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  • When utilising cloud computing services for data storage and processing there are many issues to consider that might offset the benefits of this off-site approach to one's computing resources, not least confidentiality, privacy, and security. However, there is another consideration – copyright. Might there be ways in which the cloud provider might somehow stake a claim on your data and undermine the normal copyright consideration rules?

    A team in the USA writing in the International Journal of Forensic Engineering and Management discusses the legal issues surrounding cloud copyright.

    Dennis B. Park, Xiaolong Li, and A. Mehran Shahhosseini of the College of Technology at Indiana State University, in Terre Haute, Indiana, and Li-Shiang Tsay of the College of Science and Technology at North Carolina A&T State University, in Greensboro, North Carolina, muse on the idea that someone utilising a third-party file server might somehow succumb to a copyright grab by that third part if the terms of service are not sufficiently well define to protect the user from such interference.

    The team first points out that cloud computing – whether for data storage, data processing, or both offers many advantages to users. It delocalises the burden of computing resources, which is otherwise generally not possible except for users with multiple sites. It allows them to offload many of the information technology demands on to the provider. In addition, hardware and software costs can be reduced enormously as well as precluding the need for the endless update cycles faced by companies and individuals purchasing and running their own systems.

    However, as mentioned, there are also several cons that have to be weighed up against all of the pros. Data breaches at a cloud provider are perhaps the most obvious of the problems a user might face. But, there are more insidious ways in which a user's data might be compromised without a malicious third party being involved – data and copyright assimilation by the cloud provider itself. The team's assessment of the state-of-the-art and the multifarious legal issues that surround data and the use of cloud services leads them to advise putative users to ensure they read and understand any service agreements they make with such providers in minute detail to ensure that the cloud provider gains no rights over any of the user's copyright materials that might be uploaded to the cloud servers or data that emerges from the use of processes at a cloud service.

    Park, D.B., Li, X., Shahhosseini, A.M. and Tsay, L-S. (2021) 'Data ownership in cloud: legal issues', Int. J. Forensic Engineering and Management, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp.125–148.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJFEM.2021.120174

  • The unimaginably disruptive crisis the world is facing in the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented uptake of virtual teamwork. Workers in many different fields are solving problems and doing their jobs together through video conferencing tools and software in ways that were perhaps optional before the pandemic but are now essential Moreover, many of the members of countless disparate teams are collaborating and conversing online when they may well never have even met offline.

    Archana Shrivastava and Pooja Misra of the Birla Institute of Management Technology in Greater Noida, India, have looked into the effect of the pandemic on home-based learning in detail and touch on the parallel world of corporate remote working. The COVID-19 pandemic, as we know, has not been only a global medical crisis but a social and economic crisis. However, there is no history of pandemics that fits with the situation in which we find ourselves today and the tools that are available to us that were not even invented when previous pandemics struck humanity. The team offers details in the International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations.

    The team turned to qualitative methodology for capturing responses related to the pandemic and its impact on the higher education communities, they explains. "Qualitative methods are valuable given their open-ended nature and focus not just on 'what' but on 'how'," the team explains. They add that the method proved to be "extremely useful" given how rapidly the situation surrounding COVID-19 and socioeconomic and educational responses are to it. They were also rather aware that personal perspectives and researcher bias can influence the results that might be gleaned from such studies they made a concerted effort to pursue objectivity in evaluating their results.

    "The goal of our study was…to provide insights for higher education institutions, faculty, education policymakers, and corporate organisations to understand the prevailing situation and formulate suitable long and short-term policies for the attainment of optimal performance in this unprecedented time," the team concludes.

    Shrivastava, A. and Misra, P. (2021) 'COVID-19 and its impact on global virtual teams: exploring the unexplored', Int. J. Networking and Virtual Organisations, Vol. 25, Nos. 3/4, pp.217–231.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2021.120168

  • Companies come and go. Startups start and then stop, Spinouts whirl and then falter. In one part of the world, however, it is not hard to find companies the history of which might stretch back more than a century, sometimes two or three centuries, and in many cases much, much longer. That place is Japan. Most Western countries might boast a handful of corporate entities with great longevity stretching back to the pre-Industrial era, but Japan has an astonishing 33000-plus companies that are at least a century old. Some of them have their foundations built in the 6th Century of the Common Era.

    New research published in International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy mentions how in 2016 Shoko Research listed seven companies with more than 1,000 years of business, but there are two other well-known companies – Nakamura Shaji, which was founded in 970CE and Ichimonjiya Wasuke, which was founded in 1000CE. Of the ten biggest companies in the world, half of them are Japanese, although the oldest is now a subsidiary of yet another Japanese company.

    Yasuyuki Yamaoka of The Open University of Japan in Chiba and Hiroko Oe of Bournemouth University, UK, interviewed the business owners of ten Japanese companies that were established more than three hundred years ago. The team text-mined their survey results to extract the key themes associated with their longevity.

    The team found that there are four key factors perceived by the owners of these ancient companies that feed into their ethos: 'customers and products', 'owner and employees', 'management and business credo' and 'change and risk management'. The team also demonstrated that non-economic values and the perception of the company as being part of the wider community (Sanpo-Yoshi) are also embedded in the mindset of these business owners. The various factors have been the driving force for the companies' approach to business, the researchers suggest.

    "The developed framework will be a guideline for researchers and practitioners to further share the wisdom of long-established firms," the team writes. They add that the work is exploratory in nature at this stage and suggest company size and business sustainability might be examined in research that expands the scope of the present study.

    Yamaoka, Y. and Oe, H. (2021) 'Business strategies of companies with a longevity of 300 years or longer in Japan: a concept model', Int. J. Management Concepts and Philosophy, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp.283–295.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJMCP.2021.120241

  • Might scoring the contents of scientific papers based on semantics and lexicon allow a representation of textual experimental data from scientific publications to be extracted? That is the question a team from France hope to answer in the International Journal of Intelligent Information and Database Systems.

    Martin Lentschat of the University of Montpellier and colleagues there and at the University of Paris-Saclay explain how their approach uses the scientific publication representation (SciPuRe) to describe extracted data through ontological, lexical, and structural features based on the segments in a scientific document. The scientific literature is vast and in many ways readily accessible to experts. However, a substantial amount of the information contained in this enormous space can only be mined, or harvested, for use by those experts, inclusion in meta-analyses or fed into advanced decision-support tools, if it is somehow processed and the data, information, and knowledge extracted into a form that can be used by the available tools.

    The team points out that in the biomedical research domain there has been a lot of focus on how knowledge can be extracted automatically from the published literature because of the nature of the often date-rich experimental outputs. However, in other areas, there has been a lack of tools that can home in on useful information without the need to take prior knowledge and expertise into account. Where biomedical research pivots on big data other areas of research require smart data.

    Big data needs no assessment, no scoring based on content and context, it can be pulled from a publication and processed because the prior knowledge about what the data mean is intrinsic to the data in a sense. To work with smart data, on the other, hand requires it to be assessed so that irrelevant data in a publication can be discarded, the new work points to how this very process might be automated to allow tools related to those used to handle big data in biomedical research to be used with smart data from other less data-intensive areas of research.

    The team's success with the specialist topic discussed suggests that future studies might open up the same approach to other research domains, although whether those are equally as successful will remain to be seen.

    "Experiments were carried out on a corpus of fifty English language scientific papers in the food packaging field," the team reports. "They revealed that article segments are an effective criterion for filtering out the majority of the quantitative entity false positives using lexical scores."

    Lentschat, M., Buche, P., Dibie-Barthelemy, J. and Roche, M. (2022) 'Towards combined semantic and lexical scores based on a new representation of textual data to extract experimental data from scientific publications', Int. J. Intelligent Information and Database Systems, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp.78–103.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJIIDS.2022.120146

  • New work in the International Journal of Economic Policy in Emerging Economies debunks the notion of ever-increasing consumption in China. The topic has been the subject of much debate wherein it had for many years that economic household consumption was consistently rising across the nation. However, the analysis by Kerry Liu of The China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney in Australia, looked at gross domestic product data, household survey data, and retail sales data from a new perspective and concludes that expenditure has been slowing since 2011.

    There has been an inkling that consumers in China have been "downgrading" their spending, choosing lower prices rather than expensive high-quality goods. Whimsically, it has been reported that Chinese consumers have given up their avocados, switched back to the bicycle rather than taking a taxi ride, slinging their cocktails in favour of beer, and cancelling their gym memberships to exercise outdoors as their grandparents did. There have been some conflicting findings such as increasing numbers of vehicle purchases, particularly sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) and some other goods. There are four times as many cars sold in China each year as there are in the great gas-guzzling nation of the USA.

    Liu's findings point to an explanation as to why this might be:

    The main findings are that disposable income plays a significant role in consumption growth; that wealth effects from the real estate market [rising home rental costs] play a significant role in consumption upgrade; and that increasing rent has significantly contributed to the consumption downgrade.

    "In view of the importance of consumption to the rebalancing of the Chinese economy, this study makes significant contributions to the debate on China's economic policies," says Liu. He adds that while some recent government policies have had a positive effect, more needs to be done. "China should improve its monetary policy by balancing the goals of meeting the needs of the real economy and not further inflating asset markets," he concludes.

    Liu, K. (2022) 'The Chinese consumption myth', Int. J. Economic Policy in Emerging Economies, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp.103–120.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEPEE.2022.120062

  • We are, in the pandemic world, even more dependent on online services than we ever have been before, whether as remote workers, those learning from home, or in healthcare. As such, there is an increasing need to ensure those services are protected from malicious third parties and malware.

    New work published in the International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, discusses how the entropy level of critical files might be measured and provided a proxy for determining whether or not those files have been corrupted by a virus or usurped with malware. Tay Xin Hui, Kamaruddin Malik Mohamad, and Nurul Hidayah Ab Rahman of the Universiti Tun Hussein Onn in Malaysia, explain their investigations using "myEntropy" an entropy calculator tool that they have used to examine SQL files, SWF files, and Java files. These three filetypes Structured Query Language, Small Web Format, and Java files are commonly used in a wide-range of online services and can be highly vulnerable to attack.

    The team used 250 sample files to calculate the entropy level for each filetype. They could then discern the average entropy level for each. Thus the myEntropy tool might be developed further to be used to quickly and with little computer resources ascertain whether a file of these critical type has been corrupted or replaced with one carrying embedded malware, which would change the entropy of the file considerably.

    The team suggests that the tool can be developed for the analysis of many other vulnerable filetypes. They add that a user-friendly front-end for the tool might also be developed to facilitate its adoption by those managing digital devices, emerging computing infrastructure such as Internet of Things systems, cloud computing services and so address the growing problem of cybersecurity threats.

    Hui, T.X., Mohamad, K.M. and Ab Rahman, N.H. (2022) 'myEntropy: a file type identification tool using entropy scoring', Int. J. Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp.76–95.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJESDF.2022.120008

  • New research published in the International Journal of Mathematics in Operational Research plots a new route for viral propagation in a computer network.

    Anis Rezgui of Ecole Polytechnique de Tunisie and Carthage University in Tunisia has examined an earlier approach to studying the way a virus spreads through a network and found that approaches based on stochastic ordinary differential equations. A second approach, a microscopic approach based on a Markov chain has many similarities with SODEs but can take into account the interconnections between nodes in the network and so provide a clear picture of propagation.

    Computer security is a multi-billion dollar industry but money aside it is such an important part of the modern world that it must be the focus of much research out of necessity. Rezgui explains that modelling viral propagation through a computer network has been modelled historically in the same way that we model biological viruses, epidemiologically, in other words. There have been two major types of model used, deterministic and stochastic ones each with pros and cons.

    This new work focuses on the latter but introduces a novel approach based on the aforementioned Markov chain, which offers a rigorous way to model viral propagation mathematically. It allows researchers to understand the global behaviour of the network when exposed to malware infection but homes in on the dynamics occurring at each node in the network alone. Such modelling is critical to understanding how a virus spreads and so offers insights into how it might be stopped in its tracks through network analysis. Incorporating a model into an antivirus system might ultimately be able to halt a novel, or zero-day, infection when the viral signatures are not known beforehand and the virus is starting to spread.

    It is perhaps a whimsical notion that such modelling when applied to human society might allow biologists and epidemiologists to spot a new and emerging pathogen, such as a coronavirus, before it spreads widely and to stop infection of social nodes that would otherwise lead to a pandemic, for instance.

    Rezgui, A. (2021) 'A model for viruses propagation throughout networks', Int. J. Mathematics in Operational Research, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp.373–384
    DOI: 10.1504/IJMOR.2021.120036

  • Can small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Africa address the cybersecurity risk adequately? New research from Christopher A. Moturi, Nabihah R. Abdulrahim, and Daniel O. Orwa of the School of Computing and Informatics at the University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya, off an answer in the International Journal of Business Continuity and Risk Management.

    The team suggests that SMEs are key to economic growth in Africa but as many companies become increasingly entrenched in digital and online operations and services, the risks they face from malware and hackers increases. The team has the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework to undertake an in-depth study of selected SMEs to identify the critical issues that are causing those companies problems and to help find solutions that might be applicable to many other SMEs. In Kenya alone, cybercrime is costing SMEs there the equivalent of millions of dollars every year.

    Their work could help guide those very companies to a more secure future but also provide e a roadmap for governments and regulatory bodies. Importantly, the study could be used to raise awareness and instil a security-aware culture across SMEs where that culture does not yet exist. Given that cybersecurity has no unique definition across companies and regulators, it is important that agreement on meaning be made so that risks can be identified and security implemented. This definition must encompass evolving social media, mobile computing, big data, cloud computing, and the internet of things to ensure cybersecurity measures are in place that stay one step ahead of the many threats facing companies.

    "SMEs are in a position to become more resilient even with limited resources by applying the NIST cybersecurity framework within their environment to gain an in-depth understanding of the cybersecurity risk management practices," the team writes. The NIST framework can offer SMEs a strategic approach that may cost them money initially but will save them money in the long term by reducing the risk of them succumbing to security breaches and cybercrime.

    Moturi, C.A., Abdulrahim, N.R. and Orwa, D.O. (2021) 'Towards adequate cybersecurity risk management in SMEs', Int. J. Business Continuity and Risk Management, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp.343–366.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJBCRM.2021.119943

  • The lockdowns, travel restrictions, and remote working and remote learning that became obligatory for many people around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic may have been inconvenient for some of them but they also represented a lesson we might learn regarding how well we can cope without the daily commute. Such a lesson could point us to new ways of working and learning that might even have a reduced carbon footprint, suggests work published in the International Journal of Global Warming. Indeed at the height of the lockdown and enforced remote activity, during the second and third quarters of 2020, carbon emissions fell enormously.

    Aseel A. Takshe, Davide Contu, and Noelia Weber of the Canadian University Dubai, UAE, Jon C. Lovett of the School of Geography at the University of Leeds, and Paul Stenner Faculty of Arts and Social Science, School of Psychology and Counselling, The Open University, UK, suggest that change is afoot. They explain how the various restrictions implemented in efforts to curtail the spread of the coronavirus may have altered our perceptions of effective climate change actions. The team has now surveyed environmental students to see how their perceptions have changed and through their statistical analysis of the results have found four discourses that emerge.

    The first sits well with the notion that we ought to learn the lessons of the so-called new normal and that this could benefit us in slowing climate change. The second is more pessimistic but suggests that we should at least endeavour to not return to pre-pandemic habits. The third discourse from the survey analysis demonstrates that many think economic recovery will have precedence over any consideration of the huge problem of climate change. Finally, the opportunities for sustainability after COVID-19 emerge.

    The team suggests that, in the UEA, at least, projections for lowering carbon emissions could be achieved if the government implements a 'green' economic recovery in parallel with more stringent climate policies, such as abolishing any carbon-intensive investments. They add that adaptation will, of course, be a shared responsibility between governments, communities, and individuals. There is now a need to undertake similar surveys in other nations to determine whether or not similar discourses emerge and to measure the temper of environmental students elsewhere.

    Takshe, A.A., Lovett, J.C., Stenner, P., Contu, D. and Weber, N. (2022) 'Prioritising climate change actions post COVID-19 amongst university students; a Q methodology perspective in the United Arab Emirates', Int. J. Global Warming, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp.120–139.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJGW.2022.120071

  • Researchers in Fiji have used the recently developed COVID-19 based global "fear index" to investigate the impact of the pandemic on nine major Asia-Pacific countries, specifically: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. The results for the period February 2020, just before the WHO declaration of the pandemic status of the disease, to November 2020 are discussed in the International Journal of Monetary Economics and Finance.

    The findings of Keshmeer Makun of the School of Economics at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, suggest that there was a cointegrating relationship between the global fear index and stock returns for the nine countries. This implies that the index has a significant negative impact on stock returns in the short run. In a parallel analysis, Makun also demonstrated how exchange rates and oil prices also affected stock returns during this major global crisis in the Asia-Pacific markets.

    At this point in human history, there are few people who remain unaffected in some way by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. It has killed millions, left many people seriously ill, and disrupted normal socioeconomic activity considerably since its emergence as a global pandemic in early 2020. At the time of writing, many nations are still attempting to control the spread of novel variants of the disease that continue to claim lives and disrupt even the so-called "new normal" of our daily lives.

    The true long-term impacts of the disease remain to be seen as we move towards the second anniversary of the pandemic. From the economic and investment perspective, there remains much uncertainty and rational investors and shareholders might feel in a precarious position as the pandemic continues to unfold.

    Makun, K. (2021) 'Covid-19 based global fear index, economic fundamentals and stock return nexus: analysis of Asia-Pacific stock markets', Int. J. Monetary Economics and Finance, Vol. 14, No. 6, pp.532–550.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJMEF.2021.120031


International Journal of Comparative Management invites special issue proposals

The editorial team of the International Journal of Comparative Management has released a call for special issue proposals for their journal. Details are available here.

Inderscience journals newly indexed by Ei Compendex

Inderscience's Editorial Office is pleased to announce that the following journals have been indexed by Ei Compendex, thus further expanding the range of Inderscience journals listed on this database:

International Journal of Bio-Inspired Computation
International Journal of Business Intelligence and Data Mining
International Journal of Cloud Computing
International Journal of Computational Intelligence Studies
International Journal of Electronic Business
International Journal of Energy Technology and Policy
International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development
International Journal of Hydrology Science and Technology
International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development
International Journal of Knowledge-Based Development
International Journal of Power and Energy Conversion
International Journal of Powertrains
International Journal of Sensor Networks
International Journal of Systems, Control and Communications

Inderscience Editor receives research award from American College of Greece

Prof. Constantin Zopounidis, Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Multicriteria Decision Making and International Journal of Financial Engineering and Risk Management, has recently received an award from the American College of Greece (Deree) for his many research achievements. Constantin Zopounidis is President of Financial Engineering and Banking Society and a professor at the Technical University of Crete, and has developed a multifaceted scientific work in the fields of financial engineering, multicriteria decision aid, operations research, corporate finance and banking management. The award ceremony took place in December at the 11th National Conference of the Financial Engineering Society.