Medical researcher George H. Scherr was publisher from 1964 to 1989, after which JIR was published by Blackwell Scientific Publications. Marc Abrahams was editor from 1991 to the last Blackwell issue in 1994, when he left to form the rival Annals of Improbable Research (AIR) and create the Ig Nobel prizes.
In 1994, Blackwell returned JIR to George Scherr, who was publisher and editor until 2003, during which time he pursued a number of legal complaints against Abrahams and AIR, even as the Journal's publication became erratic.
JIR received attention from American military intelligence when a copy of one of their articles was found among other papers in an abandoned terrorist headquarters in the Middle East. The article was a highly unrealistic and farcical explanation of how to build a nuclear weapon that some unwitting Al Qaida member had filed away. Nonetheless the discovery prompted a short-lived official investigation.