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  • Does the emergence of national democracy lead to economic wealth? Researchers in Hong Kong and the UK suggest that the face pace of change in a new democracy actually leads to detrimental effects initially to a country's macro-economy. However, if the state reaches the well-developed stage, then ultimately it will become democratised without external pressure.

    Writing in the International Journal of Data Analysis Techniques and Strategies, Rita Yi Man Li and Edward Chi Ho Tang in the Department of Economics and Finance, at Hong Kong Shue Yan University, and Tat Ho Leung in the School of Environment, Education and Development, at the University of Manchester, UK, explain how they have carried out research on 167 countries. They used the democracy index, corruption perception index, inflation, population, number of internet users, the balance of trade, foreign direct investment, and other factors to determine democratic state and national wealth. They also included sub-indices such as the electoral process and pluralism, functioning of government, political participation, culture, and civil liberties, to ensure they got a clear picture of each country's specific level of democracy.

    The received wisdom always seemed to suggest that democratization leads to economic growth. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the demise of the Soviet Union are often cited in such discussions. But, the flip side of this is the examples of China and Singapore, which are not considered democratic nations in the "Western" sense where economic freedom and equality do not prevail. It seems apparent that an electoral system leads to the establishment and protection of personal rights and private property, which are often precluded in the non-democratic nation. However, the team has found that with the assistance of the political sector, the economic sector cannot perform at as high a level as it otherwise might and so it is demonstrable that the emergence of democracy can slow economic growth indirectly for a short period at least until it is well established and a nation "developed".

    Li, R.Y.M., Tang, E.C.H. and Leung, T.H. (2019) 'Democracy and economic growth', Int. J. Data Analysis Techniques and Strategies, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp.58–80.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJDATS.2019.096622

  • Rauno Rusko of the Faculty of Social Sciences, at the University of Lapland, in Rovaniemi, Finland, has studied the roots of and the features of smart specialisation associated with brand slogan management. Writing in the International Journal of Public Policy, he explains how the European Union is using the smart specialisation concept in its documents, plans, and regional fieldwork to portray itself as a growth-efficient organisation.

    However, it is obvious that smart specialization is not the sole preserve of the EU. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation And Development (OECD), the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) all utilize this concept, although perhaps to a lesser degree than the EU. Moreover, within the EU itself the concept has been used with greater success in regions within the EU than the EU as a whole. Rusko suggests that the temptation exists to simply see this concept as little more than a slogan, however, its benefits and utility are apparent. Indeed, it is a process in which the EU is the rule maker and gatekeeper for funding innovations and investments in the region as a whole.

    Intellectual reform intellectual was launched to achieve as wide an influence as possible and to enhance competence and to boost regional learning and research and development. Rusko has shown that "The instruments of marketing research, such as brand, slogan, brand management, and brand slogan management, provide incremental value to public management discussions, such as the smart specialisation discourse. " However, although place branding does not necessarily need sloganisation, "It is easy to understand that, if the EU is a brand, then smart specialisation is supporting this brand in a way that is typical for slogans in the business sector," Rusko adds.

    Rusko, R. (2018) 'The European Union's smart specialisation launch and brand slogan management', Int. J. Public Policy, Vol. 14, Nos. 5/6, pp.320–342.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJPP.2018.096665

  • A new research paper in the International Journal of Economics and Business Research uses log-linear models to study the correlation between happiness, employment and various demographic factors.

    Sultan Kuzu of the Department of Quantitative Methods, in the School of Business, at Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey together with Sevgi Elmas-Atay and Merve Gerçek of the Department of Human Resources Management there, explain how unemployment is an important economic measurement. It is studied in the context of a nation's development as well as in a sociological context. Importantly, it is known to be closely associated with welfare, quality of life and psychological health of individuals.

    The team has now looked at unemployment not as an abstract, statistical concept in the macroeconomic arena but from the personal perspective based on "micro" level data acquired from household surveys carried out by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK). Log-linear models were used to analyse the data and these showed clearly that employment is related to a person's happiness and gender and that there is a statistically significant difference between happiness and gender in a developing country such as Turkey.

    Kuzu, S., Elmas-Atay, S. and Gerçek, M. (2019) 'The analysis of unemployment, happiness and demographic factors using log-linear models', Int. J. Economics and Business Research, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp.87–105.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEBR.2019.096588

  • Taiwan is one of the most important suppliers of electrical and electronic products in the world; as such it is itself also an important consumer of those products. This means that the amount of electronic waste, e-waste, generated from information technology (IT) products, home electrical appliances and lighting, is increasing rapidly there.

    Writing in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management, Wen-Tien Tsai of the Graduate Institute of Bioresources, at National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, in Pingtung, Taiwan, explains how he has investigated the regulatory promotion of e-waste recycling in Taiwan. He found that although the annual quantity of e-waste recycling through the implementing agencies seemed to increase more than tenfold from 7,321 tons in 2001 to 74,421 tons in 2015, there is evidence that the recycling market in Taiwan has matured in recent years partly because of the country's ageing population and slow economic growth. Tsai also highlights the case of fluorescent lighting tubes and how mercury can be successfully recovered from these at end-of-life.

    He points out how the waste composition is still shifting as new products emerge in the realm of personalised medicine, electric vehicles, IT products, novel consumer electronics products, and an increased diversity of food products and home electrical appliances.

    We must address these novel waste streams and find ways to recycle such goods, especially those that contain toxic materials, including mercury. Tsai adds that the improper management and disposal of waste or discarded items could lead to significant environmental harm and harm to human health. In addition, there is a need to retrieve from such goods rare elements that are of limited supply such as precious metals and mineral elements.

    Tsai, W-T. (2019) 'Current practice and policy for transforming e-waste into urban mining: case study in Taiwan', Int. J. Environment and Waste Management, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp.1-15.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEWM.2019.096540

  • With every news story, the concepts of data mining healthcare information move higher still up the research and policy agenda in this area. Clinical information and genetic data contained within electronic health records (EHRs) represents a major source of useful information for biomedical research but accessing it in a useful way can be difficult.

    Writing in the International Journal of Intelligent Engineering Informatics, Hassan Mahmoud and Enas Abbas of Benha University and Ibrahim Fathy Ain Shams University, in Egypt, discuss the need for innovative and effective methods for representing this huge amount of data. They point out that there are data mining techniques as well as ontology-based techniques that can play a major role in detecting syndromes in patients efficiently and accurately. A syndrome is defined as a set of concomitant medical symptoms and indicators associated with a given disease or disorder.

    The team has reviewed the state of the art and also focused on reviewing the well-known data mining techniques such as decision trees (J48), Naïve Bayes, multi-layer perceptron (MLP), and random forest (RF) techniques and compared how well they each perform in the classification of a particular syndrome, heart disease.

    The team concludes that in experiments with a public data set, the RF classifier provides the best performance in terms of accuracy. In the future, they suggest that data mining will benefit healthcare and medicine significant for building a system able to detect a specific syndrome.

    Mahmoud, H., Abbas, E. and Fathy, I. (2018) 'Data mining and ontology-based techniques in healthcare management', Int. J. Intelligent Engineering Informatics, Vol. 6, No. 6, pp.509–526.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJIEI.2018.096549

  • Face recognition is becoming an increasingly common feature of biometric verification systems. Now, a team from India has used a multi-class support vector machine to extend the way in which such systems work to take into account a person's age. Jayant Jagtap of Symbiosis International (Deemed) University in Pune, and Manesh Kokare of the Shri Guru Gobind Singhji Institute of Engineering and Technology, in Nanded, India, explain that human age classification has remained an important barrier to the next generation of face recognition technology but could be a useful additional parameter in security and other contexts.

    The team's novel two stage age classification framework based on appearance and facial skin ageing features using a multi-class support vector machine (M-SVM) can classify, the team suggests, classify images of faces into one of seven age groups. Fundamentally, the system examines characteristics of the image coincident with facial skin textural and wrinkles and is accurate 94.45% of the time. It works well despite factors such as genetics, gender, health, life-time weather conditions, working and living environment tobacco and alcohol use. Indeed, accuracy is more than 98% in the first step wherein adult and non-adult faces are distinguished.

    "The proposed framework of age classification gives better performance than existing age classification systems," the team reports. They add that future research will look to improve accuracy still further for use in real-time applications. This will be done through the development of an algorithm for extracting facial skin ageing features and through the design of an efficient age classifier, the team concludes.

    Jagtap, J. and Kokare, M. (2019) 'Human age classification using appearance and facial skin ageing features with multi-class support vector machine', Int. J. Biometrics, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp.22-34.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJBM.2019.096559

  • Sentiment analysis is an increasingly important part of data mining, especially in the age of social media and social networking where there is endless opinion and commentary that could be of use to a wide range of stakeholders in commerce, other businesses, and even politics.

    Now, an innovative and efficient method of sentiment analysis of comments on the microblogging platform, Twitter, is reported in the International Journal of Data Mining, Modelling and Management by a team from India. Hima Suresh of the School of Computer Sciences, at Mahatma Gandhi University, in Kottayam, Kerala and Gladston Raj. S of the Department of Computer Science, Government College, also in Kerala explain how sentiment analysis centres on analysing attitudes and opinions revealed in a data set and pertaining to a particular topic of interest. The analysis exploits machine learning approaches, lexicon-based approaches and hybrid approaches that splice both of the former.

    "An efficient approach for predicting sentiments would allow us to bring out opinions from the web contents and to predict online public choices," the team suggests. They have now demonstrated a novel approach to sentiment analysis surrounding the discussion of a commercial brand on Twitter using data collected over a fourteen-month period. Their method has an unrivalled accuracy for gleaning the true opinion almost 87% of the time in their tests using a specific smart phone model as the target brand being studied. They suggest that accuracy could be improved still further by incorporating a wider lexicon that included Twitter slang, for instance.

    Suresh, H. and Raj. S, G. (2019) 'An innovative and efficient method for Twitter sentiment analysis', Int. J. Data Mining, Modelling and Management, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp.1-18.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJDMMM.2019.096543

  • Online behavioural targeting and device fingerprinting could be used to combat credit card fraud according to a team from Botswana International University of Science and Technology, in Palapye, Botswana. Writing in the International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, Motlhaleemang Moalosi, Hlomani Hlomani, and Othusitse Phefo explain how there are numerous existing credit card fraud detection techniques employed by card issuers and other stakeholders. Nevertheless, billions of dollars are lost each year to fraudsters.

    The team has now combined behaviour and fingerprinting technology to boost the efficiency and efficacy of the fusion approach using Dempster-Shafer theory and Bayesian learning for fraud detection. The approach can spot odd behaviour that is not characteristic of the legitimate user of a given credit card and so detect fraudulent activity on the account. The approach discussed in the paper is at present a theoretical treatise, the next step will be to simulate actual behaviour using synthetic data sets and then apply to a real-world scenario for testing its efficacy. So far efficacy has been demonstrated with data from devices that have already been used in known fraudulent activity.

    The team suggests that their approach goes well beyond simply tweaking existing fraud-detection algorithms and could offer what they say is a ground-breaking approach that performs far better than trial and error approaches and reduces the number of false positives.

    Moalosi, M., Hlomani, H. and Phefo, O.S.D. (2019) 'Combating credit card fraud with online behavioural targeting and device fingerprinting', Int. J. Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp.46-69.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJESDF.2019.096527

  • Throughout human history, certain professions have been commonly peripatetic – the wandering minstrel perhaps a case in point. Musical entertainers who travelled the lands performing for the peasants in return for food and drink and a bed for the night. The modern "minstrel", more frequently known as a pop star might still travel the world, although the remunerative rewards are often grander than a couple of pints and a bunk-up…but not always.

    Researchers in Germany have investigated the ambivalent imaginings that perpetually touring musicians have when contemplating their home and their sense of belong. Writing in the International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, Anna Lisa Ramella of the University of Siegen has looked at touring musicians who spend much of their time "on the road". She has determined that the conventional notions of immobility and mobility are not to be framed as home and away for such people. Instead, they can be more realistically conceptualised as familiar and alien, depending on the individual and their particular circumstances. "The very blurring of the boundaries of movement and stasis enables a shifting of perspectives in which 'home' and 'tour' may be experienced as either a source of stability or transience," she says.

    The findings may well be obvious to the musicians themselves, particularly when one considers the 20th-century songbook and the folk, blues, and rock traditions that tell tales of life on the endless road and finding no place like home. Musicians have always been travellers that "need to do the road" and from ancient times to today, that urge to travel has been driven by culture and economic necessity.

    Of course, throughout the latter years of the 20th Century, the notion of musicians touring to promote their recorded offerings became commonplace. Now in the age of streaming, digital downloads, and file sharing, the money to be made from recordings has dwindled for many musicians and touring and merchandise has become the revenue-generating vehicle rather than the marketing manoeuvres.

    Ramella, A.L. (2018) 'Deciphering movement and stasis: touring musicians and their ambivalent imaginings of home and belonging', Int. J. Tourism Anthropology, Vol. 6, No. 4, pp.323-339.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2018.096361

  • The library continues to play a critical role in academic life, as one would hope! However, in today's connected world, there is pressure to update the conventional paradigms and an urgency for librarians to embrace online social media for the benefit of their users. Writing in International Journal of Electronic Customer Relationship Management, Melissa Clark and Scott Bacon of Coastal Carolina University, in Conway, South Carolina, USA, point out that the library is not only the repository of information sources for students but represents a hub that connects those students to the university.

    The team has now investigated student perception of the role of the modern university library and whether or not following the social media account, or accounts, of their university library improves this perception or otherwise. Fundamentally, they found that "following the library on social media is positively related to a student's perception of their relationship quality with the university; students interested in multiple library services are likely to report the perception of a higher quality relationship with the university.".

    One might consider that today's young students are almost all "digital natives" and use multiple social media platforms regularly and very much on a daily basis. Concomitant with that is the notion that education must be marketed in the modern environment in a way that it perhaps was not in the past: "By tapping into this channel, higher education marketers have a viable outlet that could be used to build a long-lasting relationship with their audience," the team reports.

    The team adds that "Engagement on university social networks is cyclical by nature, as students enter the university, build networks and then graduate." They point out that there is natural attrition and so the university library's social media content strategy must be constantly tweaked to seek out the "freshers", the new students at the beginning of each academic year and to find ways to serve them better while they study and maybe even after they graduate, especially as alumni are often the greatest marketers for an academic institution.

    Clark, M.N. and Bacon, S.D. (2018) 'Utilising social media to improve relationship quality: the case of the university library', Int. J. Electronic Customer Relationship Management, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp.384-410.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJECRM.2018.096247


New Editor for International Journal of Cultural Management

Associate Prof. David Schein from the University of St. Thomas in the USA has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Cultural Management.

New Editor for International Journal of Intelligent Systems Technologies and Applications

Prof. Tao Wu from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in China has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Intelligent Systems Technologies and Applications.

New Editor for International Journal of Earthquake and Impact Engineering

Dr. Erol Kalkan from the United States Geological Survey has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Earthquake and Impact Engineering.

Rotating Editorship for International Journal of Multinational Corporation Strategy

Associate Prof. Joseph Amankwah-Amoah from the University of Kent in the UK has been appointed to take on a rotating editorship of the International Journal of Multinational Corporation Strategy, and will be Editor in Chief of the journal for the duration of 2019.

New Editor for International Journal of Knowledge-Based Development

Prof. Francisco Javier Carrillo from the World Capital Institute in Mexico has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Knowledge-Based Development.