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  • There is a pressing need in the world of communications technology to nudge users of older systems towards the state-of-the-art. However, educational level, finance, and wariness, often associated with being older, often preclude upgrades for many users. For instance, the current high-end smartphones utilise the fifth generation networks, 5G, having transitioned from the simple voice and "text" system of 2G to faster feature phones and smartphones on 3G and 4G. There remain millions of users around the world who rely on their simple, cheap, and effective 2G phones.

    The problem for the industry is that the network bandwidth used by the 2G networks could be released to the higher-end networks if there were no active 2G users reliant on it. Indeed, in some parts of the world, the 2G networks have already been switched off by the service providers to free up electromagnetic spectrum. This release bandwidth allows for richer, more information-dense transactions in modern systems. Moreover, some providers are hinting at the disabling of even the 3G networks in their regions, which would force phone almost all users in those regions to switch from low-end feature phones to fully-fledged smartphones.

    Older users, reluctant to swap their simple and inexpensive devices for higher-end devices are perhaps not given much credit for their savvy, but the higher-end devices inevitably cost more and come with an expensive service contract as well as greater complexity that older users may not wish to learn to use or simply do not feel they need. If those in poverty are also taken into account, then the need remains for the old 2G networks.

    Writing in the International Journal of Mobile Communications, a team from South Korea has looked at the various factors influencing users whom they describe as "laggards" and why they remain hooked to the 2G system. While the existence of 2G users may be an annoyance to the industry, the needs of those laggards must be considered. There seem to be few perceived benefits to upgrading from 2G to a more modern network for so many older, impoverished, or simply reluctant. Greater costs, massively reduced battery life, and much greater complexity must be offset for users who are uninterested in the features of a smartphone such as web searching, social media, apps, and photos, for instance. The converse, however, is that with improved education, cost discounts, and other incentives, policymakers might persuade the laggards of the greater benefits of smartphone use recognised by many others. This could help with efforts to close the digital divide between demographics.

    The industry and policymakers will ultimately call an end to the 2G system at which point the laggards will either be entirely disenfranchised or forced to upgrade whether they like it or not…assuming they can afford to do so, of course.

    Kim, D. and Kim, S. (2022) 'Why do they stay with 2G mobile communications services in the 5G era?', Int. J. Mobile Communications, Vol. 20, No. 6, pp.659–679.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJMC.2022.10039631

  • An innovative approach to design has helped with the development of an economically viable trauma-response pack for road-traffic accidents in the developing world. The "parachute design" approach has seen proof of principle demonstrated with the trauma pack designed specifically for Namibia. Researchers in Namibia working with colleagues in the UK provided details of the design and development in the Journal of Design Research.

    The World Health Organisation reports that some 3400 people die on our roads each day around the world. Tens of millions of people injured and maimed in road traffic accidents each year. The WHO has targets for reducing this devastation and as such countries such as Namibia, which is referred to as Developing Country with an Upper-Middle Income are an idea environment for the development of first-responder packs that might save lives and reduce the injury toll in a road traffic accident.

    An interdisciplinary team based at the Cardiff School of Art and Design at Cardiff Metropolitan University and Cardiff University's School of Medicine previously worked on two trauma packs between 2012 and 2016, The first, a low-cost trauma pack, was designed for use in rural Zambia and the second extended the functionality of this pack for Europe. The design of the newer trauma kit, the Namibia pack, focuses on the specific requirements and available resources of Namibia to create a low-cost system. Fundamentally, by using a human-centred design (HCD) approach that gathers feedback during development from potential end-users and those who will manufacture the packs, the team was able to most effectively address what the WHO refers to as the "Four As" – accessibility, availability, affordability and appropriateness.

    Clara Watkins, Steve Gill of Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, UK, Gareth Loudon of the School of Design at the Royal College of Art, London, Judith Hall of the University of Namibia, Matthew Carwardine of Grange University Hospital in Cwmbran, and Chen Wen Ngua and John Jackson of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, hoped to make significant inroads into lowering mortality rates associated with road-traffic accidents in Namibia.

    The team makes a significant point about such work and its benefits: "It is important to recognise that collaborating with the University of Namibia, having prior knowledge of the context and access and support from key stakeholders, made the project viable," the researchers write.

    Watkins, C., Gill, S., Loudon, G., Hall, J., Carwardine, M., Ngua, C.W. and Jackson, J. (2022) 'The challenges of parachute design: the development of a low cost, fit for purpose trauma pack for use in Namibia', J. Design Research, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp.1–34.
    DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2022.10050855

  • Most intrusions on our devices and computers through malware, third-party attacks, and other infractions tend to go unreported unless one is particularly tuned into the information security world and knows the procedures needed to get the message to the right people. Research published in the International Journal of Internet Technology and Secured Transactions, looks at how machine learning might be used to automate the process of reporting policy violations on a system.

    Albara Awajan, Moutaz Alazab, Issa Qiqieh, and Mohammad Wedyan of Al-Balqa Applied University in Al-Salt, and Salah Alhyari of JEPCO in Amman, Jordan, point out that computer and mobile devices users frequently face security incidents and violations of their systems and data. They point out that a unified approach to reporting such malicious activity could, to some degree, address this growing problem. They have now proposed an automated client-server citizen reporting system framework based on machine learning techniques that could help.

    The system can classify images a user wishes to use to accompany a report and can be used to report any cyber-crime incidents such as bank account intrusion, credit card fraud as well as phishing and pharming attacks on their devices. Tests demonstrated that the new framework is fast, convenient, and performs effectively and efficiently with different mobile devices using the common Android operating system. Classification accuracy is 95.4% and a prediction time of just 5.30 seconds.

    The team is now optimising the framework as well as investigating how it might be extended to other additional smartphone operating systems such as Apple iOS, Windows Phone, and the Huawei operating system.

    Awajan, A., Alazab, M., Alhyari, S., Qiqieh, I. and Wedyan, M. (2022) 'Machine learning techniques for automated policy violation reporting', Int. J. Internet Technology and Secured Transactions, Vol. 12, No. 5, pp.387–405.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJITST.2022.10048153

  • Chemophobia is rife, often driven by ignorance and scientific illiteracy it fires an activist agenda that can often be very misguided and targeting the wrong issues entirely. An unfortunate lack of engagement in science education and a greater number of policymakers with a non-scientific than a scientific background also feed the problem.

    And yet we rely on thousands of different chemicals every day – natural and synthetic – and in order to maintain our lifestyles, the benefit-risk equations are generally well balanced. There are exceptions to that rule and the serious problems caused by the misuse or the overuse of certain chemicals ought to be addressed. Indeed, there are substances in everyday products that might best be replaced, but for market pressure, and a lack of consumer interest or the very activism that broadly follows the out-dated "all-chemicals-are-bad" trope.

    Rekha Joshi, Aditi Sahni, and Manjary Chaudhary Malik of the Indira Priyadarshini Government Girls P.G. College of Commerce in Uttarakhand, India, consider consumer awareness of harmful chemicals in everyday products. Writing in the International Journal of Business Forecasting and Marketing Intelligence, the team points out that some substances present in everyday products, such as cleaning fluids, represent a serious risk to human and environmental health if misused or disposed of inappropriately.

    A detailed and structured survey of 100 consumers in the Nainital District of Uttarakhand revealed, not chemophobia, but an awareness of potentially harmful substances in a range of everyday products. Concern about those substances was high, although it must be added, perhaps not sufficiently high that the consumers would stop using said products. There is very much a pressing need to improve awareness and understanding of the myriad chemicals used in everyday consumer products. This awareness cuts both ways in that consumers need to understand the benefits versus the risks associated with the products they use. Moreover, it is the consumer that can nudge the market away from those products that use particularly harmful substances to alternatives.

    "The majority of those surveyed believe it is everyone's responsibility to decrease the usage of products that include compounds or chemicals that are hazardous to human health and the environment," the researchers report.

    The commercial world will, for the sake of profits, almost always move to sell alternatives if sales flatline. Given that social media and access to limitless information are available to most consumers, the opportunities for corporate greenwashing are much reduced and this can only benefit human health and the environment if it removes from the market problematic chemicals provided the consumer can maintain their lifestyle with the alternatives offered.

    Joshi, R., Sahni, A. and Malik, M.C. (2022) 'Consumer awareness regarding harmful chemicals in everyday products', Int. J. Business Forecasting and Marketing Intelligence, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp.351–361.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJBFMI.2022.10050479

  • Saffron is the world's most expensive spice. It is made from the "threads" or styles of saffron crocus flowers and it takes half a million or so to produce just one kilogram of saffron. It is a delicate spice with uses in perfumery for its scent, cosmetics for its colour, and, of course, in many different cuisines, such as Indian and Arab, where it can add both gentle seasoning and delicate colour to food. Its history stretches back thousands of years perhaps to Central Asia where wild forms of the saffron crocus would have been known to ancient people.

    Saffron remains a desirable culinary commodity and in modern-day India, almost 6000 hectares are dedicated to growing the crocus for its threads. Most of that land lies in Kashmir with Pompore at its heart and well known as the hub of the country's saffron industry, an industry that produces 5 tonnes of the spice annually. This represents a not insignificant proportion of the world production of 300 tonnes, although Iran dominates with 90 percent of world production.

    Writing in the Journal of International Business and Entrepreneurship Development, a team from India has explored how the saffron industry in Kashmir might be reinvigorated and perhaps take a larger share of the global market. Asifat Shafi and Parvez Ahmad Mir of the Islamic University of Science and Technology in Kashmir point out that saffron from their region is highly regarded.

    The researchers explain that the quality of the product depends on high concentrations of three chemical components – crocin, which is a pigment, safranal, an odorant, and piccrocrocin, which helps gives saffron its unique taste. High-quality saffron, they explain, has at least 190 milligrams per kilogram of crocin, 70 mg of picrocrocin, and 20-50 mg of safranal. They add that adulteration of the product is one of the many problems facing the saffron industry whereby quality is compromised by the addition of inferior ingredients or substitutes.

    In addition, those involved in the industry have seen decreased production year on year, there is a lack of entrepreneurial intention, a less than impressive ability to compete globally, and often a lack of awareness among all stakeholders in the industry regarding the uses of saffron, particularly in the area of traditional medicine.

    The team has surveyed stakeholders in the Kashmiri saffron industry and their findings suggest that the industry might well be revived by cultivating entrepreneurial intention, introducing public-private partnership, and creating awareness among all stakeholders of the potential for a wide variety of products containing saffron. With the governmental development of the Saffron Spices Park and improved distribution channels, the team says Kashmiri saffron has the potential to become a leading global brand. Ultimately, this will benefit the Indian economy as a whole.

    Shafi, A. and Mir, P.A. (2022) 'Revival of Kashmiri saffron industry: an exploratory study', J. International Business and Entrepreneurship Development, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp.243–260.
    DOI: 10.1504/JIBED.2022.10050634

  • In a world where so much information is so readily available to students, educators and student assessors must constantly fight against plagiarism. The time and effort required by an examiner potentially faced with hundreds of essays to check for such problems however small is huge. Semi-automated tools exist for identifying plagiarism in a sample of text but these too take up computing resources and are often unwieldy and more suited to single documents.

    Writing in the International Journal of Innovative Computing and Applications, a team from Australia and Sri Lanka has developed a new computational approach to plagiarism detection that uses vector space and exploits the architecture of graphics processing units and their compute unified device architecture (CUDA) rather than a conventional computer chip, a central processing unit, CPU.

    Jiffriya Mohamed Abdul Cader of the Sri Lanka Institute of Advanced Technological Education Sammanthurai, Akmal Jahan Mohamed Abdul Cader of the South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, Hasindu Gamaarachchi of the University of New South Wales, Australia, and Roshan G. Ragel Faculty of Engineering, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka explain that conventional serial testing of 1000 documents can take half an hour.

    The prototype of their GPU approach improves on that significantly, taking just 36 seconds to process the same dataset and flag any plagiarized sections of text. However, the reserchers further optimized their prototype and were able to reduce processing time to just 4 seconds for one thousand documents. That's almost 400 times faster than conventional approaches. Such speed would be a boon to examiners faced with hundreds if not thousands of student-submitted documents to check for plagiarism.

    The next step will be to test the same approach on text found in other kinds of document rather than simply straight-text essays, including notebooks, assignments, reports, theses, and such.

    Mohamed Abdul Cader, J., Mohamed Abdul Cader, A.J., Gamaarachchi, H. and Ragel, R.G. (2022) 'Optimisation of plagiarism detection using vector space model on CUDA architecture', Int. J. Innovative Computing and Applications, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp.232–244.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJICA.2022.10042480

  • How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the so-called sharing economy? A bibliometric analysis published in the International Journal of Web Engineering and Technology finds the answer.

    There is a growing body of research literature that has investigated the impact of the pandemic on many different aspects of life. Jian Feng and Zhenfeng Liu of the Shanghai Maritime University in Shanghai, China, have focused on the literature published that reports on the sharing economy. They used data from the Web of Science covering the years before the pandemic (2008 to 2019) and the pandemic years (2020 to 2021) to reveal what they refer to as the research themes, scholarly communities, evolution paths, and research hotspots in this developing area of social science.

    Despite the idea of sharing being as old as humanity, the term "sharing economy" was most likely coined only in 2008 by Stanford Law School professor, Lawrence Lessig, although the term may well have been used prior to his work. The sharing economy is now generally understood to refer to those novel entrants into industry and various marketplaces that have disrupted the received wisdom about commerce and occasionally usurped the conventional business models. For instance, organisations such as Airbnb in hospitality, Uber and DiDi in transportation, Gridmates in energy, MediCast in health, WeWork in office work, and MakeSpace in logistics.

    The Shanghai study revealed that four new research themes were updated, perhaps not unexpectedly, including research into COVID-19 itself in the second tranche of research papers. The team explains that COVID-19 affected not only traditional sectors, such as accommodation, tourism, and transportation but also had an impact on luxury sharing, fashion rental, logistics, food delivery, and the festivals industry.

    The team points out that despite the misery, morbidity, and mortality associated with COVID-19 it also represents a transformational point in economics whereby sustainable development goals might be approached more rapidly than in the pre-pandemic era, at least in terms of those companies and organisations in the sharing economy. It remains that the ongoing pandemic is forever presenting new problems and challenges for digital technologies, risk management, supply chain, operation management, and technological innovation among the companies of the sharing economy and their stakeholders. Nevertheless, the inherently innovative nature of such companies means they are quick to rise to those challenges.

    Feng, J. and Liu, Z. (2022) 'A bibliometric analysis of COVID-19's impact on the sharing economy', Int. J. Web Engineering and Technology, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp.170–202.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJWET.2022.10050640

  • One of the great ironies of lockdowns, border closures, and self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic is that medical students, as with so many other people in education, were forced online for their ongoing studies. Medical education, as with many other vocational areas of learning, requires its students to be very hands-on, at least for a fairly large part of the time. Research in the International Journal of Innovation in Education, has looked at medical education in Italy as it was affected by the pandemic.

    Benedetta Agnelli, Silvia Oldani, Valeriano Vinci, Mattia Loppini, Ferdinando Cananzi, Damiano Chiari, and Licia Montagna of the Humanitas University in Milan, and Fabrizio Consorti of the Sapienza University of Rome, discuss how practical activities were relocated online so that students could continue to learn the requisite methodological and cognitive skills associated with medicine. Among those skills are understanding patient history (anamnesis), clinical reasoning, procedural skills, case discussion, and such. They discuss their experience of Professionalising Activities in the form of e-learning and reveal the advantages and limitations so that others in medical education might learn from this experience.

    Professionalising Activities are a vital part of the practical training at Humanitas University and so the pandemic presented many major challenges to the educators there hoping to train their undergraduate medical students to be good doctors. Thankfully, innovative technology at this point in history made it possible, despite pandemic lockdowns, for medical students to continue their training online albeit with some limitations.

    The team suggests that given the situation of the crisis in which humanity found itself e-learning allowed training to be undertaken in such a way that students could improve reflection and self-learning aspects of their education in a way that traditional training did not necessarily facilitate.

    Agnelli, B., Oldani, S., Vinci, V., Loppini, M., Cananzi, F., Chiari, D., Montagna, L. and Consorti, F. (2022) 'Medical education in Covid-19 pandemic: e-learning based professionalising activities', Int. J. Innovation in Education, Vol. 7, Nos. 3/4, pp.193–208.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJIIE.2022.10049290

  • A study in the International Journal of Mobile Communications has investigated what personality traits and demographic factors are associated with use of one of the most well-known apps in China, the instant messaging, social media, and mobile payment app WeChat.

    WeChat was developed by Chinese multinational conglomerate Tencent and first released in 2011. It has more than a billion active monthly users and is often described as China's "app for everything". It has a lot of functionality, which is not uncommon among social media apps, allowing users to swap text messages, make phone calls, carry out video conferencing, broadcast messages to groups, reveal location information to other users, play video games, and share photographs and videos. Apps like WeChat are essentially an always-on digital multi-tool for many people.

    Hua Pang of the School of New Media and Communication at Tianjin University in Tianjin, China, has looked at whether it is possible to predict who might use WeChat based on standard personality traits such as extraversion, neuroticism, and openness to experience as well as their demographic characteristics. Data from a web-based survey of adults in China was subject to correlation analysis and multiple hierarchical regression analysis.

    The findings suggest that extraversion is most commonly associated with the likelihood of WeChat use in men and women, as one might expect, and this was especially true among young users. Men with neuroticism were also inclined to be heavy users, Pang found. Pang also found that older people who self-reported as being open to new experiences were also likely to be WeChat users. The work reaffirms the findings of other studies in this area and points to new avenues that might be explored to look at the subtleties of social media use as it relates to personality and demographics.

    Pang H. (2022) 'Exploring the effects of personality characteristics and demographic factors on WeChat involvement among adults', Int. J. Mobile Communications, Vol. 20, No. 5, pp.590–608.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJMC.2022.10039642

  • Electronic waste is an enormous, and growing, problem around the world, with unimaginable numbers of broken and obsolete devices and gadgets being fed into a waste stream that threatens to become a deluge. Not only is the problem one of waste and loss of rare and costly materials, but many of the materials, the metals in particular, represent an environmental threat if they enter ecosystems.

    Regulations at the national and international level attempt to address the problem of electronic waste with different degrees of success. Research published in the International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management, has looked at the problem from the perspective of Vietnam where it is estimated that more than ten million units of electronic waste are generated each year.

    The study looks at how Vietnam manages its electronic waste under regulations introduced in 2015 on the retrieval and treatment of discarded products and extended producer responsibility. Moreover, it considers how these policies fit into the 2020 law on environmental protection and how the pros and cons of these local regulations and laws might help guide policymakers in other developing nations that are also facing the growing problems of e-waste.

    Nguyen Trung Thang and Duong Thi Phuong Anh of the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment (ISPONRE) in Ha Noi, Vietnam, and Sunil Herat of Griffith University, Nathan Campus in Queensland, Australia, point out that poor handling of electronic waste is a serious concern in terms of environmental health and human health.

    Many developing nations are yet to understand fully the implications and develop laws to allow them to cope. In Vietnam, e-waste has not yet been well defined and much of it still enters the general waste stream. Where it is more appropriately processed, recyclers often lack the understanding or the equipment to handle it properly and to safely extract and retrieve rare and toxic materials. Indeed, so-called craft villages set up to extract metals commonly burn old gadgets, generating huge amounts of toxic fumes and using the most rudimentary of methods to retrieve and recycle metals from those devices.

    The approach must change, policymakers and regulators need to take control of the electronic waste stream, educate those involved in disposal and recycling and encourage them to recognise the benefits and perhaps offer incentives so that safe and appropriate e-waste processing is more widely adopted. The team adds that the developed world needs both technical and financial assistance in this regard from the developed world to ensure its local electronic waste streams don't simply add to a global problem.

    Thang, N.T., Herat, S. and Anh, D.T.P. (2022) 'Current status of e-waste management in Vietnam', Int. J. Environmental Technology and Management, Vol. 25, No. 5, pp.388–405.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJETM.2022.10049448

News

Editor of International Journal of Autonomous and Adaptive Communications Systems wins Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher Award and celebrates journal entering Emerging Sources Citation Index

Distinguished Prof. Athanasios Vasilakos, Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Autonomous and Adaptive Communications Systems, has recently received a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher 2021 Award. The award is given in recognition of Prof. Vasilakos' exceptional research influence, demonstrated by the production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in the Web of Science. As stated by Clarivate, the Web of Science helps to identify that small fraction of the researcher population that contributes disproportionately to extending the frontiers of knowledge and presenting innovations that make the world healthier, richer, more sustainable and more secure.

Additionally, Inderscience is pleased to announce that the International Journal of Autonomous and Adaptive Communications Systems, under the leadership of Prof. Vasilakos, has been indexed by Clarivate' Emerging Sources Citation Index.

New Editor for International Journal of Creative Computing

Prof. Sam Goundar from RMIT University in Vietnam has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Creative Computing.

New Editor for The Botulinum Journal

Dr. Fabrizio Anniballi from Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Italy has been appointed to take over editorship of the The Botulinum Journal.

New Editor for International Journal of Services, Economics and Management

Prof. Natalia Kryvinska from Comenius University in Bratislava has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Services, Economics and Management.

International Journal of Manufacturing Research indexed by Clarivate Analytics' Emerging Sources Citation Index

Inderscience is pleased to announce that the International Journal of Manufacturing Research has been indexed by Clarivate Analytics' Emerging Sources Citation Index.

Prof. Lihui Wang, Editor in Chief of the journal, says, "The International Journal of Manufacturing Research, launched in 2006, is dedicated to disseminating the latest advances in manufacturing research at the levels of devices, machines, processes and systems. The journal is sponsored by the Swedish Production Academy, and after more than sixteen years of valuable contributions from authors, the editorial board, the publisher and the research community, IJMR has established itself as a high-quality publishing venue for researchers worldwide. As Editor in Chief, I am delighted that the journal is now indexed by Clarivate Analytics’ Emerging Sources Citation Index, as part of the Web of Science Core Collection. Going forward, IJMR aims to further advance the state of the art in manufacturing research, in order to contribute to a sustainable and resilient environment for all."