Explore our journals

Browse journals by subject

Research picks

  • This week, Inderscience Research Picks are focusing on a special issue of the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising dedicated to social media influencers.

    Digitisation and globalisation mean that today, a large proportion of the world can access content and opinion in an instant and conversely share their own content and opinions just as quickly. The search engines and the social media apps, are the tools with which real news and fake news can spread quickly often in a viral manner. This ubiquitous and always-on stream of information and disinformation has led to the rise of so-called influencers, people who by wit or wisdom have found themselves to be hubs within the network. Nodes that have many, many inbound connections from the world at large over any of whom they might offer a guiding word, for good or bad.

    Álvaro Lopes Dias of the Universidade Lusófona in Lisbon, Portugal, and colleagues have looked at one area of influence that can have a direct impact on the health and wealth of those being influenced – diet trends. Nutritional advice and the various guidelines we are spoon-fed by governments and food companies may or may not be valid scientifically, it is almost impossible to discern for any given individual, we can only generalize through statistical data. Nevertheless, influencers with an agenda, or worse, with a sponsorship deal may well push certain advice in the name of selling a particular product, whether that's a new supplement or superfood. Any specific piece of advice or finding will not apply to everyone but only to the average and may well be harmful to some individuals in the long rung if adhered to without professional medical guidance.

    One might hope that the influencers would be promoting the healthy option, whatever that might be, but Lopes Dias and colleagues suggest that this is not the case. Moreover, the team suggests that regulations should be put in place to control the spread of fake food news, pointless diets and supplements, and to allow only qualified nutritional scientists to have any real influence on dietary guidance, rather than the latest micro-celebrity or health "guru" to gobble up a large following on social media.

    Vasconcelos, C., da Costa, R.L., Dias, Á.L., Pereira, L. and Santos, J.P. (2021) 'Online influencers: healthy food or fake news', Int. J. Internet Marketing and Advertising, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp.149–175.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJIMA.2021.114334

  • This week, Inderscience Research Picks are focusing on a special issue of the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising dedicated to social media influencers.

    The credibility of digital influencers on YouTube and Instagram is discussed in a paper from Elmira Djafarova of the Faculty of Business and Law at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and Natasha Matson of the Newcastle Business School there. The team has specifically looked at those people who are commonly referred to as micro-celebrities in the realm of beauty on these platforms.

    The team found that for "beauty gurus" trustworthiness is the most important factor determining credibility but the quality of the video and images shared and the "professionalism" of the person's profile is also an important part of the public's perception of a given influencer. In addition, the team found that those influencers using YouTube had the most effect on viewers aged between 18 and 21 years old and was less potent in the older target group, 22-29 year olds. This, they suggest, implies that beauty reference group influence decreases with audience age.

    It has previously been demonstrated that beauty gurus are responsible for all (97.4%) of the conversation and "buzz" surrounding new beauty products. But, there remains a need to understand the credibility and trustworthiness of such people, specifically from the perspective of a company recruiting a beauty guru to assist with a marketing campaign, for instance.

    This latest study offers a cautionary tale for those marketing executives hoping to benefit from the micro-celebrity status of social media influencers:

    Marketers within the beauty industry can take advantage of micro-celebrity influence, but do so carefully to remain credible, especially given the fickle nature of social media in general. They add that beauty brands should not push sponsored content and should instead focus on persuading micro-celebrities to offer endorsements seamlessly through their profiles rather than their content. This, one might suggest, is akin to the classic celebrity endorsement approach. Such endorsements are less questionable to consumers and more likely to be interpreted as credible electronic word-of-mouth whereas a sponsored review or product placement might be perceived as less trustworthy.

    Djafarova, E. and Matson, N. (2021) 'Credibility of digital influencers on YouTube and Instagram', Int. J. Internet Marketing and Advertising, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp.131–148.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJIMA.2021.114338

  • Social media has a lot of pros and quite a few cons. One area in which there is much controversy is in the concept of influencers. People with lots of very engaged followers in a particular niche who can affect the decisions their devotees make in many different areas such as what they spend their money on, their own publicly declared likes and dislikes, their opinions on scientific issues such as climate change and vaccination, and even their voting intent.

    The emergence of the so-called Web 2.0 whereby erstwhile visitors to websites became content creators and commentators in their own right has led to the advent of micro-celebrities, people who find themselves famous in a small area among a group of people for their prowess, wit, or opinions in that niche. For instance, people creating informative or humorous tutorials for video site Youtube, for instance, have found fame and occasionally fortune by demonstrating their skills and teaching others in cookery, makeup, music, and many other areas.

    Indeed, the world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and countless other apps and sites offers a platform for such influencers that would simply not have existed for them in the previous incarnation of the world wide web where content and influence were in the hands of the original media companies and a few start-ups. Today, many of the social media influencers are emerging as celebrities in their own right and finding they can command a position in the mainstream media through newspaper and magazine columns, podcasts and radio appearances and even presenting and acting roles on television and in cinema.

    Inderscience has now published a special issue of the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, to share the latest research into how social media influencers are disrupting the notion of conventional marketing.

    In an editorial to lead the issue Chong Guan of Singapore University of Social Sciences and Eldon Li of Tongji University, in Shanghai, China, discuss the impact of social media influencers over the past decade. "The proliferation of social media marketing, alongside advances in mobile technologies and location-based targeting, has significantly enhanced the capabilities of customer engagement," they explain. This has led to the concept of Influencer marketing which is becoming more contextually relevant with brands and has taken off with this unprecedented connectivity."

    Of course, celebrity endorsements and product placement advertising in the media have been with us for many years. However, what is evolving is the concept of what constitutes celebrity and how, given Warhol's axiom that "everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes", fame is something that is grasped or thrust upon the talented and the untalented almost in equal measure regardless of one's actual proclivity for that worldwide renown.

    The Inderscience Research Picks this week, dated 21-23 April 2021, will focus on a particular paper selected from the special issue including papers on fame and fashion, beauty gurus, food and diet and the impact of influencers in those realms.

    Int. J. Internet Marketing and Advertising, 2021 Vol.15 No.2.

  • Computer-generated images are becoming increasingly realistic to the point that viewers might, with a casual glance, assume an image to be a natural, real image rather than CGI, and now even to the point that deep fakes are credible as natural images to all but the most intense gaze and examination.

    Work described in the International Journal of Autonomous and Adaptive Communications Systems, shows how a forensic method based on a convolutional neural network (CNN) might be used to automate the distinction between natural images and CGI. Min Long and Sai Long of the School of Computer and Communication Engineering at the Changsha University of Science and Technology, and Fei Peng and Xiao-hua Hu of the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at Hunan University, in Hunan, China, have constructed a new network model fine-tuned using a database of 10000 images.

    The proof of principle shows exactly how well this system can distinguish between natural and artificial images. It even works with JPEG images, which notoriously can often suffer from compression artefacts, be scaled, have high levels of visual noise and the effects of post-processing operations that lower their quality and blur the lines between CGI and a digital photograph.

    The ability to distinguish between CGI and natural images has important implications for news reporting, politics, and forensic work all of which are increasingly wont to succumb to fake, falsified, and fraudulent images. The team's approach is based on the Inception-v3 deep convolution neural network and transfer learning. It utilises 2048 dimensions of features in the images, which are extracted by the network for classification to allow the computer to make a decision as to the veracity of an image. In the current setup, this is as high as 98 per cent accuracy for certain types of image. The next step will be to improve performance still further and to perform large-scale experimental tests on its accuracy.

    Long, M., Long, S., Peng, F. and Hu, X-h. (2021) 'Identifying natural images and computer-generated graphics based on convolutional neural network', Int. J. Autonomous and Adaptive Communications Systems, Vol. 14, Nos. 1/2, pp.151–162.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJAACS.2021.114295

  • Chemists Kaushik Sarkar and Rajesh Kumar of the University of North Bengal in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India, have investigated the potential of various natural products of plant origin that might be developed into novel pharmaceuticals for treating Covid-19, the pandemic disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. The team details their molecular docking experiments, absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME), and toxicity studies.

    Since the emergence of the potentially lethal pathogen that causes Covid-19 parallel research to understand its behaviour, to find effective treatments, and to develop vaccines have been underway. Our understanding of the virus and the disease have grown enormously within the year or so since the pandemic was declared. Novel treatments and patient protocols have been developed and old pharmaceuticals repurporsed to treat the worst of the symptoms. Teams are working on dozens, if not hundreds of vaccines, and several of these are already being used clinically.

    However, in the absence of vaccine "security" and global access to such a prophylactic approach to the virus, there remains an urgent need for therapeutic agents. Given the natural product origins of some 40 percent of prescription drugs, the natural world is always a source of inspiration for drug development. The team has investigated known drugs that have been used to treat lung cancer and bronchitis, and as blood-thinning agents. They have also homed in on a range of plant-derived compounds. All were screened against one of the primary viral protein targets, the covid-19 main protease enzyme (PDB: 6LU7).

    Docking studies in which a computer model of a molecule of interest is used to see how well it fits into the active site of the main protease revealed a good fit for the following compounds: disulfiram, tideglusib, and shikonin. Any molecule that fits and binds to the active site of a protein can potentially block or even just slow the normal activity of that enzyme and so inhibit the activity of the virus. The team also carried out ADME prediction studies on those lead compounds. Their success suggests a need to move to laboratory testing and ultimately clinical trials in humans to help in the ongoing battle against Covid-19.

    The team found that capmatinib, dabrafenib, alectinib, afatinib, trametinib, crizotinib, lorlatinib, osimertinib and tetracycline also revealed themselves to be effective inhibitors of the main protease based on overall docking, ADME, and toxicity parameters. Of the natural products investigated paradol, gingerol, and vasicine were seen as most promising.

    Sarkar, K. and Das, R.K. (2021) 'Molecular docking, ADME and toxicity study of some chemical and natural plant based drugs against COVID-19 main protease', Int. J. Computational Biology and Drug Design, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp.43–63.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJCBDD.2021.114099

  • Augmented reality can be used to support children with dyslexia, according to a team from Saudi Arabia writing in the International Journal of Cloud Computing.

    Dyslexia is a well-known and well-studied condition in which people of normal intelligence have difficulty reading. It affects between 3 and 7 people in every one hundred, although up to 20 percent of the population may have some problems.

    Dyslexia is a spectrum condition with the least affected perhaps having issues with spelling or reading quickly while those at the other end of the spectrum may have problems not only with simple reading and writing tasks but also with basic comprehension of the written word. There is no well-defined cause and a combination of genetic and environmental factors may underlie dyslexia.

    Numerous teaching techniques and even equipment such as visual filters have been used to overcome the problem although novel approaches to teaching are the most successful at ameliorating the worst of the problems to some degree for many people.

    Majed Aborokbah of the Faculty of Computers and Information Technology at the University of Tabuk in Tabuk City, Saudi Arabia, is working on different learning scenarios for the Arabic language that are based on human computer interaction principles. In this novel approach meaningful virtual information – audio, video, and 3D environments – can be presented to dyslexic children in an interactive and compelling way with a view to improving reading skills and comprehension. This could circumvent some of the particular issues and complexities facing children with dyslexia when reading and writing Arabic.

    Aborokbah, M. (2021) 'Using augmented reality to support children with dyslexia', Int. J. Cloud Computing, Vol. 10, Nos. 1/2, pp.17–25.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJCC.2021.113972

  • Just-in-time practices could help industry and the economy be rebuilt as countries emerge from pandemic lockdown, according to research published in the International Journal of Services Operations and Informatics.

    As the potentially devastating effects of the rapid spread of Covid-19 early in 2020 and the subsequent pandemic became obvious, governments were forced to implement rules and regulations in an attempt to hinder the spread of the virus that causes the disease, SARS-CoV-2. These so-called lockdown measures involved shutting down parts of many industries, the hospitality sector, non-essential shopping, and limiting interpersonal contact through curfews and rules on social distancing. Unfortunately, various industries have been affected badly having been forced to halt the manufacture of countless products as demand plummeted and moreover people were limited in what they needed and could purchase.

    Surbhi Singhal of the Department of Statistics at Vardhaman College in Bijnor, India, and colleagues have looked at how many suppliers will have remaining inventory to fulfill the renewed consumer demand for products after the lockdown as the world economy resurfaces. They explain how a just-in-time approach to supply could be the most effective way for industries to recover from the pandemic. Just-in-time has been an ephemeral concept for as long as companies have manufactured goods, if not longer.

    The just-in-time idea was implemented widely after the Second World War to allow industry to rebuild more efficiently by only buying inventory, storing and transporting that inventory as it needed it. Moreover, it would manufacture and supply only what was needed when it was needed. The strategy was formalized and used to great effect in the 1960s and 1970s by Toyota. Singhal and colleagues now suggest that the time is right for JIT to be employed widely for the post-pandemic world. They have developed a new mathematical model of JIT that could reduce supply and demand problems with resources, make production more efficient, cut storage and transportation needs, and perhaps even shift the notion of quality inspection to the customer.

    As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, the conventional approaches to many aspects of life must change, at least for the time being. This could offer us a great opportunity if we can recover efficiently and not revert to old, wasteful approaches in industry. Having JIT models in place ahead of the next pandemic might also serve us well and make industry, and society, as a whole more resilient.

    Singh, S.R., Rastogi, A. and Singhal, S. (2021) 'JIT: the best approach after lockdown in country', Int. J. Services Operations and Informatics, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp.75–86.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJSOI.2021.114110

  • The use of small processing modules can significantly reduce overheads on computing systems with limited resources available to them when large amounts of data must nevertheless be processed. Research by a team in Greece described in the International Journal of Web Engineering and Technology shows how that approach can be used for content aggregation, information extraction, sentiment tagging, and visualisation tasks.

    Iraklis Varlamis and Dimitrios Michail of the Department of Informatics and Telematics at Harokopio University of Athens and Pavlos Polydoras and Panagiotis Tsantilas of Palo Ltd in Kokkoni, Greece, have demonstrated how this modular approach might function well on the social media and news analytics platform, PaloAnalytics. The team shows how their proposed architecture can easily withstand the pressures of increased content load when an issue goes viral on social media, such as when a major event takes place. The micro-modules that replace the monolithic architecture of conventional data-processing systems can quickly release unused resources when the content load reaches its normal flow.

    The researchers point out that even from the early days of primitive web crawlers that became the foundation of search engines and other related tools, it was recognized that distributed processing is the only viable way to taming the vast quantities of textual data being generated even way back then. Today, the scale is almost unimaginable with many petabytes of data to be assimilated, aggregated, processed, indexed, and annotated with meaning. The vast realms of the web and social media systems offer us a rich seam to be tapped for information and knowledge if the tools can be built to cope with the bits and bytes.

    The team's tests so far were based on analysis of 1500 websites, 10000 blogs, forums, hundreds of thousands of public Facebook pages, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube updates, across six European nations and in six different languages. Their work shows where improvement might be made to build a powerful analytical tool that would be scalable and allow us to soon mine those enormous knowledge seams efficiently and in an effective way.

    Varlamis, I., Michail, D., Polydoras, P. and Tsantilas, P. (2020) 'A distributed architecture for large scale news and social media processing', Int. J. Web Engineering and Technology, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp.383–406.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJWET.2020.114029

  • Glenda Garelli of the School of Geography, University of Leeds and Martina Tazzioli of the Department of Politics at Goldsmiths University, UK, have investigated migration "containment" in the Mediterranean. They provide details of their findings in the International Journal of Migration and Border Studies.

    The lot of the asylum seeker, the political migrant, is not a happy one. There is an ongoing migrant crisis around the world. The current work focuses on the European perspective where hundreds of thousands of people have over many years fled the country of their birth in the wake of political upheaval and the activities of dictatorial regimes, following serious economic strife, and to escape natural disaster. Unfortunately, the nations within Europe to which the migrants flee in the hope of claiming asylum and a new life are not handling the crisis well.

    Many asylum seekers find themselves trapped at sea on rescue boats that scoop them up from makeshift and unsafe vessels, others find themselves turned back to their homeland where they might face serious repercussions, such as imprisonment, torture, and worse. Garelli and Tazzioli explain that "borderwork" in this region has increasingly focused on smuggling activities to achieve migration containment goals.

    They suggest that there has been a triple-stranded evolution of the politics surrounding containment of migrants in the central Mediterranean, specifically the sea corridor that connects Libya and Italy. The first strand, is the practice of blocking migrants at sea upon rescue, the team refers to this as the politics of migrant kidnapping. The second strand is the statecraft of civil society whereby those who rescue migrants whose boats are in distress become entwined in smuggling organisation by policy so that rescuers find their activities criminalised. The final strand is the way in which smuggling networks are made part of border enforcement practices.

    Fundamentally, these three strands are woven together to the detriment of the migrant. Often rescued migrants criminialised by the smugglerisation of their rescuers are returned home by the Libyan Coast Guard with European support. This means that the nations that would otherwise provide a new home for the migrants need not accept these desperate people nor expel them in "push-back operations". Rescue and capture must be separated to allow those in need a chance of a new life.

    Garelli, G. and Tazzioli, M. (2020) 'Rescuing, kidnapping, and criminalising. Migration containment in the Mediterranean', Int. J. Migration and Border Studies, Vol. 6, No. 4, pp.280–297.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJMBS.2020.113959

  • Could corruption in the nuclear industry lead to a radiological emergency in Korea should it face a major natural disaster, such as the earthquake and ensuing tsunami that rocked Japan in 2011? New research published in the International Journal Business Continuity and Risk Management looks at the worst-case scenarios in the context of apparent corporate corruption that has led to the use of defective components. The current nuclear power inventory is capable of surviving a magnitude 6.5 earthquake and only three plants built since 2013 could withstand damage from up to a magnitude 6.9. Given that it was a magnitude 9.0 earthquake in the region that led to the tsunami that devastated Japan, the research suggests that Korea is not free of danger when it comes to earthquakes affecting its nuclear plants.

    Kyoo-Man Ha of the Department of Public Policy and Management at Pusan National University in Busan, South Korea, has looked at self-interest and all-interest management practices across the nuclear power industry. The local "stakeholders" might be seen as the nuclear power plant operating company, local government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and residents. But, there is, of course, an international perspective too as a major incident at a nuclear power station can affect the neighbouring countries and even the rest of the world if there is a sufficient large disaster that leads to the release of radioactive material into the environment, the oceans, and the atmosphere.

    The research suggests that despite there having been an increased awareness of the potential for radiological emergencies in the context of natural and other disasters, emergency management in Korea sees each stakeholder close to a nuclear power plant insisting on addressing problems and dealing with such emergencies at the individual, local level. This completely ignores the fact that a nuclear incidence is a much bigger problem than an isolated issue to be addressed locally and must be seen as a societal and international issue.

    Ha suggests a new, more encompassing model of emergency management. The new model provides a framework for a broader strategy that can be implemented in a time of crisis where all stakeholders play a part and the detrimental impact on the wider community and internationally might be minimized should the worst-case scenario arise. Greater stakeholder involvement might also mitigate some of the ongoing problems associated with corruption.

    Ha, K-M. (2021) 'Management of nuclear power plant emergency: a case of Korea', Int. J. Business Continuity and Risk Management, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp.52–65.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJBCRM.2021.113948

News

New Editor for International Journal of Applied Nonlinear Science

Prof. Wen-Feng Wang from the Interscience Institute of Management and Technology in India and Shanghai Institute of Technology in China has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Applied Nonlinear Science.

New Editor for Journal of Design Research

Prof. Jouke Verlinden from the University of Antwerp in Belgium has been appointed to take over editorship of the Journal of Design Research. The journal's former Editor in Chief, Prof. Renee Wever of Linköping University in Sweden, will remain on the board as Editor.

Inderscience Editor in Chief receives Humboldt Research Award

Inderscience is pleased to announce that Prof. Nilmini Wickramasinghe, Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology and the International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, has won a Humboldt Research Award.

This award is conferred in recognition of the award winner's academic record. Prof. Wickramasinghe will be invited to carry out research projects in collaboration with specialists in Germany.

Inderscience's Editorial Office extends its warmest congratulations to Prof. Wickramasinghe for her achievement, and thanks her for her continuing stellar work on her journals.

Best Reviewer Award announced by International Journal of Environment and Pollution

We are pleased to announce that the International Journal of Environment and Pollution has launched a new Best Reviewer Award. The 2020 Award goes to Prof. Steven Hanna of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the USA. The senior editorial team thanks Prof. Hanna sincerely for his exemplary efforts.

Inderscience new address

As of 1st March 2021, the address of Inderscience in Switzerland will change to:

Inderscience Enterprises Limited
Rue de Pré-Bois 14
Meyrin - 1216
Geneva
SWITZERLAND