Best Paper Award.

  • Scholarly papers must include research questions, methodologies, literature reviews, and findings.
  • Papers presented at the Forum that were previously accepted for publication elsewhere will not be considered for the Charles F. Elton Best Paper Award.

Award Selection

  • A paper accepted for publication in any peer-reviewed journal will be named a Charles F. Elton Best Paper. The goal is to honor publishable papers and to acknowledge that the scholarship of IR is featured in a wide range of peer-reviewed journals.
  • The paper must be accepted for publication by March 15 two years out from when the Forum was held. For example, if you presented your paper at the 2018 AIR Forum, it would need to be accepted for publishing by March 15, 2020. Actual publication/print date may be after that date.
  • The author(s) must provide evidence of acceptance for publication and the date of acceptance.
  • Currently, AIR is accepting publication acceptance notices for papers presented at the 2017, 2018, and 2019 AIR Forum.

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Award Confirmation

AIR will name Charles F. Elton Best Papers as publication notifications are confirmed. When a Best Paper is finalized for publication, it may include a footnote that an earlier version of the paper was presented at the (number) Forum of the Association for Institutional Research in (specific city and state) during (dates the Forum was held) and that it was named a (year) Charles F. Elton Best Paper. For more information, please contact

*In effect beginning with the 2014 AIR Forum.