Journal of Computer Science and Technology ›› 2021, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (2): 375-396.doi: 10.1007/s11390-020-0135-9

Special Issue: Surveys; Data Management and Data Mining

• Regular Paper • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Serendipity in Recommender Systems: A Systematic Literature Review

Reza Jafari Ziarani and Reza Ravanmehr*        

  1. Department of Computer Engineering, Central Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran 1477893855, Iran
  • Received:2019-10-28 Revised:2020-07-27 Online:2021-03-05 Published:2021-04-01
  • Contact: Reza Ravanmehr
  • About author:Reza Jafari Ziarani received his B.Sc. degree in hardware engineering from West Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, in 2017, and his M.Sc. degree in software engineering from Central Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, in 2019. His research interests include recommender systems, serendipity, and social network analysis.

A recommender system is employed to accurately recommend items, which are expected to attract the user's attention. The over-emphasis on the accuracy of the recommendations can cause information over-specialization and make recommendations boring and even predictable. Novelty and diversity are two partly useful solutions to these problems. However, novel and diverse recommendations cannot merely ensure that users are attracted since such recommendations may not be relevant to the user's interests. Hence, it is necessary to consider other criteria, such as unexpectedness and relevance. Serendipity is a criterion for making appealing and useful recommendations. The usefulness of serendipitous recommendations is the main superiority of this criterion over novelty and diversity. The bulk of studies of recommender systems have focused on serendipity in recent years. Thus, a systematic literature review is conducted in this paper on previous studies of serendipity-oriented recommender systems. Accordingly, this paper focuses on the contextual convergence of serendipity definitions, datasets, serendipitous recommendation methods, and their evaluation techniques. Finally, the trends and existing potentials of the serendipity-oriented recommender systems are discussed for future studies. The results of the systematic literature review present that the quality and the quantity of articles in the serendipity-oriented recommender systems are progressing.

Key words: systematic literature review; recommender system; serendipity; evaluation metric; evaluation method;

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