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  • Can statistical and probability mathematics invented in the eighteenth century help fans choose their next favourite movie? A new study published in the International Journal Operational Research suggests that it might be so.

    Palash Ranjan Das of the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Calcutta, in West Bengal, and Gopal Govindasamy of the Madras School of Economics, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, explain how they have coupled movie choice with Bayesian credibility theory. Credibility theory is a branch of actuarial science devoted to quantify how unique a particular outcome will be when compared to an outcome deemed as typical. Thomas Bayes for whom the Bayes Theorem is named was an English statistician and philosopher who formulated a new approach to understanding chance and probability in the middle of the eighteenth century long before the arrival moving pictures and many decades before the notion of computer software that might assess the chances of a given movie suggestion being one a viewer might enjoy.

    Bayesian credibility theory was initially developed to assess risk. However, the team in this current work has used it to rate and rank movies available from an online movie database based on user votes.

    Das, P.R. and Govindasamy, G. (2019) 'On the application of Bayesian credibility theory in movie rankings', Int. J. Operational Research, Vol. 36, No. 2, pp.254–269.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJOR.2019.102413

  • Digital technology and in particular the advent of online social media and the smartphone have facilitated the widespread use of consumer-to-consumer commerce and services. Online platforms such as eBay and Taobao allow individuals to access buying and selling marketplaces that simply did not exist for previous generations. Surprisingly, the sharing and servicing of accommodation and transport through the likes of Airbnb and Uber has also opened up a whole new world to the individual that was the commercial preserve of companies and corporations.

    Writing in the International Journal of Revenue Management, Jagan Jacob of the Simon Business School, at the University of Rochester, in Rochester New York, USA suggests that this consumer-to-consumer provision and uptake of goods and services is just as asymmetrical as it ever was in terms of people on one side of the equation being the consumers and the other side the providers. This is perhaps intrinsic to any buying and selling scenario or any provision of services, whether a bed for the night or transport from A to B. As such, there are "challenges".

    The online systems do, of course, allow transactions to take place between users who are usually complete strangers in the wider context. There is, therefore, a pressing need for users and providers to somehow validate themselves but without the unwarranted sharing of personal and private information. Jacob's paper suggests that a matching mechanism can maximise platform profit when users are heterogeneous with some more likely to be "more good" than others. However, there is a scenario whereby platform profit rises when it allows users with a higher probability of being "bad" to join too. This presumably cannot be to the benefit of the average good user or provider.

    Jacob, J. (2019) 'Screening mechanism when online users have privacy concerns', Int. J. Revenue Management, Vol. 11, Nos. 1/2, pp.89–125.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJRM.2019.103041

  • There is a lot of malware on the internet, unwitting computer users might be enticed to visit web pages serving such malicious content and as such there is a pressing need to develop security systems that can quickly detect such malicious websites and protect users from having their personal and private data scraped, their logins and bank details assimilated, or their computer or mobile device hijacked for the nefarious purposes of third party criminals.

    A new paper from Dharmaraj Patil and Jayantrao Patil the Department of Computer Engineering, at the R.C. Patel Institute of Technology, in Shirpur, Maharashtra, India, outlines a new approach to malicious web site detection based on feature selection methods and machine learning. The pair discusses details in the International Journal of High Performance Computing and Networking.

    Their approach uses three modules: feature selection, training, and classification. To test the approach, the team used six feature selection methods and eight supervised machine learning classifiers and carried out experiments on the balanced binary dataset. With feature selection methods, they were able to detect malicious web content with an accuracy of between 94 and 99 percent and even above. The error rate was just 0.19 to 5.55%. They compared their results with eighteen well-known antivirus programs that also detect malicious web pages and found that the approach performed better than all of them.

    Patil, D.R. and Patil, J.B. (2019) 'Malicious web pages detection using feature selection techniques and machine learning', Int. J. High Performance Computing and Networking, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp.473–488.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJHPCN.2019.102355

  • It should be possible to generate electricity and refrigerate simultaneously using low-grade waste heat from industry, according to research published in Progress in Industrial Ecology - An International Journal. The key is a system based on an ammonia-water mixture.

    Mechanical engineer Kolar Deepak of Vardhaman College of Engineering, in Hyderabad, India, has proposed a system that exploits thermodynamic phenomena encapsulated in the Kalina cycle to generate power and cool a system at the same time using evaporation and condensation of an ammonia-water working fluid. The system does mechanical work, which can drive a dynamo type device to generate electricity, while the refrigeration effect is produced by the working fluid from the turbine exit.

    Deepak's computations suggest a thermal efficiency of almost 20 percent at an operating temperature of 135 degrees Celsius, which is the sort of temperature for "waste" heat streams from industrial plants and gas turbine exhaust, as well as municipal incinerators, or renewable energy sources, including geothermal brine.

    Deepak, K. (2019) 'Aqua-ammonia-based thermally activated combined power and cooling system', Progress in Industrial Ecology – An International Journal, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp.332–341.
    DOI: 10.1504/PIE.2019.102844

  • In a world of growing educational and professional mobility, there is an urgent need, from an individual nation's perspective to reduce the potentially harmful effects of what is commonly referred to as the "brain drain". The brain drain refers to the loss of one's intellectuals and talented students and workers to another nation where they may benefit their adopted state, often never to return home to their place of birth.

    Writing in the International Journal of Education Economics and Development, Akira Shimada of the Faculty of Economics at Nagasaki University, Japan, discusses the policy challenges facing education in attempting to plug the brain drain. His findings suggest that among the developed nations, subsidizing salary can often reduce the loss of talent to foreign shores. But, this is generally not an option for cash-strapped establishments in a developing nation where the disparity between available home salary and the remuneration potential of working in a developed nation is enormous.

    One possible way to reduce the brain drain from developing nations and so retain the very talent that might allow the country to thrive is not to attempt to offer better working salaries but to improve education and the subsidizing thereof. Rewarding students for staying in their home nation to work could be implemented effectively whereas attempting to tax those who flow with the brain drain is largely untenable.

    "I found that education subsidies are an effective way for a developed country to reduce brain drain for any degree of human capital transferability although they are not effective for a developing country for a certain degree of human capital transferability," Shimada concludes.

    Shimada, A. (2019) 'The education policy challenge to the brain drain problem', Int. J. Education Economics and Development, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp.335–355.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEED.2019.102740

  • Nilay Khare and Hema Dubey of the Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, in Bhopal, India, discuss how Google's "PageRank" system can be used to detect spam web pages. That is pages created for nefarious purposes that attempt to gain a higher position in the search engine results pages (SERPs) through the false representation of their value and relevance to the person carrying out a search.

    PageRank was developed by Google's founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin back in 1996 at Stanford University, building on the foundations of other ranking algorithms that had been developed through the 1970s and onwards. PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.

    Of course, the notion of "quality", good or bad, is rather ephemeral and so over the years since the rise of Google, there is an ongoing struggle between webmasters who would wish their sites to be high up in the SERPs and so more visible and Google which endeavours to preclude spammy tactics that might game its system and allow webmasters of lower quality sites to achieve unwarranted high status in the ranks.

    Khare and Dubey have developed an efficient and faster parallel PageRank algorithm that can harness the power of a computer's graphics processing units (GPUs). Their results show a speed enhancement in calculating PageRank and so finding spam pages of up to 1.7 times that of the conventional parallel PageRank algorithm. The team even suggests in its conclusion that their approach is "immune" to spammy websites.

    Khare, N. and Dubey, H. (2019) 'Fast parallel PageRank technique for detecting spam web pages', Int. J. Data Mining, Modelling and Management, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp.350–365.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJDMMM.2019.102720

  • Social media and student retention – Researchers in Egypt have investigated whether or not online social media can enhance student retention and reduce the dropout rate. Writing in the International Journal of Management in Education, Rania Mostafa of the Faculty of Commerce at Damanhour University, explains how she has used a Stimulus–Organism–Response framework to investigate.

    Mostafa quotes earlier research that suggests that there is fierce competition among universities worldwide to differentiate themselves and to boost their standing in the educational "marketplace". As such, there is pressure to retain students and reduce the number that drops out of a particular course. It is, she points out much more expensive to recruit a student than to retain one. Universities now use all "touch points" including social media to engage students and to enhance information sharing and self-expression which in turn can improve what the higher education establishment can offer students and so boost morale and reduce apathy and thus keep students on track.

    Her results indicate that information quality, privacy and security, and virtual interactivity influence perceived value in the context of the establishment's social media. However, student self-efficacy does not seem to moderate this perceive value. In other words, higher education establishments must ensure that their social media sites offer timely, accurate, relevant, and engaging information for their students and to evolve with student intentions.

    Mostafa, R.B. (2019) 'Does social media website really matter in enhancing student's retention intention? An application of Stimulus–Organism–Response framework', Int. J. Management in Education, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp.397–416.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJMIE.2019.102603

  • Family firms are as old as "Mom and Pop". But, there can be problems within such organisations and, according to research published in the International Journal of Business Continuity and Risk Management, specific personal motives, organisational opportunities and deviant behaviour can lead to white-collar crime. Indeed, there are plenty of opportunities, the research suggests, for family members to defraud their own firm, and thus their fellow family members.

    Petter Gottschalk and Cecilie Asting of the Department of Leadership and Organizational Behavior, at the BI Norwegian Business School, in Oslo, Norway, do not argue that white-collar crime is any more or less frequent in family firms than it is in "normal" companies. However, their evidence suggests that it can be easier for a family member within the organization to carry out subterfuge.

    The pair offers several possible solutions to the problem of white-collar crime in the family firm. For instance, family members should not have voting rights and privileges that allow them to carry out actions without the usual checks and balances that would be in place in other types of company.

    Moreover, there is also the obvious possibility of non-family members of the firm to defraud the business too, especially if remuneration and reward equity is lacking. The team suggests that non-family members of a family firm should expect fair pay and conditions and that they should be stimulated to identify with the business just as an employee of any other type of business might.

    Gottschalk, P. and Asting, C. (2019) 'The family firm as an arena for white-collar crime', Int. J. Business Continuity and Risk Management, Vol. 9, No. 4, pp.283–297.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJBCRM.2019.102594

  • Worldwide the number of drivers over the age of 65 is increasing rapidly. As such, there is an urgency in the need to design vehicles that are ergonomically suited to this demographic to accommodate physical ailments and limitations that are usually not seen in younger people.

    Research published in the International Journal of Vehicle Design, discusses the major ergonomic concerns of older drivers that might improve driving posture, improve attention, and decrease fatigue during driving. Ashish Dutta, A.K. Bhardwaj, and A.P.S. Rathore of the Malaviya National Institute of Technology, in Jaipur, India, have grouped ergonomic needs of older drivers into ten categories and then surveyed a number of such drivers. Three important factors emerged showing that concerns can be grouped into three areas: musculoskeletal factors, safety factors, and driver-vehicle interface factors.

    Various vehicle features emerge as becoming increasingly useful, or even essential, to older drivers who want to continue to use their vehicles for as long as possible: automatic transmission that precludes the need for a clutch and gearstick, braking assistance, parking sensors and camera, voice-assistant navigation, antiglare mirrors and windows, intuitive and easy to read controls and gauges, easy ingress and egress, adjustable, heated, and massaging seats, remote-controlled doors and boot (trunk), augmented reality (heads-up) display technology. Many such features are already present as options in high-end vehicles and it is anticipated that such options will become ubiquitous as the market for older drivers matures. Of course, ever-present, is a future of self-driving vehicles that will preclude the need for many such features, but never the need for a comfortable seat.

    Dutta, A., Bhardwaj, A.K. and Rathore, A.P.S. (2019) 'Ergonomic intervention in meeting the challenges of elderly drivers: identifying, prioritising and factorising the ergonomic attributes', Int. J. Vehicle Design, Vol. 79, Nos. 2/3, pp.168–189.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJVD.2019.102336

  • A case study of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the world of Scandinavian opera is discussed in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business. Staffan Albinsson of the Department of Economy and Society at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden contributes new knowledge on the entrepreneurial facets of opera production based on an in-depth study of a dozen SMEs.

    The research was based on structured questioning of initiators, artistic directors and general managers, the entrepreneurs involved in the operatic SMEs. Albinsson's analysis of the survey results shows that opera entrepreneurs follow the normal entrepreneurial processes in their endeavours. However, the work also shows that along the way there is huge variation in the choices made which influence the outcome in terms of mainly regarding the choice of repertoire and its subsequent staging. Albinsson reports.

    Intriguingly, while some of those involved in operatic SMEs had had some formal tuition in entrepreneurship or project management, for the most part, the skills necessary to run such an SME were simply acquired on the job, through trial-and-error experience. He offers seven main conclusions from the study.

    1. Most of the entrepreneurs described both business- and self-centred 'windows of opportunity' for the initiation of their enterprises
    2. All of them were mission- or purpose-driven
    3. Objectives were commonly described as bringing opera to the people or in unusual and/or intimate settings
    4. The entrepreneurs had divergent approaches to achieving their goals
    5. When aspiration and result differed, the entrepreneurs saw "artistic innovation" as being important through the process regardless
    6. The enterprises were all not-for-profit ventures, but economic success and growth allowed them all to put on even more ambitious and attractive performances
    7. The opera entrepreneurs regardless of setting generally followed the patterns of conventional entrepreneurial business.

    Albinsson, S. (2019) 'Sing it out loud! The entrepreneurship of SME opera enterprises in Scandinavia', Int. J. Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vol. 37, No. 4, pp.449–471.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2019.101698


New Editor for International Journal of Reasoning-based Intelligent Systems

Prof. Jair Minoro Abe from Paulista University in Brazil has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Reasoning-based Intelligent Systems.

New Editor for International Journal of International Journal of Postharvest Technology and Innovation

Prof. Abul Quasem Al-Amin from Universiti Tenaga Nasional in Malaysia has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Postharvest Technology and Innovation.

International Journal of Powertrains establishes biennial International Conference on Advanced Vehicle Powertrains

The editorial team of the International Journal of Powertrains has launched the biennial International Conference on Advanced Vehicle Powertrains (ICAVP). The conference's first edition (ICAVP2017) was hosted in 2017 by the Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, one of most beautiful cities In China. The second edition, ICAVP 2019, took place in August at the Hefei University of Technology, Heifei, China. In Hefei there are two cutting-edge areas of research: quantum communication for better future wireless communication, and nuclear fusion for electricity and clean energy. Both technologies will be critically beneficial for future zero-emission connected and autonomous vehicles.

ICAVP 2021 is planned to be held in at Beihang University, Beijing, China. The conference welcomes submissions from both academia and industry on solutions to both the latest and future challenges in the development of, but not limited to, advanced vehicle powertrains, new energy vehicular technology, and vehicular motive powers. More details will follow.

International Journal of Medical Engineering and Informatics increases issues

The International Journal of Medical Engineering and Informatics has announced that it will be increasing issues from four to six from 2020 onwards.

International Journal of Power Electronics increases issues

The International Journal of Power Electronics has announced that it will be increasing issues from four to eight from 2020 onwards.