Reciprocal Recommender Systems: Analysis of state-of-art literature, challenges and opportunities towards social recommendation

Iván Palomares, Carlos Porcel, Luiz Pizzato, Ido Guy, Enrique Herrera-Viedma

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

47 Scopus citations


There exist situations of decision-making under information overload in the Internet, where people have an overwhelming number of available options to choose from, e.g. products to buy in an e-commerce site, or restaurants to visit in a large city. Recommender systems arose as a data-driven personalized decision support tool to assist users in these situations: they are able to process user-related data, filtering and recommending items based on the user's preferences, needs and/or behavior. Unlike most conventional recommender approaches where items are inanimate entities recommended to the users and success is solely determined upon the end user's reaction to the recommendation(s) received, in a Reciprocal Recommender System (RRS) users become the item being recommended to other users. Hence, both the end user and the user being recommended should accept the “matching” recommendation to yield a successful RRS performance. The operation of an RRS entails not only predicting accurate preference estimates upon user interaction data as classical recommenders do, but also calculating mutual compatibility between (pairs of) users, typically by applying fusion processes on unilateral user-to-user preference information. This paper presents a snapshot-style analysis of the extant literature that summarizes the state-of-the-art RRS research to date, focusing on the algorithms, fusion processes and fundamental characteristics of RRS, both inherited from conventional user-to-item recommendation models and those inherent to this emerging family of approaches. Representative RRS models are likewise highlighted. Following this, we discuss the challenges and opportunities for future research on RRSs, with special focus on (i) fusion strategies to account for reciprocity and (ii) emerging application domains related to social recommendation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-127
Number of pages25
JournalInformation Fusion
StatePublished - 1 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Online dating
  • Preference fusion
  • Reciprocal Recommender Systems
  • Recommender systems
  • Social matching
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture


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