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  • Video monitoring of the degree to which roads in the urban environment become waterlogged during periods of enduring, heavy rain, could be used as an early warning for imminent flooding, according to new research published in the International Journal of Embedded Systems.

    Fengchang Xue, Juan Tian, and Xiaoyi of the Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology and Yan Yan of the Meteorological Bureau of Liangyuan District in Shangqiu, China, explain that flood disasters cannot be predicted in a timely manner simply using conventional remote sensing imagery. They suggest that real-time monitoring of predictive markers such as the degree to which the land in a given urban environment is becoming waterlogged would allow a more sophisticated approach to flood prediction to be taken.

    The team has employed an image difference operation and support vector machine (SVM) algorithm to help them develop a continuous monitoring and early warning system for flooding. This could be used to save lives in the face of a significant flood as well as helping reduce damage to buildings and other infrastructure. The team adds that most towns and cities already have video surveillance for crime prevention in place at street corners and on roads. The video feed from these systems of closed-circuit television (CCTV) could be adapted readily for monitoring of waterlogging.

    Xue, F., Tian, J., Song, X. and Yan, Y. (2020) 'Urban waterlogging monitoring and early warning based on video images', Int. J. Embedded Systems, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp.380–386.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJES.2020.110648

  • A new approach to detecting malicious websites, known as phishing sites, is revealed in the International Journal of Internet Technology and Secured Transactions.

    Phishing sites can steal personal information such as logins and bank details, breach your privacy, and even enlist your computer and other internet devices into networks of computers to perpetuate themselves or other malware. Links to phishing sites and pages are often embedded in emails and other communications and disguised as legitimate messages from a trusted source, such as one's bank, utility provider, shop, or other business or organization. They are often very well disguised and even experienced users are occasionally hooked and suckered into clicking such links. Other phishing attacks might exploit hacked websites, banner ads, and even a user misspelling a legitimate website address.

    Now, Youness Mourtaji and Mohammed Bouhorma of The University of Abdelmalek Essaadi, in Tangier, Morocco, and Daniyal Alghazzawi of the King Abdulaziz University, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, have adopted a hybrid framework that allows them to detect a phishing site or page. A positive detection would then be used to block the link before the user is duped into following the link in their application and their data and connection being compromised.

    The team's tests and comparisons with other approaches show over 99 percent accuracy with the hybrid approach that utilizes both a static and a dynamic detection process. This compares to just over 80 percent accuracy with the static or dynamic processes running alone. The process is a lot faster than at least two well-known antivirus packages that have built-in phishing protection.

    Mourtaji, Y., Bouhorma, M. and Alghazzawi, D. (2020) 'New hybrid framework to detect phishing web pages, based on rules and variant selection of features', Int. J. Internet Technology and Secured Transactions, Vol. 10, No. 6, pp.740–757.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJITST.2020.110581

  • The global economic situation in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic is becoming one of the deepest social crises the world has ever experienced. In the International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, researchers discuss how technology and innovation might be used to make the society and the economy resilient to the trauma.

    Fernando Santiago of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization UNIDO) in Vienna, Austria, and colleagues suggest that the lessons of history must be learned and now is the time to advocate coordination, cooperation, and investment in science, technology, productive and innovative capabilities. These are all the essential strategic ingredients for facing the problem and building resilience, they suggest. This is especially the case for developing nations, the team adds. Comprehensive and coordinated policies are critical to our response in those countries as with the wider world.

    The team writes that "The COVID-19 pandemic is punishing countries that have failed to invest adequately in healthcare systems, particularly issues related to governance, infrastructure, human resources and research." They add that "As economies begin to reopen, governments should ensure that recovery plans focus more on vital public health structures and how these are supported. This means coming up with innovative solutions and redesigning global supply chains to improve their resilience and transform health challenges into longer-term industrial development opportunities, particularly in developing countries."

    At the time of writing, the pandemic is still very much with us and while the need to "reopen" economies is an increasingly pressing issue there remains the threat of a lethal, uncontrolled virus continuing to wreak havoc on lives and healthcare systems. Of course, science and innovation will underpin the very medical response we need to make directly to the virus if we are to overcome it and reopen beyond a new-normal.

    "The COVID-19 pandemic and its rippling socio-economic effects have also accentuated the need for actively revitalising the role of industrial development and productive and innovative capability development," the team writes. Innovation and development exist as a symbiotic relationship we would do well to remember that as we work our way through the pandemic.

    Santiago, F., De Fuentes, C., Peerally, J.A. and Larsen, J. (2020) 'Investing in innovative and productive capabilities for resilient economies in a post-COVID-19 world', Int. J. Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp.153–167.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJTLID.2020.110623

  • Carbon monoxide is an insidiously toxic gas. It can pervade an enclosed space and causes drowsiness and at sufficiently high concentration is lethal to anyone breathing it. As such, there is a need for efficient and fast-reacting carbon monoxide sensor devices in a variety of industrial, commercial, and domestic settings. Devices are available but a new approach is discussed in the International Journal of Microstructure and Materials Properties that utilises the chemistry of a twin film of molybdenum(VI) oxide and indium(III) oxide layers.

    Physicists Nimba Kothawade and Arun Patil of the Arts, Science and Commerce College, and Vikas Deshmane of the SICES Degree College in Maharashtra, India, prepared thin films of MoO3-In2O3 using the spray pyrolysis technique on a glass substrate at 400 degrees Celsius. They characterised their film using X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy.

    Once confident of their materials, the team then tested the electrical properties of their various formulations. They found that the resistivity of the films increased with MoO3 as the dopant in In2O3. They found a maximum resistivity of 1.75 × 104 ?m for 0.3N (MoO3) and 0.1N (In2O3) binary oxide films.

    They then tested the dual films gas-sensing characteristics against five different target gases. The film composition ratio 0.3N:0.1N films had 70.50% sensitivity to 300 parts per million (ppm) of carbon monoxide gas at 150 degrees Celsius with high selectivity. The response time, the team reports was 15 seconds and recovery time was just 25 seconds.

    Kothawade, N.B., Deshmane, V.V. and Patil, A.V. (2020) 'MoO3:In2O3 binary oxide thin films as CO gas sensor', Int. J. Microstructure and Materials Properties, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp.229–241.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJMMP.2020.110525

  • Does going green pay off? Research published in the World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development hopes to answer that question from a sustainability performance perspective.

    Environmental concerns are changing not only the natural landscape but the economic world too. There is a need to understand how so-called stakeholders can influence and affect the commercial and business world in efforts to address environmental concerns including climate change and fossil fuels, plastic and other pollution, as well as food and water security, and resilience to natural disasters. Moreover, the push to "green" the commercial world is driven by marketing as with anything commercial.

    Husna Ara, Jasmine Ai Leen Yeap, and Siti Hasnah Hassan of the Universiti Sains Malaysia, in Pinang, explain that worldwide organisations have begun to embrace the concept of sustainability and moved towards environmental strategies to this end. The team's review found that investing in green marketing does not have an immediate positive impact on commercial success despite the growing awareness among consumers of a multitude of environmental concerns. However, it feeds a company's sustainability agenda and they suggest that by improving environmental and social performance economic benefits will be gleaned while concomitantly helping to address many of the issues we face globally.

    Ara, H., Yeap, J.A.L. and Hassan, S.H. (2020) 'Does going green really pay off? A sustainability performance view', World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 16, No. 5, pp.519–537
    DOI: 10.1504/WREMSD.2020.110464

  • What impact does a person's proficiency in English as a second language have on their health and economic integration when they settle in the USA? That's the sensitive issue addressed in new research published in the International Journal of Economics and Business Research.

    Ibrahim Niankara of the College of Business at Al Ain University in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates has used the statistical technique of Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) estimation to analyse annual earnings and medical care spending for a representative sample of data on immigrant families from the US National Health Interview Surveys (NHIS). There is, the research suggests, a negative correlation, as one might expect. Among immigrants, increased English language proficiency improves earnings propensity and reduces medical care spending.

    Niankara points out that according to the United Nation's International Organization for Migration, the number of refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people across various regions of the world has increased dramatically in recent years. Numbers are in the hundreds of millions and rising with each passing year. He suggests that "policies aimed at raising immigrants' families English language proficiency in the USA would not only contribute to their effective socio-economic integration but also strengthen the US workforce and economy in the long run."

    Niankara, I. (2020) 'The role of English language proficiency on immigrants' health and economic integration in the USA', Int. J. Economics and Business Research, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp.255-287.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEBR.2020.110445

  • The walking style, or gait, of women in the third trimester of pregnancy changes significantly from that seen in the earlier steps of the pregnancy and is markedly different from that observed in women who are not pregnant. The adaptations are assumed to be in response to the changing weight, posture and balance of the women at that stage. Understanding the changes could be used to help design footwear or physiotherapy to reduce pain caused by the attendant joint redistribution.

    Research published in the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology discusses the study of gait in pregnancy and offers insights into the problems that arise and how they might best be avoided.

    Yang Song, Minjun Liang, and Wenlan Lian of the Human Movement Research Center in the Faculty of Sports Science at Ningbo University in Zhejiang, China, examined the walking gait of pregnant and non-pregnant women using foot kinematics and the Oxford foot model. Three-dimensional motion of the forefoot, hindfoot and tibia during walking were recorded using a Vicon motion analysis system and two force platforms were used to record the ground reaction force.

    Pregnant women "demonstrated greater plantar flexion and internal rotation of hindfoot and internal tibial rotation during initial contact, greater forefoot eversion and hindfoot external rotation during push off," the team writes. "Moreover, pregnant women showed greater external tibial rotation than non-pregnant women during toe off and the centre of pressure trajectory moved to the second to third metatarsal at this stage."

    Such detailed findings might help guide physiotherapy if the changes are causing pain or perhaps guide the design of specific footwear or supportive equipment in extreme cases to ameliorate pain and discomfort and reduce the risk of injury or persistent damage to joints.

    Song, Y., Liang, M. and Lian, W. (2020) 'A comparison of foot kinematics between pregnant and non-pregnant women using the Oxford foot model during walking', Int. J. Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp.20–30.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJBET.2020.110335

  • How rapidly does a learning curve decline during a period of prolonged interruption? That's the question asked by US researchers in the International Journal of Quality Engineering and Technology. Adedeji Badiru of the Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton, Ohio, USA, has specifically looked at how the "lockdown" response to the global Covid-19 pandemic has affected business, industry, academia, and government.

    There is perhaps insufficient "live data" to draw solid conclusions. Badiru has nevertheless found that workers, as a result of being barred from practising their normal functions and learning on the job, have experienced a decline in performance. The restrictive nature of lockdown implemented to reduce the spread of the virus has led to performance degradation.

    He has postulated an analytical framework that researchers can use as new data emerges to allow empirical modelling of the adverse impacts of the lockdown on learning curves. The inherent concern with such adversity in the face of the global pandemic is that a decline in learning can translate to a decline in quality of work and quality of products. He suggests retrospective research might now follow in the wake of his IJQET column.

    Badiru, A. (2020) 'Quality insight: exponential decay of quality learning curves during COVID-19 lockdown', Int. J. Quality Engineering and Technology, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp.106–117.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJQET.2020.110328

  • The rush to urbanisation is inevitably characterised by more and more city dwellers. As population densities increase old infrastructure becomes less effective, less efficient. Air and water quality are compromised, public waste management is over-burdened, and the cities become decreasingly dependent on non-renewable energies and unsustainable systems. There is little time, capacity or resources available to ensure the growth takes into account environmental factors and addresses the issue of quality of life for those city dwellers.

    The notion of a smart city might sound quite futuristic but there is an urgency now to face the problems of urbanisation with smart tools and systems rather than clinging to archaic ways. Smart cities could ultimately help us reduce road traffic congestion through improved public transport systems while the digitalisation of many public services would improve management of resources and waste in ways that have not been possible before.

    Research published in the International Journal of Environmental Policy and Decision Making has assessed the state-of-art definitions of the so-called smart city and offers a critical reflection of this paradigm for urban growth. Gabriella Arcese and colleagues at the Università degli Studi Niccolò Cusano in Rome, Italy, have analysed smart city best practices in pioneering cities in Italy (Bologna, Florence, Milan) and Germany (Hamburg, Karlsruhe, Leipzig) that have core dimensions of technology, community, and policy.

    The team has identified the advances various smart city efforts have made as well as their shortcomings so far.

    "Sustainable and safe neighbourhoods, building safety, co-working, waste management; health and welfare, through the optimisation of processes and business intelligence, e-care, e-health; education and technical education, through the development of smart city projects should be included in the development model," they suggest.

    Arcese, G., Schabel, L., Elmo, G.C. and Risso, M. (2019) 'Smart city in Europe: comparative analysis between Italy and Germany development', Int. J. Environmental Policy and Decision Making, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp.330–359.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEPDM.2019.110329

  • Researchers in India have analysed financial data from the quarter immediately before the first public reports of the emergence of a new potentially lethal coronavirus, now identified as SARS-CoV-2, the cause of Covid-19. They have compared this final quarter of the year 2019 with the first quarter of 2020 as the virus spread around the world and was declared an international pandemic.

    Amalendu Bhunia of the Department of Commerce at the University of Kalyani, and Soumya Ganguly of the Department of Commerce at Barrackpore Rastraguru Surendranath College both in West Bengal, India, have looked at the daily time-series data obtained from the "yahoo.finance" database looking at eight stock markets. They used various statistical tools, descriptive statistics, the GARCH model, the EGARCH model, and the TGARCH model to examine financial volatility immediately before and immediately after the recognition of the virus as a major threat to human health. The team provides details of their study in the International Journal of Financial Services Management.

    The team found from their descriptive statistics results that Germany and Indian stock prices were the most volatile and those in the UK the least prior to Covid-19. During the initial three months of the Covid-19 period, stock markets in Italy and Spain were more volatile than those of the USA and Russia. The data also reveals a leveraging effect alongside volatility that leads to spillover from one stockmarket into another. The work points to how investors might ensure greater resilience in the wake of bad news on a global scale.

    Bhunia, A. and Ganguly, S. (2020) 'An assessment of volatility and leverage effect before and during the period of Covid-19: a study of selected international stock markets', Int. J. Financial Services Management, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp.113–127.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJFSM.2020.110224

News

New Editor for International Journal of Built Environment and Asset Management

Dr. Jian Sun from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the USA has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Built Environment and Asset Management.

New Editor for International Journal of Mining and Mineral Engineering

Prof. S.J. Jung from the University of Idaho in the USA has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Mining and Mineral Engineering.

New Editor for International Journal of Migration and Border Studies

Associate Prof. Sasha Baglay from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Canada has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Migration and Border Studies.

New Editor for International Journal of Nuclear Knowledge Management

Dr. John W. Roberts from the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Nuclear Knowledge Management.

New Editor for International Journal of Behavioural Accounting and Finance

Dr. Matteo Rossi from the University of Sannio in Italy has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Behavioural Accounting and Finance.