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  • The emergence of new technology always brings with it concerns about the effects it might have on users in terms of physical and mental health. The Internet, and specifically social media, is no different. One worry is that the endless novelty and pressure to engage with social media whether photo, video, or textual updates, is leading to some people using these tools throughout the day and even the night to the detriment of what one might refer to as normal "offline" life.

    New research published in the International Journal of Business Information Systems, has focused on how internet addiction might be measured. Habib Ullah Khan of Qatar University in Doha, Qatar, has worked with Helmi Hammami of the Rennes School of Business, in France, to look at the behaviour of internet users in France. The study shows that what might be referred to as internet addiction has some correlation with the users' age but the picture is rather vague.

    It is difficult, after all, to determine whether frequent and/or prolonged use represents addiction as a healthcare worker might perceive it in the context of addiction to drugs of abuse, for instance. Moreover, the present study seems to conflict with the standard perspectives and concepts in several ways and the team suggests that there might now be a need to re-evaluate theories of addiction in the context of so-called internet addiction in order to better understand how and why such a problem might arise and to see how to differentiate more clearly between regular and frequent use of these tools and what might be perceived as problematic dependency.

    Khan, H.U. and Hammami, H. (2019) 'Measuring internet addiction in Europe-based knowledge societies: a case study of France', Int. J. Business Information Systems, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp.199–218.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJBIS.2019.103075

  • If social media technology is to evolve and improve its utility still further, then we need theory building and a better understanding of user engagement behaviour. These are fundamental to developing future approaches and effective organisational deployment, according to a paper published in the International Journal of Information Technology and Management.

    Rupak Rauniar of the Department of Operations and Supply Chain Management at the University of Houston-Downtown, Texas, and colleagues Ronald Salazar of the University of Houston-Victoria, also in Texas, Greg Rawski and Donald Hudson of the University of Evansville, Indiana, USA, have undertaken a study of almost 400 users of one of the most familiar online social media systems, Facebook. They used the theory of reasoned action to study empirically predictors of intention to engage on the site.

    "Our results suggest that perceived value, social presence, interactivity, and trustworthiness are positively related to the user's attitude towards social media," the team writes. "The research model shows promise for use by managers and organisations to predict and understand the usage of social media in a target population."

    The team points out that earlier studies looking at engagement involved conventional data processing of end-user computing environments and general e-commerce sites. The present study goes beyond such approaches and points the way forward for those hoping to extend engagement among users of social media sites and mobile applications, apps. The next step will be to carry out a similar study with other systems such as Twitter and Youtube to determine in what ways the conclusions from the present research might be generalized.

    "As scientific research in the area of social media is still rare, we encourage practitioners and researchers to seek out new research questions in developing future theories in the area of social media," the team concludes.

    Rauniar, R., Rawski, G., Salazar, R.J. and Hudson, D. (2019) 'User engagement in social media – empirical results from Facebook', Int. J. Information Technology and Management, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp.362–388.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJITM.2019.103051

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


New Editor for International Journal of Reasoning-based Intelligent Systems

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

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

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

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

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

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

International Journal of Medical Engineering and Informatics increases issues

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

International Journal of Power Electronics increases issues

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