2023 Journal news

International sporting events like the football world cup or the aquatics championships rely heavily on media coverage to capture the action and share it with the world. But what about the experience of the journalists who bring these stories to life?

A study in the International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing delves into the often-overlooked perspective of media professionals. The study looks at how the quality of services they experience at these events shapes their satisfaction and, ultimately, their portrayal of the event and its host city or country.

Bo Li and Jerred Junqi Wang of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, USA, Olan K.M. Scott of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, and Sang Keon Yoo of Sangmyung University in Seoul, South Korea surveyed more than 200 sports journalists who attended two major, international sporting events. They found three key factors influencing the service quality journalists experience. The first is reliable information, the second is positive interactions with event staff, and the third is convenient hours of access and operations. When these needs are met, it improves overall satisfaction and that translates into positive reporting and so positive outcomes for the event and the hosts.

It might be said that happy journalists are more likely to represent the host city or nation more positively in their reporting. This can influence the perceptions of millions of viewers and readers around the globe. They might also help the spread of positive word-of-mouth recommendations about the place and this can even have an influence not only on tourism but the future bids of that city or nation for other sporting events. Satisfied journalists also, the team found, tend to focus their coverage on the positive aspects of the event and failures or downsides are less likely to make the headlines, unless they are particularly stand out and newsworthy. The highlighting of successes will then contribute to a more favourable narrative overall.

The researchers point out that journalist satisfaction goes way beyond simply ensuring they have access to press conferences and Wi-Fi. There is a need for them to feel part of the event's team or at least to be treated as valued guests rather than an inconvenience getting in the way of the sport. Providing the sports journalists with clear and timely information as well as fostering friendly and helpful interactions can only benefit the event and those associated with it, the research suggests. Indeed, by investing in media service quality, event organizers can cultivate valuable allies who can amplify the event's positive impact and leave a lasting legacy that extends from starting pistol to the final whistle.

Li, B., Wang, J.J., Scott, O.K.M. and Yoo, S.K. (2024) 'When journalists are consumers: examining effects of media service quality on media members' behavioural intention', Int. J. Sport Management and Marketing, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp.1–22.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2024.135630

Many of us carry a mobile phone much of the time. The term is increasingly something of a misnomer. While these portable devices may well have their origins in allowing us to make phone calls wherever we happen to be, they are, to all intents and purposes, multitasking personal computers.

Indeed, the so-called mobile phone, and in particular the smartphone, is seemingly used less and less as a device through which people might have a conversation. It is used more and more as a tool for accessing social media and social networks, taking and sharing photos and videos, watching and listening to streaming video and audio content, navigation, and many other applications that have little to do with talking.

Writing in the International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, a team from Iran has looked at mobile phone use on attention, reaction time, and the working memory of office workers. Fatemeh Sharmandemola, Gholamhossein Halvani, Sara Jambarsang, and Amir Houshang Mehrparvar of the Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences in Yazd, Iran, hoped to discover whether mobile phone use has an impact on cognitive function.

The team investigated mobile phone use among 132 office workers in a cross-sectional analysis using Wechsler and Stroop tests to measure any impact of mobile phone habits at work or before sleep on working memory, attention, and response time. They found that participants spent about 50 minutes using their device for phone conversations on average but almost two and a half hours using social networks throughout the day and night.

The team reports that as the duration of mobile phone conversations increased, there was a notable decrease in memory recall scores. Extended use of mobile phones for social networking at work was also associated with increased interference time and a decrease in reverse memory. Office workers who use mobile phones for more than 2 hours each day showed what they describe as a significant decline in memory recall scores. The implications are perhaps obvious: irrespective of the benefits of mobile phone use, we should be aware of the potential detrimental effects it might have on our brains when used so much.

As with many such studies, the team acknowledges that there are limitations to the work and the interpretation of their results should be examined carefully. Larger-scale studies and a more diverse cohort is now needed to allow generalisation to be made. Nevertheless, we should be mindful of the potential for harm. Individuals, especially office workers, hooked to their mobile phones for several hours each day should be aware that there may be risks to memory and cognition with prolonged use.

Sharmandemola, F., Halvani, G., Jambarsang, S. and Mehrparvar, A.H. (2023) 'Effect of mobile phone use on attention, reaction time and working memory of office workers', Int. J. Human Factors and Ergonomics, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp.350–362.
DOI: 10.1504/IJHFE.2023.135466

A study in the International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics has revealed the impact of circadian rhythm on driving fatigue in morning types, "larks", as opposed to "night owls" with a particular focus on the post-prandial lunchtime dip.

Morning types, often referred to as "larks," exhibit a natural inclination to rise early and be most alert and productive during the early part of the day, in contrast to "night owls" who tend not to awaken early and peak in the later hours and often well into the night. The study by an Indonesian team has investigated the combined effects of task-related factors and the 'post-lunch dip' on morning-type individuals during simulated driving and has uncovered key insights into the dynamics of driving fatigue.

Kadek Heri Sanjaya of the National Research and Innovation Agency in Bandung, Auditya Purwandini Sutarto of the Universitas Qomaruddin in East Java, and Kristiana Asih Damayanti and Natasha Hadi of the Universitas Katolik Parahyangan in Bandung, Indonesia, undertook a study with twelve male participants identified as morning types. They gave them simulated driving tasks both before and after lunch. The team hoped to address an existing gap in the literature, particularly concerning the impact of monotonous driving environments on fatigue and performance within the morning chronotype group.

The researchers found that there was a significant influence of the 'post-lunch dip', which is a well-known increase in sleepiness following lunch, on reaction times, alertness, and self-reported fatigue among morning types. The team suggests that the phenomenon might be attributed to the body's natural circadian rhythm and the post-prandial state, underscoring the challenges morning individuals face as the day progresses.

Somewhat paradoxically, the received wisdom that suggests time spent driving and an interaction between sleep- and task-related factors should have a significant impact, this was not observed with the volunteer morning-types. The team explains that in their study post-prandial driving fatigue in the afternoon was influenced in the morning-types as a result of circadian rhythm factors rather than the duration of the driving task.

The researchers acknowledge that the small-scale of their study limits how the results might be generalised until a bigger study with an improved design is undertaken. Nevertheless, it contributes new insights into the nuanced factors influencing driving fatigue and performance in this chronotype group. The team says that it is important to consider both chronotype and time of day when developing theoretical models of driving behaviour and developing road safety measures to reduce the number of vehicle accidents.

Sanjaya, K.H., Sutarto, A.P., Damayanti, K.A. and Hadi, N. (2023) 'Morning chronotypes and post-lunch dip: an investigation of driving fatigue in well-rested subjects', Int. J. Human Factors and Ergonomics, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp.417–436.
DOI: 10.1504/IJHFE.2023.135478

Researchers have developed an innovative method for detecting harmful organophosphorus (OP) chemicals, presenting a significant advancement in environmental monitoring for pesticide contaminants. They provide details in the International Journal of Intelligent Enterprise.

With the escalating impact of agriculture and industrialization on the environment, there is an increasing need for effective detection of environmental contaminants. Sumit Mor, Saveena Solanki, and Vikas Dhull of the Maharshi Dayanand University in Haryana, India, have used an interesting approach to creating sensors with a specific focus on monitoring these compounds. The team synthesized nanoparticles and modified a screen-printed gold electrode by layering a mixture of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) and single-walled carbon nanotubes (c-SWCNTs) to form ZnO NPs/c-SWCNTs/SPAuE.

The team adds that the integration of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which is affected by organophosphorus compounds on to the modified electrode, along with the application of cellulose acetate to prevent enzyme leaching and electrode fouling, gave them a highly efficient biosensor for detecting organophosphorus compounds in a range of samples. The researchers demonstrated rapid response times of less than 14 seconds. The sensor is reusable and remains stable in storage thanks to the protective cellulose acetate layer.

The practical implications of this strategy could go beyond environmental monitoring. The biosensor could be used for on-site analysis. It could also be adapted to detecting other contaminants from the food and textiles industries, and even in medical diagnostics.

As the world population grows, its impact on the environment intensifies. This research represents a step towards improving environmental monitoring, which would improve our management and control of these important chemicals to safeguard the environment and vulnerable ecosystems as well as human health.

Mor, S., Solanki, S. and Dhull, V. (2024) 'An intelligent pesticide screening strategy using screen-printing technology', Int. J. Intelligent Enterprise, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp.57–72.
DOI: 10.1504/IJIE.2024.135442

One of the many problems faced by a wide range of photographers in wildlife, sports, celebrity and theatrical photography, and even industrial testing and medical photography is the issue of motion blur. This occurs when the subject is moving and the camera's shutter speed is too slow to "freeze" the action. There are approaches that anyone processing photographs can take to reduce the distortion known as motion blur and there is some software that can reduce the effect considerably. However, there is always room for improvement.

Research published in the International Journal of Cybernetics and Cyber-Physical Systems introduces a sophisticated algorithm, the SRN algorithm of feature fusion. This algorithm has been designed to address the complex issue of image motion blur. The algorithm developed by Junjia Bi, Lingxiao Yang, Jingwen Zhang, and Jianjun Zhang of the School of Electrical Engineering and Automation at Henan Polytechnic University in Jiaozuo, Henan, China, takes a comprehensive approach to improving deblurring performance by incorporating several innovative techniques.

The study's first key component is the attention residual module, strategically designed to enhance channel attention between residual units. This addition aims to improve the model's ability to extract features from input data, the digital image. This is crucial for mitigating the effects of motion blur in a photograph. The team then builds on this approach using a feature pyramid structure to strengthen the network's representation capabilities, enabling the model to capture details at various scales.

With this in place, the system then enhances the deblurring effect by using a multi-scale coordinate attention feature fusion structure. This component refines the model's ability to recover detailed textures, especially when tested on foreign object datasets. The results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm, with a peak signal-to-noise ratio approaching 34.72 dB and a Structural Similarity Index of 0.97.

The researchers have tested their algorithm by optimizing the loss function, focusing on discrete points. This optimization improves the model's stability and expands its applicability in real-world scenarios. An evaluation of deblurring of images from the GOPRO dataset highlights the algorithm's superiority compared to other methods, the team reports. When applied to foreign object datasets, the algorithm exhibits a substantial improvement in both PSNR and SSIM metrics, indicating superior performance in detailed texture recovery.

Motion deblurring can help photographers rescue images that would otherwise be unusable in a wide range of settings. Beyond the obvious areas of photography, such as wildlife and sports, deblurring could help improve surveillance imaging and image gathering by autonomous vehicles and robots.

Bi, J., Yang, L., Zhang, J. and Zhang, J. (2023) 'Image deblurring method based on feature fusion SRN', Int. J. Cybernetics and Cyber-Physical Systems, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp.234–245.
DOI: 10.1504/IJCCPS.2023.133728

With urbanization on the increase, a study focusing on Xigu Park in Tian Jin, China, explores the potential of urban parks to slow the rise of mental health problems faced by many city dwellers. Ultimately, a better understanding of the positive impact of city parks could help in urban planning and design, which could be crucial for the well-being of the urban population as our cities become increasingly dense.

The research, published in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution, is based on a survey of 226 park users. It used correlation analysis and multiple correspondence analysis to uncover the connections between park activities, environmental perception, and emotional recovery, particularly emphasizing their impact on a person's life happiness.

Xuan Li, Dan Xie, Xin Zhang, Guoying Hou of HeBei University of Technology in Tian Jin found that engaging in park activities can alleviate stress and amplify positive emotions. This, they suggest, contributes to an enhanced sense of life satisfaction. The team points out that individuals with higher happiness levels seem more aware of their environment and this creates a cycle of positive reinforcement as increased happiness fosters greater interest in park activities, which leads to a more relaxed atmosphere and improved emotional recovery and so on.

The team also looked at the influence of residents' well-being on park activities, environmental perception, and emotional recovery. By analyzing activity types, regional preferences, and environmental perception among residents, the research also showed that prolonged park stays correlated with greater happiness.

Life well-being emerges as a crucial factor affecting emotional recovery in park activities, with distinct effects in groups with high and low life satisfaction. Successful fellows with high life happiness are more likely to experience positive emotions, while individuals with lower life happiness not only struggle to experience positive emotions but also exhibit physical symptoms arising from anxiety and other mental health issues.

The team points out that additional work will be needed to examine the phenomenon further. It will be important to understand how respondents who reported above-average life happiness levels fit into the bigger picture. They suggest that future research could use more advanced techniques incuding computer simulations and physiological sensor measurements to more precisely quantify environmental characteristics, human perceptions, and emotional recovery effects.

Li, X., Xie, D., Zhang, X. and Hou, G. (2023) 'Study on the influence of residents' well-being on the use of urban parks and emotional recovery under air pollution environment', Int. J. Environment and Pollution, Vol. 72, No. 1, pp.70-85.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEP.2023.135421

A study in the International Journal of Business Information Systems has looked at the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on digital marketing. The researchers provide a pragmatic view of the future of this area of marketing and focus on what they describe as the tangible benefits offered by AI solutions.

The research itself was designed to accelerate the adoption of AI technologies in the rapidly evolving digital marketing landscape and employs a comprehensive approach, incorporating surveys, exploration of existing AI solutions, and in-depth analysis of the results obtained.

The term AI has been applied to many different aspects of study over the decades. Initially, it perhaps alluded to the idea of a conscious machine. However, in the modern technological vernacular, AI is usually thought of as meaning the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as learning, problem-solving, and decision-making, using algorithms and data. The term has in recent years been applied to such systems that can generate text, images, video, even music from a prompt input by a user that builds on the system's training data to produce something apparently novel.

Leandro Pereira, Daniel Tomás, Álvaro Dias, Renato Lopes da Costa, and Rui Gonçalves of the Instituto Universitário de Lisboa in Lisbon, Portugal, surveyed targeted digital marketing professionals. They hoped to reveal the potential of AI to address both general and specific needs across various domains, with a spotlight on search engine optimisation (SEO), communication, sales, and content marketing. The study also revealed the degree to which strategy and data analysis, online advertising, and social media marketing have matured in recent years.

The team's findings allude to the potential benefits of AI applications in many disparate areas. Moreover, while they found plenty of room for growth, there are already bespoke AI solutions for digital marketing available to practitioners. Indeed, almost all aspects of digital marketing queried in their survey have a ready-made AI solution available. They point out that as the digital marketing landscape evolves, the integration of AI promises real benefits to practitioners in terms of efficiency, personalization, and strategic insight.

Pereira, L., Tomás, D., Dias, Á., da Costa, R.L. and Gonçalves, R. (2023) 'How artificial intelligence can improve digital marketing', Int. J. Business Information Systems, Vol. 44, No. 4, pp.581–624.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBIS.2023.135351

In a recent study centred on China's primary social shopping community, researchers shed light on the factors influencing the growth of the follower networks of content creators. The empirical study, published in the International Journal of Computational Science and Engineering, focuses on the role of social media likes in this process, revealing intriguing insights pertinent to the content creators themselves and to marketing executives hoping to benefit from the network reach of those creators.

Tao Wang of Putian University in Putian, Shuang Fu of Xiamen University Tan Kah Kee College in Zhangzhou, and Zhiyi Wu of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics in Shanghai, China, have established that the number of likes a content creator receives is crucial to the expansion of their follower base. However, they also discerned a rather nuanced observation: prior follower count can moderate this relationship such that, paradoxically, a higher previous follower count can negatively affect the growth of the follower network. The team suggests that this indicates a rather complex interplay between approval and perceived audience size.

The work thus has implications for industry practitioners and will also be of interest to others studying e-commerce and social media content creators and influencers. In practical terms, the research suggests that content creators should prioritize increasing the number of likes they receive from users, as this directly contributes to the expansion of their follower network and ultimately their influence.

Community administrators can address the moderating effect of previous follower count by broadening content distribution to counteract any detrimental effect. Conversely, marketers and community members gain strategic insights for collaboration and follower selection. Future work might investigate other areas beyond the online social shopping community in China, potentially searching for more general conclusions about influence and reach.

In essence, the research could help us unravel some of the complex dynamics at play in online social shopping communities. It underscores the role of social media likes in how much reach a given content creator might achieve as well as considering the blunt tool of popularity. Likes, once perceived merely as tokens of approval, now emerge as elements that can shape how successful a content creator might be.

Wang, T., Fu, S. and Wu, Z. (2023) 'Examining the role of likes in follower network evolution based on a dynamic panel data model', Int. J. Computational Science and Engineering, Vol. 26, No. 6, pp.641–649.
DOI: 10.1504/IJCSE.2023.135296

In the field of economic thought, the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, officially the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, has served as a marker of important contributions since its inaugural award in 1969. It acknowledges the work of individuals who have significantly influenced economic analysis. The annual NPES commonly reveals a breakthrough economic model, theory and principle that will have had or will have a lasting impact on the human race.

A recent study in the International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, has used bibliometric indicators from the Web of Science (WoS) database to delve into the institutional and collaborative aspects of the laureates and to shed light on the dynamics of economic decision-making.

Sharada Prasad Sahoo and Itishree Gita Kumari of Berhampur University, and Amarnath Padhi and Bishwajit Rout of NIST (Autonomous) also in Berhampur, India, explain that since its inception in 1969, the NPES has recognized 89 individuals and that most of the prizewinners have been based in the United States of America. Notably, The University of Chicago is the most dominant force. The new study focuses on bibliometric indicators, including total publications, citations, author "h index", and collaboration degrees, to elucidate what factors are contributing the most to the laureates' recognition.

The team's analysis discusses The University of Chicago as well looking at the substantial contributions from institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and the University of California to the roster of laureates.

The team points out that the Review of Economic Studies, published by Oxford Academic has a great impact, with a citation count of 205,518 and 2,577 articles of high influence. Economist Clive W.J. Granger's contributions to the Journal of Econometrics underscore the importance of selected publishing outlets in establishing credibility and visibility for putative laureates. The research also shows that a collaborative spirit exists within the network of economics researchers, showing that collaborations have often led to influential breakthroughs. Among the most cited documents is the prospect theory of decision-making under uncertainty by Kahneman and Tversky (2013), with a significant citation frequency of 25,089. This theory is regarded as an exemplar of economic decision-making, highlighting laureate exploration of unprobed areas of economic research.

This review of the NPES reveals the intellectual richness and collaborative dynamics within the economic research landscape. The researchers suggest that as each prize is given it reveals new thinking and solutions to problems some of which may have remained unaddressed for decades. The NPES, through its laureates, not only acknowledges past achievements but also contributes to the ongoing evolution of economic paradigms, shaping the future of economic analysis.

Sahoo, S.P., Padhi, A., Rout, B. and Kumari, I.G. (2024) 'Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences from 1969–2021: a bibliometric description', Int. J. Management Concepts and Philosophy, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp.98–121.
DOI: 10.1504/IJMCP.2024.135091

Mobile applications have become a ubiquitous part of daily life for millions of people. They have transformed the way in which we communicate, share information, do business, entertain ourselves, and manage many aspects of our lives from shopping and transport to holidays and healthcare. A study in the International Journal of Electronic Finance has looked at security issues associated with personal data processing in this interconnected landscape.

Ayush Goel and Gurudev Sahil of CHRIST (Deemed to be University) in Pune, Lavasa Campus, India, have delved into the complexities of data privacy and security, citing issues such as diverse data and sensors in mobile devices, the use of various identifiers, and the monitoring of consumers. One key concern raised is the struggle to enforce data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules, within the mobile application ecosystem. These pose significant challenges for developers and service providers where applications may not function as they nor even users would wish them to when they are designed to be fully compliant with GDPR requirements.

The challenges extend way beyond the technical aspects of mobile application development and implementation. They can have obvious legal repercussions and, of course, inherent issues of individual and corporate privacy. The new study acknowledges the benefits of mobile applications but also emphasizes the need for a stronger and yet somehow more flexible regulatory framework that will allow the applications to work as they should without comprising security and data protection and certainly without breaking any laws. While softer regulations are acknowledged for fostering innovation, the study warns that current approaches may fall short in addressing potential data misuse with a particularly alarming problem, data terrorism, being at the forefront of the team's concerns.

There is a delicate balance between the benefits of having various mobile applications available to legitimate users and ensuring that their fundamental rights are upheld, but also in precluding abuse, fraud, and the aforementioned data terrorism. The team suggests that regulators must design a constructive framework to address the various issues, allowing a balance between innovation and safeguarding users against data misuse to be put in place.

Goel, A. and Sahil, G. (2024) 'Growth of mobile applications and the rise of privacy issues', Int. J. Electronic Finance, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp.20–35.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEF.2024.135162

Research published in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business has taken a close look at the innovation dynamics within Baja California's flourishing wine and craft beer industries. The work focuses specifically on the impact good label design can have on marketing and sales.

The study by Mayer Cabrera-Flores, Creta Cota-Cota, Sialia Mellink Méndez, and Alicia León-Pozo of CETYS Universidad Ensenada in Baja California, Mexico, was prompted by the notable growth in these sectors, The findings, the team suggests, align with Hansen and Birkinshaw's 2007 model and shows a strong connection with product commercialization processes and strategies. The research drinks deeply from marketing innovation as outlined in the 2006 Oslo Manual.

The Oslo Manual, produced and published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), refers to a set of guidelines for collecting and interpreting data on innovation in the field of science, technology, and industry. It provides a framework for understanding and measuring innovation activities, enabling researchers, policymakers, and stakeholders to gather relevant and comparable information across different regions and industries.

One key aspect of this new analysis in IJESB involves the creation of a specialized instrument, developed and validated by graphic design experts. This tool serves as a comprehensive means to analyze various elements contributing to the innovation design of beer and wine labels, including materials, information presentation, the nuances of visual design, and the efficacy of persuasion in influencing purchase intention.

The team has tested their instrument's effectiveness through a detailed evaluation of regional wine and craft beer labels, using focus groups as the primary method of data collection. Ultimately, the significance of the study lies in its potential to deepen our understanding of the processes involved in stimulating creativity and innovation within Baja California's wine and craft beer industry and perhaps other regions. The detailed focus on product branding in label design uncovers the extent to which innovation in this area can shape brand perception and consumer behaviour. Fundamentally, investing in label design enhances persuasiveness, fostering market expansion and aligning with innovation efforts.

Cabrera-Flores, M., Cota-Cota, C., Mellink Méndez, S. and León-Pozo, A. (2024) 'Wine and craft beer in Baja California: an approach to innovation through label design', Int. J. Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vol. 51, No. 1, pp.1–18.
DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2024.135217

In the world of healthcare artificial intelligence (AI), the SAMBIAS project from Casa di Cura Tortorella s.p.a. in Salerno, Italy, is an important case study. The project takes a pragmatic approach to data sharing, according to a paper in the International Journal of Managerial and Financial Accounting, focusing on a web-based platform designed to enhance the competitiveness of healthcare organizations, particularly in the context of machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) models.

SAMBIAS primarily addresses the need for abundant and reliable datasets in the healthcare domain. By using data from healthcare information systems, the platform can provide augmented sets of clinical situations, thereby contributing to more efficient performance within healthcare organizations.

This new study aligns well with earlier insights and emphasizes the importance of integrating innovative technologies in AI applications, especially in areas like radiology. The focus of the project is on the analysis of medical images using ML and DL models and represents an important step forward in data analysis from a clinical perspective.

Alessandra D'Amico of the Department of Radiology at Tortorella and colleagues point out that one key aspect is the role of AI in balancing high-quality medical treatment with operational efficiency within a healthcare organization. The work suggests that the ongoing debate about the validity and reliability of AI in the medical field will likely shift towards optimizing its use to enhance the overall effectiveness of global healthcare processes.

While the adoption of AI in healthcare is a potential source of competitive advantage for healthcare organizations, the study underscores the need to maintain a primary focus on patient health. The SAMBIAS project envisions a future where discussions about AI in healthcare move beyond the kind of scepticism and cynicism seen in the media hyperbole and reactionary observations to practical considerations about how to harness its potential for the ongoing of improvement in healthcare.

D'Amico, A., Di Capua, M., Di Nardo, E., Rosak-Szyrocka, J., Tortorella, G. and Festa, G. (2024) 'Competitive advantage in healthcare based on augmentation of clinical images with artificial intelligence: case study of the 'Sambias' project', Int. J. Managerial and Financial Accounting, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp.1–16.
DOI: 10.1504/IJMFA.2024.135364

Improvements to the Flower Pollination Algorithm (FPA) have been made to enhance the way in which we harvest wind energy for electricity generation. Details are published in the International Journal of Automation and Control.

Amoh Mensah Akwasi and Xie Wei of the South China University of Technology in Guangzhou and Otuo-Acheampong Duku of the School of Electrical Engineering at Wuhan University in Wuhan, China have planted the seed of a significant advancement in optimizing wind power generation by improving the FPA. This algorithm is widely used in engineering, optimization, and machine learning.

The FPA works by creating a bunch of possible solutions, figuratively each of these is a flower. Pollination leads to the transfer of genetic material to produce new plants, which are closer to the optimal solution. The process is repeated with each successive generation of flower solutions coming closer to the best possible solution to a given problem. While the algorithm has been effective for solving many problems its one-way movement towards the best solution can be a sluggish process.

The team's adjustments to the FPA involve adding a two-stage Luenberger observer controller, with a specific focus on improving wind power generation. This addition allows the algorithm to observe and adapt to both global and local pollination dynamics, significantly improving its efficiency over longer distances between solutions in the flowerbed, or rather, the "solution space".

From a technical standpoint, the Luenberger observer controller introduces a new structure, enabling the algorithm to move beyond its previous one-way approach. This change is designed to speed up solution convergence and improve efficacy.

The method allows the team to optimize the efficiency of wind turbines by adjusting their rotation speed based on the local and global best solutions obtained through enhanced FPA. Unlike traditional methods, the modified FPA introduces a dual-directional movement for pollinators, enhancing their search for optimal solutions. The team's simulations and tests show that the modified FPA significantly boosts wind turbine performance, increasing power output and stabilizing fluctuations.

This practical evolution underscores the importance of ongoing research and development into machine learning and bio-inspired algorithmic processes that can lead to innovative solutions in sustainable energy.

Akwasi, A.M., Wei, X. and Duku, O-A. (2024) 'Observer controller-based structure for a modified flower pollination algorithm for wind power generation', Int. J. Automation and Control, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp.53–86.
DOI: 10.1504/IJAAC.2024.135090

A recent in-depth examination of employee retention within the banking sector has revealed various actionable strategies that might be used to address this persistent challenge. The study, published in the International Journal of Business Information Systems, emphasizes the imperative of a nuanced approach to understanding the factors influencing retention rates, particularly at the specialist level.

The research by Unnar Theodorsson, Svala Gudmundsdottir, and Thorhallur Gudlaugsson of the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, shows that there are subtle variations between the banking landscapes of Iceland and Denmark.

The team explains how the findings underscore the need to undertake comprehensive talent management and strategic human capital to redress the shortages of specialists in the banking sector. This might entail a sustained commitment to investment in employees, such as improved continued professional development, active engagement in educational initiatives, inclusive communication practices, strategic recognition, and better promotion structures. Moreover, it would involve a more meticulous approach to managerial recruitment practices, focusing on the identification and cultivation of managerial talent.

One of the big challenges highlighted in the research is the banking sector's ongoing struggle to cultivate an environment conducive to retaining specialists. To surmount this, the study recommends sustained efforts in workforce planning, development, and financing. It suggests placing a heightened emphasis on leadership capabilities among those managers at the mid-level of the corporate hierarchy, a better approach to the recognition and acknowledgement of the efforts of employees, as well as fostering an improved working environment through inclusive and constructive communication.

The study also pinpoints key policy issues that are pivotal for successful retention initiatives, such as the establishment of transparent career progression plans, fair promotional procedures, a well-defined system for filling posts and carrying out employee transfers, as well as the empowerment of local management for effective governance. If these various insights are banked by the industry, then the researchers propose that ongoing studies be carried out to assess their long-term effects and to identify how they might be improved if problems come to light.

Theodorsson, U., Gudmundsdottir, S. and Gudlaugsson, T. (2023) 'Successful employee retention practices: characteristics found in Danish and Icelandic banks', Int. J. Business Information Systems, Vol. 44, No. 2, pp.161–179.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBIS.2023.134970

A study in the International Journal of Technology Management has looked at the notion of unlearning, forgetting, and relearning in the wake of organisational crises within industry. The work takes the Japanese electrical industry as a focus and looks at the triggers in a company's top management team (TMT) that affect performance.

Pingsong Qian and Akitsu Oe of Tokyo University of Science in Japan explored the TMT dynamics among more than two hundred listed companies. They used multiple linear regression analysis with a random-effects model to examine the data they obtained on those companies in this context.

Unlearning can be thought of as the deliberate discarding or modification of a companies knowledge base, practices, and strategies during a crisis. It involves a conscious effort to reassess and adjust established ways of thinking and operating with the aim of adapting to the challenges posed by the crises and potentially overcoming the problems and improving organizational performance.

The team found that TMT unlearning could indirectly enhance organizational performance by nudging the company's research and development (R&D) department into an unlearning phase. This R&D unlearning process seems to have a positive effect whereas neglectful loss or abandoning of knowledge, forgetting, as it were, simply had a negative impact. The inadvertent loss of insights and practices could not be a positive force in the same way as deliberate unlearning can be.

This work fills several gaps in our understanding of organizational learning and change. It goes beyond earlier studies that focused primarily on single-level unlearning and demonstrates how organizational forgetting and unlearning can positively influence TMT. The study also addresses a gap in empirical research by utilizing archival data, providing a solid foundation for identifying factors influencing unlearning and forgetting and their impact on organizational performance. Importantly, the work makes clear the distinction between those two often conflated terms – forgetting and unlearning. In practical terms, a company in decline must find a way to unlearn problematic knowledge and approaches and not simply forget or abandon them.

Qian, P. and Oe, A. (2024) 'The impact of organisational crisis on forgetting and relearning: an empirical study of unlearning in the Japanese electrical industry', Int. J. Technology Management, Vol. 94, No. 1, pp.135–155.
DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2024.135262

A study in the International Journal of Services Technology and Management has investigated the effects of leadership style and organisational culture on innovation within companies. The research used qualitative interviews across diverse organizations in Sweden and Sri Lanka and suggests a nuanced relationship between leadership, organizational culture, and innovation and hints at how these might be nudged to boost innovation.

Ruzlin Akter, Shashiprabha Rathnayaka, and Zahra Ahmadi of the University of Gävle in Gävle, Sweden, surveyed six different organisations and found from their analysis of the results that specific organizational cultures, such as process- and job-oriented cultures, and certain leadership styles, like transactional leadership, can have either a positive or a negative effect on the development of innovation within those companies. However, they demonstrated that result-oriented, employee-oriented, and a pragmatic organisational culture when combined with transformational leadership can be much more effective in fostering innovation.

Of particular interest, in Sweden is that there can be a unique influence of organizational culture and leadership on specific companies as was found to be the case with one Swedish outlier when compared with its global counterparts. Indeed, whereas many companies have adapted their organizational cultures and leadership styles to enhance innovation, this outlier has adhered to a staid and traditional approach to management and organisational culture and has suffered the negative impact of such a stance on how well it innovates when compared with more forward-looking companies elsewhere.

From a managerial perspective, the team suggests that the study underscores the part leaders can play within a company as role models. Companies benefit, it seems from a management style that emphasizes openness, flexibility, appreciation of ideas, and the encouragement of employee creativity and empowerment.

These insights might be used to offer companies that are less innovative, but nevertheless aspirational, a practical approach to the identification of obstacles to innovation within their organisation. This could help them improve their management style by removing constraining processes, unlocking communication channels, improving transparency, and removing any culture of fear of change and mistakes. Such an approach should stand any company in good stead for becoming more competitive, more innovative, and making a greater contribution to the economy.

Akter, R., Rathnayaka, S. and Ahmadi, Z. (2023) 'The effect of leadership and organisational culture on organisational innovation', Int. J. Services Technology and Management, Vol. 28, Nos. 5/6, pp.360–388.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSTM.2023.135084

Research in the International Journal of Public Sector Performance Management has investigated workplace happiness and its impact on productivity within and outside the information technology sector in Delhi. Their findings shed light on the significant impact of workplace happiness on employee engagement and emphasize its universal relevance.

Sana Vakeel and Sunita Shukla of the ITS Engineering College and Vikas Singh of ITS – The Education Group, all in Greater Noida, India, statistical analyses such as Karl Pearson's correlation and regression methods to glean information from employees surveyed about their jobs and happiness. The analysis found that between a fifth and a quarter (23.7% variance) of employee engagement could be attributed to their happiness in the workplace.

This degree of statistical significance thus underscores the integral role of employee happiness in fostering organizational success. This points to a need for managers and employers to be aware of their employees' psychological well-being not only as part of an inclusive approach to employment but also for the benefit of the organisation's own well-being.

Interestingly, the positive correlation observed between workplace happiness and employee engagement holds true in both the IT sector and in other areas of work. The variance in the IT sector was 23.1 percent and slightly lower at 22.8 percent in the non-IT sector, although these two figures are close enough to suggest a universality of workplace happiness influencing employee engagement.

The team points out that the research corroborates earlier findings that looked at various other factors alongside happiness and job characteristics with regard to employee engagement. The results underscore the strategic importance of prioritizing workplace happiness for the mutual benefit of employee and employer. As businesses grapple with an ever-changing economic environment and a constantly shifting social landscape, it becomes increasingly important to consider factors such as employee happiness.

Vakeel, S., Shukla, S. and Singh, V. (2023) 'Impact of workplace happiness on employee engagement: a comparative study of IT and non-IT sector employees', Int. J. Public Sector Performance Management, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp.482–496.
DOI: 10.1504/IJPSPM.2023.135031

In the wake of a pandemic caused by an airborne pathogen, it is easy to forget that many other pathogens are transmitted through very different routes. For instance, many diseases that cause serious and sometimes lethal illness are transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces and thence to the nose and mouth, other orifices, or even cuts and wounds. Research in the International Journal of Advanced Intelligence Paradigms has looked at whether or not the Internet of Things (IoT) might be used to help combat the spread of disease commonly associated with poor lavatorial hygiene.

R. Giridhararajan, Ikram Shah, and S. Karthikeyan of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, the Armita University in Coimbatore, and colleagues Shriram K. Vasudevan of the K. Ramakrishnan College of Technology in Trichy, and S.N. Abhishek of the Cognitive Technology and Innovation Centre in Karnataka, India, point out that there are many remote locations with public toilet facilities. Such facilities may not necessarily come under conventional or frequent cleaning and maintenance schedules and so can be a source of hazardous pathogens.

In addition, there are also toilets at airports, railway stations, on ships, and other modes of transport to consider. While some may be regularly cleaned and well-maintained there is always the potential for this not to be the case and for a toilet to become a hub through which many people become infected with a given pathogen.

The team points out that microbes such as staphylococcus, escherichia, and streptococcus as well as norovirus and other viruses can cause serious health problems. Children, older people, and those with pre-existing health conditions may be most at risk of sickness and even death.

A frugal IoT-based system has now been developed by the team that could be used to monitor and help with the hygiene of lavatories. The system uses various sensor inputs, allowing real-time monitoring, data collection, and user feedback on lavatory conditions. Automated alerts generated by the system prompt necessary cleaning and maintenance as required. Such a system ensures quality levels can be maintained and reduces the burden from frequent cleaning to necessary cleaning where facilities have been used little. While, ideally, all lavatories would be cleaned frequently and thoroughly, where staff and budget are constrained, IoT monitoring could ensure that hygiene issues are addressed in a timely manner at well-used and toilets that have become unacceptably dirty while reducing the urgency of cleaning facilities that are little used and generally clean.

The researchers add that integrating machine learning into the system could improve efficiency still further by predicting usage and soiling patterns over time.

Giridhararajan, R., Vasudevan, S.K., Shah, I., Karthikeyan, S. and Abhishek, S.N. (2023) 'A system to prevent toiletry (lavatory)-based diseases such as norovirus, staphylococcus, escherichia and streptococcus through IoT and embedded systems', Int. J. Advanced Intelligence Paradigms, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp.158–170.
DOI: 10.1504/IJAIP.2023.135027

Research in the International Journal of Business Information Systems has used social network analysis to look at the most important and influential users utilising PGP (pretty good privacy) data encryption to reveal where there might be problems that could lead to compromise of data.

Victor Chang and Qianwen Ariel Xu of Teesside University, Middlesbrough UK, Lina Xiao of Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China, Anastasija Nikiforova of the University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia, Ben S.C. Liu of Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut, USA, point out that PGP is most commonly used in protecting email but there is the issue of ensuring that the encryption keys being used have not been forged and so are not vulnerable to snooping or hacking by malicious third parties.

The team used social network analysis tools to examine the online interactions of PGP users with a view to identifying putative threats and vulnerabilities in the system. The team conducted two analyses: first a traditional centrality analysis and secondly the less common K-means clustering analysis. The former allowed them to identify the key figures within the network based on higher centrality, which suggests greater influence over other users. The latter, more precise method, allowed them to find clusters of important users in order to give them a comprehensive picture of the overall community structure of the network.

The team found that there were a range of interaction patterns among PGP users, ranging from frequent to isolated interactions. However, those users with higher centrality, tended to be more frequent PGP users, making them potential targets for scrutiny. The K-means clustering algorithm highlighted influential users who might be perceived as targets by malicious third parties. It also hinted at the converse, where a seemingly influential and trusted user may not be entirely legitimate and may themselves be present and gaining widespread trust for nefarious purposes, such as forging illicit PGP keys for fraudulent, espionage, and other dishonest activities. The implications extend beyond PGP, offering a framework applicable to various domains such as business partnerships, supply chains, and criminal network studies.

Chang, V., Xiao, L., Nikiforova, A., Xu, Q.A. and Liu, B.S.C. (2023) 'The study of PGP web of trust based on social network analysis', Int. J. Business Information Systems, Vol. 44, No. 2, pp.285–302.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBIS.2023.134956

Research published in the International Journal of Business Information Systems looks at how effective knowledge management within a project-oriented organization can improve efficiency. The study explores the intricacies of knowledge management, focusing on best practices derived from past experience to enhance future projects.

In the contemporary business landscape, knowledge is an invaluable asset for most organizations, especially those that are project-driven. The ability to learn from and manage experience creates an environment for the improvement of internal processes, services, and of course, the products that are the essential output of the company. The paper asserts that at the heart of organizational knowledge is project management. As organizations undertake projects, often intricate and constrained by time and budget, handling the knowledge generated is important for running those projects and benefiting future projects.

The research shows that at least half of the problems encountered during a new project will have been seen in a previous project. Whether they addressed those problems successfully or not is a different matter, but having this knowledge to hand when working on a new project can help guide the team on the new project to build on earlier successes and avoid repeating mistakes.

One key aspect of the findings is the necessity of measuring learning success. The team echoes Peter Drucker's insight that "we can't manage what we can't measure." The paper thus emphasizes the need for clear objectives and a strategic framework for successful knowledge management. Project managers, the study suggests, have a critical role to play in fostering a culture of continuous learning and facilitating knowledge transfer between organizational initiatives.

The researchers allude to a model proposed within the pharmaceutical industry in 1999. However, they also suggest that contemporary research must now validate the relevance of that model in the current era. Moreover, the researchers stress the need for adaptability to future situations and environments as new projects are initiated. They advocate for the development of distinct models tailored to specific project types and their integration into the project management system with knowledge management at its heart.

Pereira, L., da Costa, R.L., Dias, Á., Gonçalves, R. and Santos, R. (2023) 'How can you manage the knowledge of your projects?', Int. J. Business Information Systems, Vol. 44, No. 2, pp.180–201.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBIS.2023.134947

Online businesses often use personalized pricing strategies to entice new customers to buy but at the detriment to loyal customers who simply get offered the standard price. According to research in the International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, which has examined market dynamics in this context, there is a complex interplay between suppliers, retailers, and customers. In the world of pricing and advertising competition, dominant and weaker retailers could do well to understand the pros and cons of their strategies in terms of their bottom line.

Biao Ma and Li Li of Nanjing University of Science and Technology in Jiangsu Province, China have found that dominant retailers consistently opt for unified pricing, a fixed strategy, while weaker retailers employ personalized pricing when it is cost-effective and only use unified pricing when they perceive it not to be. Weaker retailers generally imagine that personalised pricing will lead to greater profits.

Historically, dominant retailers with significant market power, can, of course, secure products at lower wholesale cost, when compared with the prices at which weaker retailers are able to buy their stock. The fundamental issue is that the smaller retailer simply lacks bargaining power and cannot compete on its offering to consumers without turning to personalized pricing strategies, a strategy facilitated by e-commerce.

The perception is that a personalized pricing strategy draws in new customers without alienating loyal customers, although wily consumers will be well aware that retailers use this approach to price and may be deterred from sticking with a retailer if they feel they are being duped or can get a better deal elsewhere.

The new study builds a model to look at how pricing and advertising competition guide retailer decision-making and ultimately the profits they make. The model challenges the assumption that personalized pricing universally benefits retailers, highlighting that intense price competition actually favours their suppliers. Moreover, it becomes obvious from the work that information technology can shape personalized pricing but does not necessarily control the effectiveness of personalised pricing strategies across markets. The work emphasises the importance of recognizing asymmetric markets, where dominant retailers embrace unified pricing, and weaker retailers flip between personalized and unified pricing.

Ma, B. and Li, L. (2023) 'Who can profit from personalised pricing – supplier, retailers, or consumers?', Int. J. Networking and Virtual Organisations, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp.183–210.
DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2023.134990

A study in the International Journal of Teaching and Case Studies has looked at the dynamics of student peers helping each other with their educational needs. Peer mentoring and collaborative learning are highlighted but the research shows a worrying phenomenon whereby a high-performing student becomes resentful of a fellow student to whom they give assistance when that student then outperforms them and achieves higher grades. Such resentment might well scupper efforts to encourage peer mentoring and collaborative learning and must be taken into consideration when developing educational programs to facilitate such approaches to study.

Shih Yung Chou, Niyati Kataria, Shainell Joseph, and Charles Ramser of the Dillard College of Business Administration at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, USA, conducted a qualitative study of 113 undergraduate students enrolled on a business program. They explored the students' motivations behind peer assistance and the interplay between assistance and resentment, and the impact these had on subsequent student behaviour.

Peer helping, a form of student-student interaction where knowledge is shared voluntarily to aid every student's understanding of the course materials, is widely recognized as having a broadly positive impact in education. However, the new study, using a grounded theory approach to analyze qualitative data, sheds light on the putative emotional fallout of peer assistance that, for some students, might have negative effects on some students and so hinder future collaboration.

The team identified various reasons as to why students might help their peers: a sense of moral obligation, mastery of course material, or simple requests from their fellow students for help. There is a critical pivot point around which the student helper may feel aggrieved and resentful of the successes of the student they help, however. Such resentment is triggered by factors such as a perceived lack of effort from their peer or an imbalance in the give-and-take dynamic. This can significantly influence the helper's future behaviour in this context, making it less likely that they will agree to helping any of their peers in the future.

The researchers suggest that educators and educational policymakers need to address the emotional and interpersonal aspects of peer assistance so that collaboration among students can be sustained. There is a need to maximize the mutual benefits of collaborative learning, while minimizing potential problems that can arise.

Chou, S.Y., Kataria, N., Joseph, S. and Ramser, C. (2023) 'I shouldn't have helped you! When and why the student helper resents helping the peer: a qualitative inquiry', Int. J. Teaching and Case Studies, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp.148–165.
DOI: 10.1504/IJTCS.2023.134847

Research in the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing has looked at the dynamics of affordable innovations and investments and shed light on the role played by products and services designed for economically constrained consumers. The research shows that contrary to a popular misconception that many innovations in this area are low-tech, they can encompass complex, tailored solutions addressing the specific needs of people of limited financial means.

Nadine Gurtner and Sebastian Gurtner of Bern University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland and Ariane Segelitz-Karsten of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena in Germany distinguished between affordable and premium innovators in their study. The new work challenges previous studies that identified general drivers for innovative behaviour and instead emphasizes the need to recognize the unique factors that influence different types of innovation. The findings offer new insights for the innovating companies themselves, policymakers, and society in general.

The team has focused on innovations such as "OneDollarGlasses". This device can produce lenses for spectacles at a cost of just one dollar. Such an innovation offers individuals in developing countries an opportunity to make a living selling such spectacles even to those in poverty. In a slightly different vein, General Electric's VScan, a portable medical ultrasound machine, stands out as an example of affordable innovation, offering a cost-effective alternative to conventional medical equipment for cash-strapped hospitals and maternity units.

The research highlights the various drivers for affordable and premium innovators and emphasizes the pivotal role of individual commitment in shaping the course of innovation. Such insights could guide companies hoping to innovate and help them find the appropriate personnel present within their organisations or to hire the right people from outside.

From the point of view of society, the research also underscores how fostering innovation is important. While what we might refer to as premium innovations address certain challenges, affordable innovations are often more desirable and perhaps even essential in helping low-income populations. Policymakers could lubricate the machinery of innovation through specific, targeted actions, such as awards recognizing successful endeavours. This would not only boost the value to society but encourage individuals to actively participate in developing the very solutions that will benefit those in the most need.

Gurtner, N., Segelitz-Karsten, A., Reinhardt, R. and Gurtner, S. (2023) 'Affordable or premium innovation? The influence of individual and contextual factors on innovators' engagement in different innovation types', Int. J. Entrepreneurial Venturing, Vol. 15, No. 5, pp.468–506.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEV.2023.134934

In the world of entrepreneurship, the choice between venture capital and angel funding stands can be critical for the long-term success of a startup company. Traditionally, companies backed by venture capital are hailed as the frontrunners in success, overshadowing their angel-funded counterparts. However, a recent in-depth study of the Indian startup landscape published in the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, challenges the received wisdom and sheds new light on a more nuanced perspective.

Praveen M. Kulkarni of the KLS Institute of Management Education and Research, Y.M. Satish of the MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, and Prayag Gokhale of KLE Tech, Belagavi Campus, all in Karnataka, India, looked at the economically vibrant backdrop of Bengaluru. This region is perhaps India's leading startup hub with over 5000 ventures across many diverse sectors. The research investigates the performance of startups based on their funding sources, venture capital or angel funding. The findings have implications in this region and way beyond it.

The researchers emphasize the significance of adopting a professional approach and utilizing appropriate performance metrics for startups in the Indian business milieu. Unlike earlier research that often simply drew from the experiences of established small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or larger corporations, this study instead focuses on the distinctive framework of startup ecosystems.

Venture capital funding is well known for not only injecting capital into a fledgling company but also in providing invaluable experience and knowledge-based support for the company. Angel funding, on the other hand, tends to operate through third-party arrangements and while it allows startups to retain complete ownership and control, this means angel-funded startups do not necessarily benefit from the external expertise crucial for sustained growth that is almost a given with venture funding.

Kulkarni, P.M., Satish, Y.M. and Gokhale, P. (2023) 'Performance measures of startups', Int. J. Entrepreneurial Venturing, Vol. 15, No. 5, pp.409–422.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEV.2023.134932

A study published in the International Journal of Economics and Business Research looks at rural poverty in Indonesia and sheds light on the interplay between the Village Fund program, agricultural sector growth, population migration, and changes in land use. The study used multigroup structural equation modelling with WarpPLS (partial least squares) to analyse data obtained from the Central Bureau of Statistics for 33 provinces.

Earlier work in this area had treated the Village Fund program as an independent variable. The new study, undertaken by Abd. Rahman Razak and Nur Imam Saifullah of Hasanuddin University, Adji Achmad Rinaldo Fernandes of Brawijaya University, reveals that this program has a a moderating effect, influencing the strength of relationships between other key factors associated with rural economics. Critically, the team found that an increase in the Village Fund can either enhance or weaken connections between population migration, changes in land use, agricultural sector growth, and rural poverty.

The work thus underscores the need for prudent Village Fund management. Funds should be allocated strategically to projects that support agricultural sector growth, maintain land use and help to reduce rural poverty. Strategies such as using the Village Fund for building basic infrastructure, supporting productive agricultural businesses, and developing agro-industry are thus emphasised with a view to ensuring the program has a positive mediating effect overall.

Fundamentally, in order to address issues such as land use change and outward migration, an annual increase in the Village Fund is needed. Also, effort must be made to attract agricultural sector investors and create an investment-friendly environment in villages. There is a need too, to develop the agricultural sub-sectors at the forefront of each village's economic activity and to emphasize the processing of agricultural products to boost value and improve competitiveness.

The research offers practical insights for policymakers, advocating for a comprehensive and stimulating approach to using the Village Fund program with a view to improving rural development and the lives of those people living and working in these regions.

Razak, A.R., Fernandes, A.A.R. and Saifullah, N.I. (2023) 'Moderation of village funds and mediation of agricultural sector growth on poverty in rural areas', Int. J. Economics and Business Research, Vol. 26, No. 4, pp.463–483.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEBR.2023.134882

A detailed literature review in the International Journal of Business Innovation and Research has looked at the interplay between artificial intelligence (AI) tools and human resource management (HRM). The review aims to provide clarity on the nuanced dynamics shaping the digital era.

The term artificial intelligence, AI, has been used colloquially, in fiction and in science for decades. There has never been a universally agreed definition of the term. Attempts to obtain such a definition are generally stymied by the ever-evolving nature of technology. With the current flurry of hyperbole regarding AI tools that can generate text, images, music, deep-fake videos, big-data analysis, and much more there is a pressing need to define AI its benefits and its limitations.

Mohand Tuffaha and M. Rosario Perello-Marin of the Universitat Politècnica de València in Spain, have looked at the role AI might play in human resource management (HRM). The review addresses a gap in our knowledge regarding AI in HRM and offers a precise definition of AI within the HRM context. The study examined 559 papers published between 2010 and 2020 covering "AI" topics including machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), and artificial neural networks.

Based on their review, the researchers were able to offer guidelines for those needing to navigate the complexities of AI technologies within their organizations in the HRM area. They point out that despite growing interest in AI among human resource managers and academics, the issues of data security, privacy, and economics have not yet been addressed. They also point out that while recruitment is a well-explored area in this domain, there is a need for additional research into professional development and performance appraisal where AI might assist.

From a managerial perspective, the findings from the review could be used to guide management and specifically HRM practices. The insights the work offers should allow management to develop what might be referred to as a digitally aligned workplace. Moreover, as AI continues to evolve, the review underscores the need to set strategies for the adoption of AI in HRM.

Tuffaha, M. and Perello-Marin, M.R. (2023) 'Artificial intelligence definition, applications and adoption in human resource management: a systematic literature review', Int. J. Business Innovation and Research, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp.293–322.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBIR.2023.134887

A new algorithm that can enhance covert communication without compromising data integrity is reported in the International Journal of Autonomous and Adaptive Communications Systems.

Mingfang Jiang of the School of Computer Science at the Hunan First Normal University in Changsha, China, has introduced an innovative algorithm, RDHEIAC (Reversible Data Hiding for Encrypted Images Algorithm with Adaptive Total Variation and Cross-Cyclic Shift). The work marks a significant step forward in information security and covert communication. The algorithm addresses the limitations of traditional methods by allowing the embedding of additional data into carrier data without compromising the integrity of the original information.

RDHEIAC departs from the conventional and employs adaptive total variation to generate a prediction error image. This optimizes the process for reduced prediction errors and improved embedding rates of secret messages. This ensures that additional data can be embedded seamlessly into the carrier data, allowing complete recovery of the original information without any damage.

Jiang's work also explains how RDHEIAC integrates various techniques such as bit-plane rearrangement, run-length encoding, cross-cyclic shift operation, diffusion operation based on chaotic maps, and bit substitution to do its job. These methods collectively contribute to the creation of secure encrypted images with a balance between privacy security, high embedding capacity, and image fidelity.

Preliminary tests demonstrate the algorithm's efficiency showing it can achieve a notable, about 47%, increase in embedding rate compared to previous RDHEI-type algorithms. The main application, of course, is covert military and business communications, but the same technology could be useful in medical imaging where privacy is paramount but there is a vital need for image integrity.

One notable feature of the RDHEIAC approach to image encryption and message embedding is that it keeps the information extraction and image restoration separate. This provides flexibility in scenarios demanding high information integrity. An additional possibility with this approach is being able to adding reversible visible watermarking in encrypted images.

Jiang, M. (2023) 'Reversible data hiding algorithm in encrypted images using adaptive total variation and cross-cyclic shift', Int. J. Autonomous and Adaptive Communications Systems, Vol. 16, No. 6, pp.611–631.
DOI: 10.1504/IJAACS.2023.134851

A study aimed at improving the accuracy and reliability of grid electricity meters, particularly under challenging on-site conditions appears in the International Journal of Information and Communication Technology. The research offers practical suggestions for assessing and optimizing measurement performance.

Chencheng Wang of the State Grid Sichuan Electric Power Company Marketing Service Center in Sichuan, China, explains how he has developed a measurement error estimation method utilizing big data analysis technology. His method integrates environmental and electrical factor data collected during on-site operations, providing real-time measurement error assessment for intelligent energy meters.

Smart energy meters are subject to mandatory national verification and management. Errors in the readings they produce not only affect the interests of millions of households, but also affect the safety, stability, and economic operation of smart grids themselves. A prediction tool built on the Shapley combination model and a neural network was demonstrated to be more accurate at making predictions about demand than other approaches based on tests with historical data, according to Wang. However, a hybrid model constructed using the Shapley approach to bring together the BP neural network and RBF neural network demonstrated fast convergence and high accuracy, outperforming the conventional Holt Winters model.

The findings could be used in the reliable evaluation of smart meters with a view to improving operational decision-making and maintenance based on their real-time status. The work, by integrating and analyzing maintenance and abnormal data, also offers a lifespan survival probability model for smart meters.

The practical implications of this work lie in the improvement of error verification for electric energy meters operating on the grid. The researchers provided a conversion relationship curve between on-site measurement errors and laboratory reference conditions, aiding in identifying electric energy meters with larger measurement errors. This approach facilitates the efficiency of error inspections in on-site operations and enables the prediction of out-of-tolerance failures in measuring equipment in advance. Overall, these advancements contribute to the reliability and performance of smart meters on the grid.

Wang, C. (2023) 'A method for identifying and evaluating energy meter data based on big data analysis technology', Int. J. Information and Communication Technology, Vol. 23, No. 4, pp.424–445.
DOI: 10.1504/IJICT.2023.134852

Research in the International Journal of Surface Science and Engineering has investigated the potential of neem seed oil as a sustainable bio-lubricant to replace conventional petroleum-derived oils.

Neem is a tree native to the Indian subcontinent, scientifically known as Azadirachta indica. It belongs to the mahogany family (Meliaceae) and is known for its multiple uses in traditional medicine, agriculture, and various industries. Neem oil, derived from the seeds of the neem tree, has gained attention for its potential applications in various fields, including agriculture (as a natural pesticide), skincare (for its moisturizing and antibacterial properties), and lubrication.

Krishnaprasad S. Menon and R. Ambigai of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the SRM Institute of Science and Technology in Kattankulathur, Chennai, India, compared formulations of neem seed oil, incorporating additives such as stearic acid and low-density polyethylene (LDPE), with the commonly used mineral oil, SAE20W40.

The study reveals that a bio-lubricant formulation of neem seed oil with 2% stearic acid improves lubricant properties. This particular blend reduces wear scar diameter (WSD) by 30% and almost halves the coefficient of friction (COF) compared to the base oil. Additionally, LDPE, while not impacting tribological properties significantly, enhances the viscosity of neem seed oil.

The findings suggest that neem seed oil, especially when combined with suitable additives, could be a feasible alternative to mineral oil, showing improvements in COF, WSD, and viscosity index. The inclusion of stearic acid is noted for enhancing the lubricant film and contributing to improved friction properties. Moreover, the research suggests that neem seed oil, with proper modifications, may meet the requirements for medium-temperature applications.

However, for neem oil to be technologically competitive with mineral oil, further exploration of properties such as thermal stability, oxidative resistance, and pour point is necessary. The study demonstrates that the addition of 2% stearic acid improves the pour point of the base oil, making it suitable for low-temperature applications. Additionally, LDPE, despite increasing viscosity, exhibits a limited impact on COF variation, suggesting its potential for applications requiring viscosity improvement.

The research positions neem seed oil as a potentially sustainable lubricant, with stearic acid and LDPE identified as potential additives to enhance its performance. The study opens avenues for continued exploration into the broader applicability of neem seed oil, contributing to the ongoing search for sustainable alternatives in the realm of lubricant technology.

Menon, K.S. and Ambigai, R. (2023) 'Evaluation of lubricant properties of bio-lubricant formulations developed from neem seed oil', Int. J. Surface Science and Engineering, Vol. 17, No. 3, pp.248–264.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSURFSE.2023.134787

Research in the International Journal of Tourism Policy has shown how social media platforms can influence holidaymakers and travellers in seeking out destinations that have been the victims of adverse events, natural disasters or conflicts. The colloquial term "revenge tourism" was coined in 2021 for this kind of vacation where people sought out experiences to combat the negative impact of lockdowns and lost time caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the term has taken on a broader definition since.

Vishal Shukla of the School of Business at Auro University in Surat and Pramod Kumar Srivastava of the School of Business at Galgotias University in Greater Noida, India, examined user-generated content on social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They could glean insights into the role social media played in both the origin and spread of this kind of tourism. The prevalence of posts in this context reflects the growing significance of social media as a space for individuals to share their travel narratives and recommendations, the research shows.

The team explains that the findings have implications for tourism management, disaster management, and social media administration. From a theoretical standpoint, the study also adds to our existing knowledge of the influence of social media activity on tourism. It suggests that there is a need for additional studies to examine the repercussions of this kind of tourism on local communities at the travel destinations in question. There is also a pressing need to emphasize the responsibilities of various tourism stakeholders. Advocating for the adoption of responsible tourism practices that consider the potential consequences of tourism on local communities should be high on the agenda. In addition, there is a neeed to develop sustainable tourism so that "revenge tourism", however well-meaning, does not have a detrimental effect on the very locations and communities it seeks to help.

Indeed, from a societal perspective, the research encourages destination marketers and travel companies to balance the benefits against putative adverse effects. It also promotes a shift toward sustainable practices that could foster mutual benefits for both tourists and the locations they visit.

Shukla, V. and Srivastava, P.K. (2023) 'Travelling with a vengeance: the influence of social media on revenge tourism', Int. J. Tourism Policy, Vol. 13, No. 6, pp.600–605.
DOI: 10.1504/IJTP.2023.134525

A study in the International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics addresses a longstanding gap the world of dry bulk shipping terminals, introducing a two-stage methodology that employs unsupervised machine learning techniques. The work by Iñigo L. Ansorena of the Universidad Internacional de La Rioja in Spain, focused on North European dry bulk terminals, and could improve transparency in terminal management.

Dry bulk terminals are specialist shipping facilities within a port or harbour that are designed for the handling and storage of dry bulk cargo, such as unpackaged goods shipped in large quantities like grain, coal, ore, cement, and fertilizers. These terminals play a crucial role in allowing commodities to be moved from ship to other modes of transportation such as road and rail, and other maritime vessels for onward distribution.

Ansorena looked first at terminal performance by identifying associations between various operational variables. This is achieved through the application of association rules, offering a detailed understanding of how different factors impact terminal operations. In the second stage, he used an isolation forest algorithm to calculate anomaly scores for each vessel using the terminal.

He points out that those vessels with scores exceeding 60% are flagged as anomalous and so their activities can be investigated further to identify issues in the services provided by the terminal and whether those problems are attributable to the terminal operator in the first place. This dual approach to assessing a terminal could be used to improve practices and also guide better contractual agreements between shipping companies and terminal operators in the future. The work underscores how machine learning techniques can be used in unusual contexts for analysis.

The research focused on dry bulk terminals in a specific region, but the same methodology has potential to be used elsewhere and for shipping terminals with different kinds of layouts and operational procedures. Indeed, the adaptability of this methodology is its strength for such analyses and could be used in a wide variety of context to improve logistics management.

Ansorena, I.L. (2023) 'Service anomaly detection in dry bulk terminals: a machine learning approach', Int. J. Shipping and Transport Logistics, Vol. 17, No. 3, pp.281–302.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSTL.2023.134736

Huge numbers of people use social networking every day, perhaps half the world's population. Many of these platforms go way beyond simple socializing and most have much broader applications that can touch on all aspects of our lives, including clinical nutrition.

A recent study in the International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management has looked at social networking from the perspective of dietitians. Cátia Andrade Moreira and Tânia Saraiva of Lisbon Accounting and Business School and Elisabete Carolino of the Lisbon School of Health Technology in Portugal have examined in detail how social networks can influence the effectiveness of nutritional interventions.

The team reports that more than half of dieticians (56.2%) use social networking in their professional lives. Interestingly, the two most popular systems are the photo and video-sharing application Instagram and the networking site Facebook. The research shows that a large majority of dieticians (84.4%) saw a significant increase in their total consultations compared to when they were not using social networking. Critically, these dietitians retained more than three-quarters of their clientele, which suggests that social networking activity was boosting their impact on clients and so the dieticians' income.

An important aspect of the study was to discern whether the use of social networking by dieticians was beneficial to their clients. Indeed, more than half of the dieticians studied found that online interactions were equally as effective as the more conventional face-to-face approach to interactions with their clients. As an example, about one-third of dieticians reported that up to three-quarters of their clients experienced weight loss under their guidance through social networking.

The findings could have broad implications. As online service demand has increased in recent years, partly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, dieticians and others are now recognising the business opportunities and finding ways to use social networking to help them navigate challenging markets. Digital entrepreneurship is on the rise and while specific social networking sites and applications may evolve, they remain more than simple communication tools and offer those with the requisite skills opportunities to change how they work for the benefit of their businesses and their clients and customers.

Moreira, C.A., Saraiva, T., and Carolino, E. (2023) 'The impact of social networks in the area of clinical nutrition: dietitians' perspective', Int. J. Healthcare Technology and Management, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp.348–364.
DOI: 10.1504/IJHTM.2023.134453

Arguments are still raging about how humanity could have been better prepared for COVID-19. Indeed, politicians who chose different approaches to handling the emerging viral pandemic and especially those who had abandoned the scientific plans that were in place even before we had named the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 are still being lambasted by their critics, patient advocacy groups and those with a post-pandemic grievance.

So, how might we be better prepared for the emergence of the next virulent pathogen?

Research in the International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations has looked into the realm of digital health and how it might better prepare us ahead of the next plague.

Nilmini Wickramasinghe of Swinburne University of Technology in Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia and Rima Gibbings of the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, Georgia, USA, reprise what we know about the devastating and ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. They highlight the key vulnerabilities that lead to so much disease, death and economic downturn. The World Health Organisation has, with 20:20 hindsight pointed out how if we had been more prepared we might have coped better with this disease. So much is obvious in retrospect.

In this new work, Wickramasinghe and Gibbings have reviewed the various approaches to the pandemic to home in on those that might be more effective in reducing the impact of a similar future worldwide disease outbreak. The team points out that, clearly, there was never going to be an easy fix once this virus had emerged in China late in 2019 and begun spreading rapidly around the world.

Lockdowns, quarantines, furloughing, shutdowns, masking, social distancing, vaccines, and the various other responses may well have limited the final toll to some degree, but where there ways in which we might have been better prepared and slowed its spread and perhaps even have halted the disease in its tracks? The team's review has allowed them to build a framework in order to answer that question in the context of a putative pandemic. Perhaps the key to a future, hopefully, successful response to the emergence of a novel and lethal pathogen is public education, so that the global community can en masse recognise what needs to be done to stave off a pandemic and individuals can find a shared responsibility that does not rely on political bluff and bluster but is wholly guided by scientifically based guidance.

Wickramasinghe, N. and Gibbings, R. (2023) ‘Using digital health to support superior preparedness to enable better preparedness and readiness to combat pandemics: a scoping review', Int. J. Networking and Virtual Organisations, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp.1–15.
DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2023.134280

There's snow and ice on the runway, you've gone through check-in and security, but your flight's delayed, thank goodness the airport has a decent heating system! Well, a study in the International Journal of Sustainable Aviation has investigated how much each passenger's body heat might be contributing to the departure lounge's overall heating budget.

Okan Kon and Ismail Caner of Balikesir University in Turkey have offered useful insights into the impact of human heat generation in airport environments. Their work could lead to a new approach to the design and management of such spaces for better fuel efficiency. The team looked at how the human body contributes to heat buildup within an airport lounge by taking into account body temperature, ambient temperature, heat transfer through air movement (convection) and evaporative cooling through sweating evaporation, as well as heat gains from heat radiating from skin surfaces.

They analysed the heating effects associated with individuals sitting, standing or staff engaged in light work. They assumed that clothing has negligible thermal resistance in these various scenarios. The calculations showed that heat gain from each person ranges from a low of about 400 Watts to a peak of almost 600 Watts.

Having these figures to hand could help in the design of complex indoor spaces and the air conditioning, ventilation, and heating systems they use. After all, if a packed airport lounge can rely on a certain proportion of its heating from the people in the lounge, then that part of that proportion might be cut from the overall demand on the heating system in the space. Appropriate auditing of the heat gains and losses that take into account the people in the airport and their level of activity could make airport lounges and other complex indoor spaces more energy-efficient and even more comfortable. It could be used to offer advice for airport staff and passengers on clothing requirements too. This would benefit passengers and airport operators alike.

Kon, O. and Caner, I. (2023) 'Calculations of internal heat gain from occupants affecting the energy consumption of airport buildings', Int. J. Sustainable Aviation, Vol. 9, No. 4, pp.279–292.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSA.2023.134331

A study in the International Journal of Management and Enterprise Development investigates the concept of refugee entrepreneurship aiming to better understand the needs of refugees looking to establish their businesses, particularly in the catering industry.

Jukka Ojasalo, Maria Ekström, and Joonas Koski of the Laurea University of Applied Sciences in Espoo, Finland, carried out an empirical study using qualitative theme interviews and focus groups. From the results, the team has developed a comprehensive model for capability development in the context of refugee entrepreneurship.

The work revealed three fundamental needs of refugees hoping to grow a business: empowerment, experiential learning, and networking. The proposed model could be used to guide refugees through the various stages of the process of growing a business and emphasizes hands-on facilitation and collaboration as key components for success.

The work challenges the common misconception that refugees are a burden on their host society and shows they can be great economic contributors. The team suggests that further exploration of the innovative capabilities of refugee entrepreneurs is now needed and proposes that a broader evaluation of entrepreneurship programs that considers measures beyond traditional economic success, such as quality of life and empowerment should be taken into account when determining success.

The researchers also recommend that refugee entrepreneurship should be looked at in the context of the United Nations' sustainable development goals to see what contribution refugee entrepreneurship might have with regard to these objectives. Moreover, there is a need to look at how third- and fourth-sector organizations might foster innovation and growth in service industries and at the same time support refugee entrepreneurship.

Refugee inclusion is perceived as a significant problem by some across society. The co-creation approach outlined in this research offers a starting point for addressing the issues as well as giving policymakers some guidance. At a time when conflict and upheaval are leading to increasing numbers of people displaced from their homes, nations will need to find ways to help these people when they arrive.

Obviously, not every refugee has entrepreneurial potential but for those that do a rich human resource might be tapped by host nations willing to invest in those displaced people. By recognizing the untapped potential of refugees and addressing their unique needs and what they can offer, society can create a more inclusive and economically vibrant environment for all.

Ojasalo, J., Ekström, M. and Koski, J. (2023) 'Refugee entrepreneurship development: a case study of capability training program in catering services', Int. J. Management and Enterprise Development, Vol. 22, No. 4, pp.366-390.
DOI: 10.1504/IJMED.2023.134683

Research in the International Journal of Sustainable Aviation is stacked up to improve aircraft wing design in order to give lift to performance and put safety on a smoother flight path in the critical transonic speed range. The work looks at intricate dynamics of high aspect ratio wings that will fly in the speed range where airflows around the wing can be simultaneously subsonic and supersonic. The actual speed an aircraft is flying where this condition is met depends on many factors but usually lies between 0.8 and 1.2 times the speed of sound as measured at atmospheric pressure, Mach 0.8 to Mach 1.2.

By highlighting the role of wing design and pressure fields in aeroelastic instabilities, the research could have long-haul implications for the development of new aircraft that fly just below or just above Mach 1.

Mario Rosario Chiarelli and Salvatore Bonomo of the Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering at the University of Pisa in Pisa, Italy, investigated two types of high aspect ratio wings: the traditional swept wing and the curved-planform wing. They used a two-way fluid-structure interaction (FSI) analysis, combining computational fluid dynamics (CFD) with structural analysis to study the behaviour of these types of wings in transonic conditions.

Important factors that emerged from the analyses were the power spectral density of both wing-tip displacements and wing aerodynamic coefficients. This information is important for revealing critical instabilities that might arise during a flight at these speeds and so guide modifications to wing design to circumvent instability problems.

The team found that a conventional swept wing displayed instability known as a flutter-buffet. This leads to coupling between structural bending and pressure field oscillations, which would lead to fuel inefficiencies in limited cases but could cause problems with the flight and even the wing itself in extreme cases. By contrast, the curved-planform wing exhibited transonic pressure field oscillations, but these were not a direct cause of aeroelastic instability. This wing design thus shows promise in reducing wave drag effects and enhancing high-speed aeroelastic stability. Even small changes in the detailed characteristics of the design can have a substantial impact on an aircraft's stability at transonic speeds, the work suggests.

Future work will look at how the geometry of the streamlined enclosues, nacelles, of aircraft engines affect the aerodynamic field and stability issues at such speeds with a view to improving wing design still further.

Chiarelli, M.R. and Bonomo, S. (2023) 'The role of pressure field dynamics on the onset of transonic aeroelastic instabilities of high aspect ratio swept wings', Int. J. Sustainable Aviation, Vol. 9, No. 4, pp.332–370.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSA.2023.134338

Research in the International Journal of Exergy has looked at how a novel small-scale power-to-ammonia (P2A) system might be a useful tool in the move to a hydrogen economy. The work considers the energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness of this system compared with conventional systems. Ultimately, chemical analysis shows the potential of green ammonia as a hydrogen-storage medium, and thus an energy carrier.

The hydrogen economy refers to a proposed low-carbon economic system where hydrogen gas is produced, stored, and utilized as a primary energy carrier for various applications sidestepping the traditional carbon-rich fossil fuels. Hydrogen might be used in transportation, electricity generation, and industrial processes, While there are issues with storage and safety, the true benefits are that the gas can be produced sustainably by the electrolysis of water or other chemical processes and when it is burned there is no carbon dioxide or noxious pollutants. Indeed, the only significant waste product is water.

The issue of safe storage of hydrogen is high on the agenda. As such, hydrogen-rich materials are being investigated as storage media. The conversion of hydrogen into liquefied ammonia (NH3), for instance, offers a putatively safer way to store large quantities of the otherwise explosive hydrogen gas.

Pascal Koschwitz and Bernd Epple of the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, Daria Bellotti of the University of Genova, Italy, and Cheng Liang of Proton Ventures BV in Schiedam, The Netherlands used the software Aspen Plus, to first assess the suitability of an equation of state (EOS) known as HYSPR-mp in comparison to other commonly used EOS in ammonia process simulations. They demonstrated that HYSPR-mp is a suitable choice for their analysis. They then evaluated the system using chemical exergy to show that this can produce accurate results quickly. Finally, they carried out an exergetic comparison between this novel system and conventional P2A systems. This revealed improved exergy results and thus a greater cost advantage because of the lower initial investment costs needed.

Koschwitz, P., Bellotti, D., Liang, C. and Epple, B. (2023) 'Exergetic comparison of a novel to a conventional small-scale power-to-ammonia cycle', Int. J. Exergy, Vol. 42, No. 2, pp.127–158.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEX.2023.134607

New research from India has shown how machine learning, colloquially known as artificial intelligence or AI, could improve the early detection of skin cancer. Given that the incidence of skin cancer is on the rise, the work, published in the International Journal of Nanotechnology, could have significant implications for early intervention, treatment, and ultimately improved prognosis.

The study builds upon earlier research efforts and tests machine learning algorithms, including Naive Bayes, decision-tree, and K-nearest neighbours (KNN) approaches, to improve the accuracy of skin cancer diagnosis from images of suspicious lesions and areas of skin. The researchers found that the decision tree algorithm was the most effective, achieving an accuracy rate of 83%. Such accuracy, coupled with expert assessment by an oncologist, could improve diagnosis rates considerably and give patients better outcomes.

However, the team did not stop there. To further improve accuracy and streamline the detection process, the researchers introduced a deep learning approach, specifically a convolutional neural network (CNN). The model boosted accuracy to almost 94%. These results were based on the examination of datasets from the International Skin Cancer Collaboration Initiative (ISCI). The decision tree algorithm working with the deep learning model was not only very accurate but required less time for algorithm training and subsequent skin cancer detection compared with earlier approaches.

The team points out that an accuracy rate of almost 94% was achieved after just six training cycles. They were able to achieve well over 99% accuracy if the system was trained over 73 cycles. These results underscore the superiority of the new approach over existing state-of-the-art algorithms for skin cancer detection.

Further improvements might be possible by sharpening the model's ability to assess the characteristics of skin cancer lesions, such asymmetry, border anomalies, colour, and diameter, the ABCD of skin cancer detection.

Varun Kumar, K.A., Sucharitha, S.T., Priyadarshini, R. and Rajendran, N. (2023) 'Comparative approach for discovery of cancerous skin using deep structured learning', Int. J. Nanotechnol., Vol. 20, Nos. 5/6/7/8/9/10, pp.744–758.
DOI: 10.1504/IJNT.2023.134030

A novel way to classify music for the purposes of archiving, sorting and music recommendation has been developed by Yan Yang of the Department of Music and Dance at Hunan University of Science and Engineering in Yongzhou, China. They publish details in the International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations. Their approach can assist with personalised music recommendation by employing a hybrid model based on a user attention mechanism and multi-layer memory to discern the type of musical emotion present in the music and listener behaviour data.

Very few musical artists receive the epithet – genre-defying. Music of all kinds commonly fits into categories albeit some narrower than others whether one is discussing the various forms of classical music, pop and rock, dance music, so-called world music or any other classification. Audiences often place a song into one of a handful of genres they know, while die-hard enthusiasts of a particular genre can discern numerous sub-genres within each category. In today's era of digital music distribution, archiving, and recommendation systems, it would be useful to automate the task of classifying music into genres.

The multi-layer component of the model, which looks at long- and short-term user music preferences can glean what listeners have liked historically but also their current preferences. It combines this information with an attention mechanism to analyze the emotional attributes of the music with which users interact the most.

Yang demonstrated a recall accuracy of almost 98 percent on two different test datasets. These results indicate that the model can provide highly accurate and tailored music recommendations for users. Such an approach will hopefully benefit listeners who will have an improved experience of using a music streaming service, but it will also benefit the business of the streaming service and potentially the artists providing the musical content for those services.

Many different factors affect a listener's music choices at a given time or in a given situation. However, when examining personalized recommendations from the vantage point of behavioural traits and emotional attributes it is possible to find ways to improve the listening experience by homing in on particular pieces of music that will be well received by the listener given their immediate environment, social connections, and other factors.

Yang, Y. (2023) 'Research on long- and short-term music preference recommendation method integrating music emotional attention', Int. J. Networking and Virtual Organisations, Vol. 28, Nos. 2/3/4, pp.381–397.
DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2023.133873

A new framework that combines artificial intelligence (AI) and data fusion techniques could improve product inspection for sustainability and within the context of the so-called circular economy, according to research published in the International Journal of Sustainable Manufacturing. This work could help address the demands for environmental responsibility across various industries.

AI has been with us for many years and many different forms. It has already been widely adopted in industry with the aim of helping to reduce the carbon footprint of various products and to meet consumer expectations for sustainable products. However, according to Robert Schimanek, Pinar Bilge, and Franz Dietrich of the Institute of Machine Tools and Factory Management at TU Berlin, Germany, there is an inherent disconnection between the product lifecycle and the AI applications that might be of benefit and as such effectiveness is thus limited. The researchers have developed a framework, which they hope will overcome this problem and allow data fusion and AI to work together to improve product inspection.

Data fusion involves combining different data sources, including sensor data and business information, to allow AI applications to make better predictions during product inspection, for instance. The framework focuses on finding ways to incorporate business data into the predictive models. The team's focus has been on the automotive aftermarket industry but might well be adapted to other industries.

The researchers add that their framework could become an important part of sustainable manufacturing principles. The key factor is that it can improve the management of product returns and reverse logistics so that they become invaluable resources within multiple lifecycles. The researchers explain that their framework can guide and improve decision-making.

Critical to the success of the framework is that the use of data fusion methods ensures stability and reliability even when prediction sources themselves might fail by adding a human factor to AI-based prediction all in the name of improving sustainability in the industry.

Schimanek, R., Bilge, P. and Dietrich, F. (2022) 'Data fusion for improved circularity through higher quality of prediction and increased reliability of inspection', Int. J. Sustainable Manufacturing, Vol. 5, Nos. 2/3/4, pp.164–199.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSM.2022.134562

A team of engineering students has recently developed and tested a bench-top particle accelerator they call LOKI, to test what happens to different materials when they are hit by micrometeoroids. The device, discussed in the International Journal of Student Project Reporting offers an innovative approach to controlled testing that could help in the design of spacecraft and satellites that face potential collisions with micrometeroids as well as space debris.

Sabine Fuierer of Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, and Noah Manz, Michael Hargather, and Paul Fuierer of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, New Mexico, USA, explain that LOKI can accelerate tiny particles to simulate the typical behaviour of micrometeoroids. The device has the potential to accelerate these particles to speeds of up to almost kilometres per second in a vacuum, almost 14000 km/h.

The students' initial tests have demonstrated they can achieve particle velocities of almost 12000 km/h. They used high-speed videography to monitor particle velocities and observe their effects on different materials, including polyimide, used in space blanketing, and widely used plastic materials, such as acrylic. The team describes classic impact craters caused by the ultra-high-speed collisions on the surfaces of these test materials.

The team suggests that LOKI's practicality, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness could make it a useful tool for this kind of research. Indeed, they suggest that the cost per test would be just US$200. It should allow researchers to assess the effects of micrometeoroid impacts on aerospace materials to be used in space applications including space exploration. The team points out that multiple impact sites with suitable separation distances can be tested in a single experiment, which benefits the requisite statistical analysis.

Fuierer, S., Manz, N., Hargather, M. and Fuierer, P. (2023) 'Design of an explosive micro-particle accelerator to simulate micrometeoroid impacts in space', Int. J. Student Project Reporting, Vol. 1, No. 4, pp.301–327.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSPR.2023.134223

As yet another space rocket is launched and more technology is placed into orbit, the problem of space junk grows and grows, not to mention the pollution from all the fuel burned en route.

A review in the International Journal of Student Project Reporting has looked at possible solutions to the problem of the abundance of space junk. Jennifer Stein, David Castillo, Elise Bedell, Erriana Thomas, and Nicolas Valiente of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, USA, have looked at whether there are cost-effective, environmentally benign, and efficient methods that might be used to minimise the harm from debris in space, which can damage other craft in orbit, potentially harm astronauts, and represent a risk when it falls to earth.

Space junk can be defined as non-functional man-made objects that remain in near-Earth orbit. There is growing concern regarding such debris as there is no way to track it all, especially debris less than 10 millimetres or so in width nor to allow for potential hazards to spacecraft and satellites. Anything larger can be monitored and tracked with telescopes or radar. However, collisions between spacecraft can produce tens of thousands of tiny fragments that might pierce or otherwise damage another craft in the same orbit. A 25-year safety standard is in place that recommends that defunct objects are put into lower orbit so that they can fall into the earth's atmosphere and burn up. Or, if that is not possible they can be moved up to a designated "graveyard" orbit.

The team has reviewed four main approaches to dealing with space debris. They considered Pulsed Laser Ablation. This stands out as a time-efficient method for targeting numerous small- and medium-sized pieces of debris pieces. However, it is a costly approach to the problem. A more cost-effective alternative might be the obviously named Harpoon and Net method. However, this is contingent on the absence of tumbling debris. Another, also obviously named, approach that might be used is the claw capture mechanism. A magnetic capture method was also considered, which could be adept at assimilating debris, even under tumbling conditions. All of these approaches with the exception of laser ablations would take months to capture and drag an object, such as a defunct satellite, into a lower orbit s that it can fall into the earth's atmosphere.

Fundamentally, none of the approaches reviewed would work perfectly, nor are any of them likely to be cost-effective or time-efficient with current technology. However, it might be that a combination of techniques could work synergistically to overcome the drawbacks of each and build on their strengths. Given how much debris is already in orbit around our planet and the continued additions to this debris belt, now is the time to launch research programs to develop the cleanup technology sooner rather than later.

Stein, J., Castillo, D., Bedell, E., Thomas, E. and Valiente, N. (2023) 'A review of possible solutions to mitigate the abundance of space debris', Int. J. Student Project Reporting, Vol. 1, No. 4, pp.349–368.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSPR.2023.134236

The effect of different cultural characteristics can affect the relationships consumers using social media have with different brands, according to research published in the International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing.

Marsela Thanasi-Boçe and Omar Ali of the American University of the Middle East in Kuwait Ayse Begum Ersoy of Cape Breton University in Nova Scotia, Canada, have examined the role social media plays in the differences in the relationships between consumers and brands. The team used Hofstede's cultural dimensions theory to help them understand social media data gathered from users in Albania and Turkey through online surveys. They used statistical analysis to dig deep into the data and compare the characteristics of communication on social media between these two regions.

The team found a positive correlation between social media communications and the strength of consumer-brand relationships. Indeed, the more a user is engaged in social media activity, the stronger is their relationship with a given brand. However, the findings are more nuanced than that. The researchers found that the effect was less pronounced in the culture with the stronger collectivist tendency. This, they suggest, challenges the conventional wisdom with regard to cultural influences on social media behaviour.

It is worth noting, that other variables such as gender and age perhaps paradoxically had little impact on brand relationship quality. This suggests that these relationships transcend demographic boundaries, emphasizing what we might consider their universality.

The findings offer new insights for marketing, In recognising cultural similarities and differences in how consumers respond to social media communications, the work highlights possible new opportunities for businesses to tailor their social media marketing strategies to align with particular cultural characteristics, preferences, and behaviour patterns rather than applying general principles in a region where the impact may be intrinsically weaker.

The work points to a need for companies to craft more effective and culturally sensitive strategies to connect with putative consumers worldwide depending on local culture. Future work will, of course, need to extend the findings from these two areas to a wider base to help support the hypothesis and allow more general conclusions to be drawn about brand relationships and how social media across different cultures influences them.

Thanasi-Boçe, M., Ali, O. and Ersoy, A.B. (2023) 'Developing brand relationships through social media communication: a cross-cultural comparison', Int. J. Electronic Marketing and Retailing, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp.351–370.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEMR.2023.133939

Research in the International Journal of Management Practice has looked at sleep disorders among information technology professionals with respect to psychological distress and conflicts between one's working life and family commitments.

The study by an international team from Bangladesh, Chile and Spain used the statistical tool of partial least squares structural equation modelling to analyse data from a structured questionnaire completed by IT professionals. The work sheds new light on how sleep disorders in this sector are affected by workplace factors. The team found that financial insecurity and job pressure contributed significantly to work-family conflict. In addition, they linked the pressures of the job and excessive work contact to psychological distress. All of these factors then contributed to problems for the professionals in terms of their sleep patterns.

Their findings then suggest that countering these detrimental factors might be achieved by improving a professional's level of job autonomy and the control they have in alleviating their own psychological distress.

Given that financial worries can be a major factor in affecting sleep patterns, employers are advised to take steps to enhance job security. Moreover, they can reduce problems for their workers by reducing work-related communication demands, alleviating job pressures, and increasing job autonomy and control.

The study details point out that work-family conflict contributes around two-thirds of the negative effect, while psychological distress represents about one-quarter of the impact. The findings underline the pivotal role of reducing work-family conflict in improving the sleep quality of IT professionals. The team says that this is the first study to recognise six constructs in addition to financial insecurity as having a detrimental effect on sleep.

Akther, N., Hoque, M.R., Saona, P. and Azad, M.A.K. (2023) 'Sleep disorder among IT professionals: the role of psychological distress and work-family conflict', Int. J. Management Practice, Vol. 16, No. 6, pp.708–726.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEMR.2023.133939

Ambiguous advertising is nothing new. It has been the stock-in-trade of unscrupulous sellers since the very transactions in an ancient market. In the age of social media unethical marketing methods are rife. Research in the International Journal of Technology Marketing acts as a warning to advertisers hoping to exploit consumers in this manner.

The work by Lilia Khrouf of the University of Manouba and Souad Maghraoui of the University of Soussein, both in Tunis, Tunisia, suggests that ambiguous advertisements placed on social media can compromise user trust and brand loyalty when such ambiguity is obvious or is unveiled. The research, which focused on the impact of ambiguity in advertising on one particular social media site, highlighted that vagueness in advertising statements does not persuade users to make a purchase, but tends to lead them to conclude that the advertiser is attempting to manipulate them. This not only results in fewer sales of the advertised products but also reduces positive electronic word-of-mouth activities. Many companies benefit significantly from electronic word-of-mouth as satisfied users share their experience with a product.

The team analysed data from 250 users, applying the statistical technique known as partial least squares structural equation modelling. They suggest that their study fills a gap in our understanding of a relatively unexplored area of advertising research. Earlier studies have debated the putative benefits of ambiguity in advertising communications. This new work clarifies the negative cognitive and behavioural consequences it can trigger.

The researchers suggest that clear and straightforward messaging with a well-defined communication strategy is crucial to strong and successful advertising rather than attempts to confuse and befuddle potential consumers. The team suggests that future work might look at the effects of cross-cultural differences and the socio-cultural context of internet users in terms of understanding this phenomenon and also across other social media.

Khrouf, L. and Maghraoui, S. (2023) 'Is ambiguity an efficient tool in Instagram ads?', Int. J. Technology Marketing, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp.347–362.
DOI: 10.1504/IJTMKT.2023.133970

There are many challenges facing us in the digital age, especially in terms of security and privacy, safeguarding, and human rights. Research published in the International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics has surveyed the realm of human rights in the wake of digitalisation.

Narkes Zhexembayeva, Arailym K. Jangabulova, Guldana A. Kuanalieva, Makhabbat K. Nakisheva, and Bahytkul M. Konysbai of the Department of Customs, Financial and Environmental Law at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan, undertook a comparative study to explore the legal challenges we face in defining digital rights.

There is familiarity with the concepts of human rights in terms of access to clean, drinking water, food, shelter, and safe harbour from threats. In the online world, we might begin to see internet access itself and the protection of users from information and identity theft as being high on the digital rights agenda. The team has undertaken an historical analysis using induction and deduction to examine the issues surrounding digital rights. The researchers' findings highlight the many legal disparities among the member states of the Eurasian Economic Community (EAEU) regarding how we define something as fundamental a digital concept as "information". The paper underscores the need for harmonization in order to protect digital rights more effectively.

The proliferation of information and communications technology, the advent of portable computers and smartphones has led to a focus on digital rights. There is an urgency now seen in removing ambiguity in underdeveloped legal systems that seemingly have no understanding of this parallel universe in which millions of people now spend much of their time despite the decades that have passed since digitalisation began. While some nations do understand the digital world and the concept of information, the EAEU Treaty itself lacks a unified concept of "information" and this disparity represents a serious challenge for those hoping to see the maturation of consistent digital rights protection across the region.

Of course, this area of research has relevance for legal experts dealing with digital human rights violations. The implications extend beyond the EAEU to the global context and emphasize just how important it is that we find a way to harmonize digital rights definitions.

Zhexembayeva, N., Jangabulova, A.K., Kuanalieva, G.A., Nakisheva, M.K. and Konysbai, B.M. (2023) 'Human rights information in the context of digitalisation', Int. J. Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, Vol. 15, No. 6, pp.555–566.
DOI: 10.1504/IJESDF.2023.133963

Research published in the International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development has looked at the environmental impact of food waste on natural resources, primarily water, land, and energy. The work focused on the Metropolitan District of Quito in Ecuador.

The researchers hoped to understand the environmental consequences of domestic food waste. The ultimate aim is to develop initiatives that could reduce food waste and policies that could be implemented in the product supply chain. Sustainability is increasingly important at the local and national levels and in the global arena. The new study offers insights into how sustainable development goals might be achieved and acknowledges the importance of the growing problem of food waste in developing countries, within the context of disparate socio-economic and environmental factors.

There are interesting connections between social and demographic factors and food waste uncovered by the study. The team found, for instance, that individuals with a higher level of education were prone to wasting more food than those of a lower educational background. However, there was no correlation between food waste and factors such as urban or rural residence, family size, or even the age of members of a household. The quantitative work focused on food waste associated with fresh vegetable, rice, and potato consumption. Vegetables and rice led to the generation of far more waste than potatoes, it was discovered, although waste from any source had a significant impact on energy, water, and land footprints.

The findings could offer guidance for policy development to enhance food security for vulnerable populations and simultaneously reduce the pressure on natural resources. The picture of food waste and food security is not wholly clear despite the research and food waste associated with bread consumption, for instance, represents a complex multifactorial aspect of the overall picture. As such, there is a need to understand such complexities in the wider context of food consumption and waste.

There is also a need to understand the economic well-being of small rural farmers and how food waste might be reduced. To guide any initiatives or policies, there is a pressing need to establish a baseline for quantifying food waste and to ensure that policies are based on accurate data so that they have minimal detrimental impact on food producers and vulnerable consumers and at the same time nudge better-educated consumers to consider a more sustainable approach to their eating habits.

Oña-Serrano, X., Viteri-Salazar, O., Cadillo Benalcazar, J.J., Buenaño Guerra, X. and Quelal-Vásconez, M.A. (2023) 'Reducing environmental pressures produced by household food waste: initiatives and policy challenges', Int. J. Environment and Sustainable Development, Vol. 22, No. 4, pp.463–490.
DOI: 10.1504/IJESD.2023.133828

We all know the bleak and desolate scene from a thousand crime dramas – the abandoned building, the blood-stained gravel, the flagging tape that creates a stark cordon around the evidence as it flaps in the chill wind under leaden skies.

Plastic flagging tape is used the world over by law enforcement, construction workers, and many others to create a temporary and obvious boundary around an area that is out-of-bounds to Fred Bloggs, John Doe, and indeed Joanna Public. That's a lot of single-use plastic waste being generated at crime scenes and building sites. Now, a team from Portugal writing in the World Review of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, describes a more environmentally benign material, an eco-friendly, biodegradable flagging tape.

Coloured, non-sticking flagging tape is used for marking up in various situations, such as the aforementioned crime scene cordons, and also for mapping applications, marking hazardous trees, orientation points for hunters, hikers and runners, geocachers, mountain bikers, and others taking part in outdoor pursuits. Fundamentally, there is an issue of sustainability with any flagging tape use, but more so in public usage where the tape may be left in place rather than retrieved and disposed of after an event, for instance. The researchers point out that commonly flagging tape is manufactured from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a non-degradable synthetic polymer.

The study involves the integration of bacterial cellulose (BC) into a cellulose-based film. To enhance its longevity, the team coated this film with one of two natural polymers, chitosan and hyaluronic acid. Additionally, natural pigments from carrots and spinach were used to test how the tape might be coloured for particular applications. Mechanical testing demonstrated the semi-synthetic tape is sufficiently strong for common applications. Surprisingly, uncoated BC tape was stronger than that coated with hyaluronic acid, but the tape coated with chitosan was weaker, as were tapes incorporating the natural pigments.

Striking a balance between durability and biodegradability is a challenge that must be addressed to reduce environmental impact effectively, the work suggests. However, the team found that complete biodegradation did not occur within their three-month test period. The work does lay the foundations for developing a new formulation with improved mechanical properties, pigment uptake, and biodegradability. It is worth noting that PVC is almost entirely resistant to biodegradation and so the use of natural polymers will hopefully mark the way for a more sustainable approach to flagging tape.

Cordeiro, R., Meneses, J., Dourado, F., Pascoal-Faria, P., Moura, C. and Alves, N. (2023) 'Eco-friendly flagging tape', World Review of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, Vol. 19, No. 4, pp.301–313.
DOI: 10.1504/WRSTSD.2023.133886

Research in the International Journal of Sustainable Economy has looked at the interplay between climate variability and the financial health of listed companies in Vietnam with a particular focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The researchers, Nguyen Thi Hoa Hong, Pham Thi Mai Huong, and Nguyen Yen Linh of the Foreign Trade University in Ha Noi, Vietnam, emphasize the importance of risk management for businesses during times of combined challenges. The work could have implications for other developing nations that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and not necessarily resilient in the face of a pandemic.

The team found that there is a negative correlation between financial performance of listed companies in Vietnam and the seemingly unrelated factors of atmospheric pressure, humidity, precipitation, but also the number of COVID-19 cases. Variability in extreme weather conditions and surges in cases of this lethal and highly infectious disease led to worse financial performance and increased economic risks for many businesses in the region.

There are broad implications of the research for businesses in the developing world. The work suggests that companies should primarily adopt measures to mitigate against the impact of climate change particularly with a view to protecting themselves when global events might worsen outcomes. Historical events such as financial crises, wars, and pandemics have already shown us that we live in an inherently uncertain world. Climate change, with its erratic weather patterns, is now adding an additional layer of complexity that not only exists alongside such uncertainties, but can exacerbate the problems those uncertainties bring.

The team suggests that companies need to take proactive steps in the face of crises and in order to protect their business and mitigate the negative impact of such crises. Measures such as investment in weather-resistant infrastructure and drainage systems are now needed as well as a deeper understanding of the putative detrimental effects of climate change. The researchers points out that adaptation strategies ought to be developed to improve company resilience. They add that the diversification of sourcing and production and the use of improved technology for decision-making might all play important roles in coping with emerging crises in the face of climate change.

Hong, N.T.H., Huong, P.T.M. and Linh, N.Y. (2023) 'The effects of weather variability on the performance and risk of Vietnamese listed companies: evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic', Int. J. Sustainable Economy, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp.415–446.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSE.2023.134230

In the age of spellcheckers, autocorrect, and grammar-correcting software one might imagine that there would be a dearth of spelling mistakes and typographical errors on websites and other online information. However, mistakes to slip through. Research in the International Journal of Electronic Finance has looked at how spelling mistakes can reflect badly on those working online and in particular people looking to obtain anonymous peer-to-peer loans.

Previous empirical research has demonstrated that poor spelling on P2P lending websites can act as a proxy for hard credit information. In other words, those borrowers with numerous spelling mistakes in their bid for a loan will often be perceived as representing a less certain prospect for those offering to lend money. The new research from Randall Hucks of Eastern Michigan University, USA, shows that misspellings as a proxy for credit quality is thus perceived as such irrespective of the quality of the material being offered by way of plea by the borrower on a P2P lending site.

Hucks examined various factors that might affect a putative borrower's success on a P2P lending site. Poor spelling proficiency led to lower funding rates and prolonged the waiting period before a loan request was fulfilled. The research suggests that a good quality bid, which means perfect spelling, is essential to quick success for borrowers.

The research also showed that employment length and income would be positively correlated with higher funding rates, while debt-to-income ratios have a detrimental impact. Perhaps surprisingly, income verification by the P2P lending site led to lower funding rates, implying that lenders perceive verified borrowers as less creditworthy. The implications overall are that P2P lenders may not rely solely on conventional credit approaches to estimate credit risk when they evaluate a potential borrower.

The work thus reveals the role of clear communication in a potential borrower's loan descriptions and highlights the interplay between borrower and loan attributes in determining whether or not they will be successful in obtaining the loan they require from the system.

Hucks, R.J. (2023) 'On the effects of misspellings on lender demand in peer-to-peer lending', Int. J. Electronic Finance, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp.374–402.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEF.2023.133841

Research in the International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning has investigated the phenomenon of cancel culture and homed in on the emerging problem for companies of "brand cancellation." The work sheds light on the motivations and strategies that have led to this trend in the world of social media and beyond.

The work from Christina Kyriakou, Tao Papaioannou, and Marcos Komodromos of the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, alludes to cancel culture in which individuals or entities are, perhaps rightly, held accountable for their actions or statements, The results are based on an analysis of twenty in-depth interviews with communication and marketing professionals. It offers new insights into the nature of brand cancellation.

Offensive advertising content is apparently the primary driver behind brand cancellation. How we define offensive is a moot point as there will always be a proportion of any audience that will be sensitive or triggered by a given advertisement. Nevertheless, there is certain content that can be more obviously defined as offensive, such as sexist, racist, or otherwise discriminatory content, political propaganda, victim-blaming, and other matters. Additionally, if a brand's ethical stance concerns beauty standards, gender equality, environmental policies, and health concerns, then these too can play a significant role in the cancellation of a brand.

The research has shown that anonymity on social media, peer pressure, and a desire for justice can motivate individuals to participate in a brand cancellation. Seemingly, nothing more sophisticated than unfollowing a brand has become a significant way to express one's disapproval of a problematic brand. It allows consumers to quietly distance themselves from the brand and thus to potentially reduce the brand's reach and ultimately affect its profits. That said, in some cases, excessive or unjustified hate comments directed at a particular brand can have the reverse effect and even lead to increased support for that brand.

The research underscores the need for businesses to effectively manage their response to brand cancellation. Inevitably, from the company's perspective, they need to be aware that there is a way back from cancellation. Usually, a sincere public apology and the implementation of corrective action in response to a controversy will help. Brand management and citizen activism can be at odds, but there is space for compromise and acceptance on both sides.

Kyriakou, C., Papaioannou, T. and Komodromos, M. (2023) 'Online criticism and cancel culture in digital marketing: a case study of audience perceptions of brand cancellation', Int. J. Technology Enhanced Learning, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp.412–427.
DOI: 10.1504/IJTEL.2023.133788

Research in the International Journal of Biometrics has looked at how deep learning can be used to analyse spectrogram images of the human eye and its movements as a biometric tool.

Antonio Ricardo Alexandre Brasil and Patrick Marques Ciarelli of the Federal University of Espírito Santo in Vitória and Izabella Martins da Costa Rodrigues, Jefferson Oliveira Andrade, and Karin Satie Komati of the Federal Institute of Espírito Santo in Serra, Brazil, have developed a novel approach to personal identification based on eye movements for recognition and security applications. Their biometric technique has proven resilient to fraudulent attempts because it focuses on the involuntary nature of certain eye movements.

Conventionally, identifying individuals through eye movements required manual feature extraction from the data. Brasil and colleagues have circumvented the inherent problems with that approach by converting recorded eye movements into a data signal that can be processed by an algorithm trained on known data. Specifically, they use deep convolutional architecture to process the Cartesian coordinates, the points where the eyes are looking over time and the gaze angles of volunteers.

The team were able to achieve an accuracy of around 73% for eye angle spectrogram identification and 65% for eye coordinate spectrogram identification testing against the DOVES dataset. Taken together, this would be effective at identifying an individual from their unique pattern of eye movements and is, the team says, the first time spectrograms have been used in this way.

The spectrograms generated from gaze angles outperformed those based on only Cartesian coordinates. Future research using larger and more diverse datasets has the potential to improve analysis and accuracy still further, the team suggests. The researchers also plan to investigate alternative methodologies, such as using long short-term memory (LSTM) layers and fixation density map (FDM) to boost accuracy.

Brasil, A.R.A., Ciarelli, P.M., Rodrigues, I.M.d.C., Andrade, J.O. and Komati, K.S. (2023) 'Deep learning with spectrogram image of eye movement for biometrics', Int. J. Biometrics, Vol. 15, No. 6, pp.726–744.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBM.2023.133962

Intensive dairy cattle farming is a significant source of methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas, that contributes to global warming and thus climate change. A study in the International Journal of Global Warming has looked at emissions in part of Turkey from 2016 to 2020 to determine what might be done to reduce emissions of this gas.

The study undertaken by researchers in Poland and Turkey focused on methane emissions resulting from enteric fermentation and manure management and showed that over the four-year period, dairy cattle farming in the region contributed more than 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere. Almost 1 million tonnes was attributed to methane emissions with more than 98 percent of those due to enteric fermentation and less than 2 percent due to manure management.

The team's findings underscore the significance of enteric methane emission from cattle and highlights the need to address this issue. The researchers suggest that carefully selecting silage feeds and improving their nutritional content with minerals and vitamins could be used to reduce the amount of methane gas produced in the alimentary tract of the cattle and so cut emissions.

The findings have broader implications beyond Turkey. As the global population continues to grow, the demand for livestock production, including dairy cattle farming, is expected to rise. Consequently, mitigating methane emissions is of increasing importance, necessitating strategies involving dietary adjustments and producer awareness.

The work also alludes to how broader measures, such as tree-planting, afforestation, initiatives and the promotion of renewable energy sources, might also enhance overall environmental sustainability. Balancing emission reduction with the economic viability of dairy cattle enterprises presents an ongoing environmental challenge.

This research has demonstrated that strategies that focus on manure management are perhaps misplaced and that feed selection should be looked at more closely as a way to ameliorate methane emissions from dairy cattle. Given that there will be a demand, and a growing demand at that, for dairy products in the foreseeable future, the need to address methane emissions remains a pressing one.

Atilgan, A., Rolbiecki, R., Ertop, H., Kociecka, J., Aksoy, E. and Saltuk, B. (2023) 'Determination of global warming potential of dairy cattle farms', Int. J. Global Warming, Vol. 31, No. 2, pp.178–193.
DOI: 10.1504/IJGW.2023.133982

Research in the International Journal of Vehicle Systems Modelling and Testing has investigated how the rolling resistance of bicycle tyres against the road surface are most affected by ambient temperature and the pressure to which the tyres have been inflated. The findings could have implications for tyre design and maintenance when considering the efficiency of e-bikes that have a motor to assist the cyclist's pedal power.

Malte Rothhämel of KTH Vehicle Dynamics at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden carried out controlled tests using a specially designed apparatus called a "one-degree-of-freedom, two-wheeled pendulum." This apparatus consisted of two bicycle wheels connected to a pipe with an attached eccentric weight (pendulum) and an additional centred weight to adjust the vertical load on the tires.

Rothhämel reports that as ambient temperature decreased, the rolling resistance coefficient increased. This was particularly noticeable above freezing point. It is essential that temperature dependency is taken into account when carrying out real-world testing, the work suggests.

He also found, as one might expect, that higher tyre pressure resulted in lower resistance. Changes in vertical load had little effect on resistance, but needs to be taken into account when determining the friction coefficient. The width of the tyres only had about a ten percent impact. Wider tyres have slightly lower rolling resistance but this effect is more pronounced at higher tyre pressure.

Air resistance and the incline and surface of the road also play a part, but generally, in urban cycling it is rolling resistance that plays the biggest part. That said, at higher speeds, air resistance also becomes a significant factor. Topology, traffic and wind also affect overall cycling efficiency.

Rolling resistance is an important factor in how much work a cyclist and their assistance motor if they are riding an e-bike needs to do on a journey. Greater unwarranted resistance means the cyclist and the motor need to work harder, which means a greater drain on the battery. As transport systems begin to focus more on motor-assisted pedal power, there is a need to understand rolling resistance and efficiency to improve the journey and cut energy costs for e-bike riders.

Rothhämel, M. (2023) 'On rolling resistance of bicycle tyres with ambient temperature in focus', Int. J. Vehicle Systems Modelling and Testing, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp.67–80.
DOI: 10.1504/IJVSMT.2023.132317

Research in the European Journal of International Management has looked at the strategic approaches employed by Chinese Multinational Enterprises (CMNEs) in Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions (CBMAs). The comprehensive analysis by Juan Wu and Dirk Morschett of the University of Fribourg in Fribourg, Switzerland challenges the assumptions made in this area and reveals a more nuanced perspective on the activity of CMNEs in the global business arena.

CMNEs have been increasingly active in acquiring companies in developed economies through CBMAs. Their activity might be described as being driven by the concept of Strategic Asset Seeking (SAS). Wu and Morschett have looked at the motivations and outcomes of twelve CBMAs, examining events from the perspective of both the acquiring and the acquired companies. Their findings reveal a complex interplay of assets, where CMNEs use their existing country-specific and company-specific resources to complement their Western counterparts. Perhaps surprisingly, the work suggests, this balanced approach facilitates the bundling of resources, leading to innovation and technology transfer in both directions.

One side effect of the team's approach is that they have been able to refine our understanding of the Strategic Asset Seeking concept itself. They have introduced a dual perspective framework for analyzing assets in CBMAs and this opens up new insights into the role of strategic assets in the internationalization process. Moreover, the concept underscores how there needs to be a synergy between the country-specific and company-specific assets of the CMNes that allows for the effective acquisition and bundling of Western assets.

The research also suggests that where we may once have thought of CMNEs as focusing on cost reduction and knowledge transfer, there is a commitment to collaboration, technology exchange, and additional investments in target companies. Indeed, CMNEs often retain acquired Western firms as centres for high-end markets and utilise this stance for the benefit of various aspects of their business.

These findings could offer insights into asset bundling strategies for companies elsewhere in the developed and emerging economies who might wish to garner mutual value creation by working with Western companies too.

Wu, J. and Morschett, D. (2023) 'M&As by Chinese multinational enterprises in developed economies: strategic asset seeking and bundling', European J. International Management, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp.460–488.
DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2023.133938

Wearable health technology has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, revolutionizing the way we monitor our personal well-being and especially among vulnerable sectors of the population. A study in the International Journal of Business Information Systems has carried out a systematic mapping of the literature to see how other researchers undertake work investigating the perception and acceptance of these innovative healthcare tools. The work offers invaluable insights into how such studies might be improved to gain more information and to preclude biases.

Gustavo Lopes Dominguete, Marluce Rodrigues Pereira, and Andre Pimenta Freire of the Federal University of Lavras in Brazil, analysed the vast corpus of research in this field from sources including Scopus, Web of Science, and PubMed. Their goal was to understand the methods used to evaluate the acceptance of wearable health systems and to pinpoint the key factors influencing how those studies are done and to highlight how they might be improved to better understand the results.

They pooled almost 400 research papers and then homed in on the most pertinent twenty. What they saw was a clear picture of the methods commonly used to gauge user perspectives on wearable health systems: the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and the System Usability Scale (SUS). These tools are usually used to analyse data from questionnaires and have proven effective. The research seemed to focus on two particular areas of wearable use: fall detection and physical activity monitoring among older people.

The widespread availability of smart bands and smartwatches has made these functions accessible to a broad user base and so research into their use has come to predominate, the team reports. As such, the research literature commonly looks at the 'perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use of such devices. While it is important to understand how these two factors affect user acceptance, that does mean that other factors are less well investigated but might just as easily have importance.

The researchers suggest that future studies ought to consider other factors and the broader context of the use of wearables for these and other applications. For instance, the work they analysed did not generally pay much attention to considerations such as hygiene, aesthetics, or privacy risks. The dearth of information on the influence of such factors suggests that new investigations need more detailed questionnaires and larger user samples across more diverse demographics, age groups, and cultural and social contexts. Qualitative studies that took such variables into account could provide a more detailed picture of user perception of user healthcare wearables and so help guide research and technology in that area to the benefit of users and their caregivers.

Dominguete, G.L., Pereira, M.R. and Freire, A.P. (2023) 'Acceptance of wearable health technologies: a mapping of the state of the art', Int. J. Business Information Systems, Vol. 44, No. 1, pp.137–159.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBIS.2023.133514

Research in the International Journal of Arts and Technology outlines a new approach to the recognition of the emotional content of music, addressing many of the challenges in this field and opening up the possibility of classifying music more accurately for efficient retrieval. Fanguang Zeng of the Academy of Music at Pingdingshan University, China, explains how his approach based on multiple data fusion achieves an accuracy of up to 99% and takes less than 14 seconds per task.

Traditional methods of music emotion recognition have struggled with issues such as low accuracy and lengthy processing times, limiting their effectiveness in music retrieval and recommendation systems. Zeng's approach uses non-negative matrix decomposition, a technique that breaks down multimodal music emotion into separate audio and text-based emotional data to improve accuracy and reduce processing time considerably.

The approach can extract emotional features from both the audio and the lyrical content of a music file. Audio features encompass elements such as pitch and intensity, while text features can be analysed for particular words and phrases associated with a given emotion using Doc2Vec. Zeng's system then weights the various characteristics, fuses, and processes them to provide a multimodal music emotional dataset. The analysis uses a support vector machine to process the normalized multimodal data.

Zeng reports a significant improvement over conventional approaches, demonstrating markedly improved accuracy and a substantial reduction in the length of time needed to classify a given piece of music. The work thus addresses the need for efficient music retrieval based on the emotional characteristics of music content in a large streaming system for instance. Swift and accurate recognition would allow a large amount of music to be appropriately tagged so that a listener could home in on a selection of music based on its emotional content to suit their mood, for instance. The same approach would be useful in music recommendation systems, personalized playlists, and music therapy applications. It could also be used by content creators to associated a specific mood to their output, whether a podcast, photographic montage or other kinds of production.

Zeng, F. (2023) 'Multimodal music emotion recognition method based on multi data fusion', Int. J. Arts and Technology, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp.271–282.
DOI: 10.1504/IJART.2023.133662

In business, established companies are facing increasing pressure to embrace sustainability. To address this challenge, many incumbents are turning to corporate venturing, a process that involves collaborating with startups to tap into innovation and explore new markets.

A study in the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing reports an analysis of a systematic research literature review and the outcome of expert interviews. It offers new insights into how incumbents choose startups for these collaborations, shedding light on the criteria and preferences that drive their choices. These results could have implications for both established businesses and those deeply involved in the startup ecosystem.

Lucia Brandt and Stefanie Bröring of Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, Natalie Laibach of the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics in Barcelona, Spain, and Carolin Kamrath of the University of Bonn, Germany, found five key criteria that help incumbents evaluate startups for corporate venturing. First, they place a high priority on the startup's team, scrutinizing factors such as experience, commitment, professionalism, and technical expertise. A strong team underpins success in such partnerships. Secondly, they assessed the novelty of the startups' ideas and technologies, with particular emphasis on how well these align with the incumbent's own capabilities.

The researchers also found that market-related factors, such as growth potential, market acceptance, and the startup's market orientation, are also important in predicting whether a collaboration will be successful. They add that financial stability and access to resources, whether from public funds or existing investors, are crucial for ensuring the startup's sustainability. Lastly, strategic alignment plays a pivotal role, with incumbents seeking startups that strengthen, complement, and expand their own core values and abilities. Ultimately, the criteria will guide the incumbents as to whether they feel the collaboration will meet their own long-term objectives as well as be of mutual benefit.

The team's interviews with experts, conducted as part of the study, also revealed some additional preferences among incumbents. It was found that incumbents value a strong personal fit between their own business team and that of the startup. The emphasis is on trust, commitment, enthusiasm, and professionalism. Moreover, those startups that are better aligned with the incumbent's long-term vision, especially in the fields of digital and sustainable technologies, are even more highly sought after.

Also apparent is that incumbents will focus on customer-centric business models and markets undergoing transitions as these are considered particularly advantageous in terms of business development and the company's bottom line. That said, while financial considerations are important, they tend not to be at the forefront of the decision-making process when compared with the other factors discussed.

Brandt, L., Laibach, N., Kamrath, C. and Bröring, S. (2023) 'Start-up selection criteria for corporate venturing: what matters for incumbents?', Int. J. Entrepreneurial Venturing, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp.381–408.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEV.2023.133464

Music can be healing for all of us, but what about the mental health of musicians themselves grappling with the challenges of their working lives?

Research in the International Journal of Arts and Technology has looked at the emotional and psychological challenges apparently faced by almost three-quarters of jobbing musicians. Stress, anxiety, and depression are all high on the agenda it seems and part of the problems arise because of the highly competitive nature of the music industry and earlier in the world of music education competitions.

Crismary Ospina Gallego, Maria Nuria Lloret Romero, and Valeria Herrero Ruiz of the Universitat Polytecnica de Valencia, in Spain, delve into the connection between the pressures of music education competitions and the alarming rates of mental health issues among musicians. The work reveals how these competitions can trigger negative emotions and conditions detrimental to artists, including isolation, loneliness, anxiety, stress, and even aggression. The study looks at the historical roots of authoritarianism in the world of music, tracing the lineage of dictatorial teaching styles that contribute to a toxic work environment and foster individualism among musicians. Even in putatively one of the most collaborative of environments, making music, the team found that musicians can often struggle with sharing and empathy. The competitive world within music can improve musical proficiency but can also inadvertently foster counter-empathetic behaviour.

Critically, the team does not simply offer a diagnosis but develops a possible solution to the problem. They advocate a more holistic approach to music education aimed at promoting healthier performance results, mitigating the adverse effects of competitions on the mental health and physical well-being of artists.

Drawing from the past, the research offers valuable lessons for the music industry. They underscore the importance of artists supporting one another, creating together, and utilizing platforms prioritizing their well-being and fair compensation. The team also advocates for interdisciplinary collaboration, where musicians combine their expertise with other fields to find innovative solutions to common challenges.

In the digital age, where loneliness and isolation can become rife, the researchers discuss the potential of collaborative initiatives to reduce any harmful effects of this isolation.

Gallego, C.O., Romero, M.N.L. and Ruiz, V.H. (2023) 'Present and past of competition versus sharing economy in the music live industry', Int. J. Arts and Technology, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp.257–270.
DOI: 10.1504/IJART.2023.133661

Research in the International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management could help industries grappling with the challenges of creating effective Product-Service Systems (PSS). The work introduces an innovative framework designed to streamline the design and implementation of these systems.

PSS represent intricate combinations of products and services aimed at meeting the ever-evolving needs of customers. However, the success of such systems hinges on building a solid foundation in order to support the value network.

Sophie Peillon of the University of Lyon, Khaled Medini of the University Clermont Auvergne, France, and Thorsten Wuest of West Virginia University, USA have focused on PSS models in the cheese industry in order to help mature the role of value networks. With their work, they introduce a structured approach to decision-making in PSS design. Their approach offers methodical guidance and operational tools for this, and putatively other, industries hoping to improve the efficiency of their business. The framework will allow better collaboration between the various stakeholders, the team suggests, by facilitating a comprehensive analysis of value networks, revenue streams, costs, and value-capture mechanisms. Ultimately, the framework is about enabling constructive discussions and consensus building.

The team points out that their approach is particularly apt for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs often have particular challenges when exploring PSS offerings, including the need for transparent discussions among partners and the cultivation of trust and collaboration. The framework simplifies the process of creating PSS value networks and assessing value capture, making it an indispensable resource for SMEs attempting to improve their business strategy.

The main contribution of the research paper to the field is fundamentally how it can involve all stakeholder perspectives and address their needs. It offers practical guidance to practitioners dealing with uncertainty and concerns related to value creation and capture in PSS.

Peillon, S., Medini, K. and Wuest, T. (2023) 'Building win-win value networks for product-service systems' delivery', Int. J. Manufacturing Technology and Management, Vol. 37, Nos. 5/6, pp.619–637.
DOI: 10.1504/IJMTM.2023.133693

Transport is at a crossroads as we move away from filling our tanks with liquid fossil fuels and powering them up from battery charging points. However, the lithium-ion batteries that displaced those tanks have a finite lifespan and must be replaced when their recharge capacity falls below a usable level. With millions of electric vehicles set to be driving our roads in the coming decades, the shift to a promised greener, cleaner future for transport is well underway…but only if we can manage the battery waste and ensure that their batteries don't end up in a pile-up of electrical waste.

Writing in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management, a team from India has carried out a critical review of where we stand in terms of transport and the future problem of battery waste and lost resources. Preeti Mishra and Sayali Apte of the Department of Civil Engineering at Symbiosis International (Deemed University) in Pune, Maharashtra, have examined key elements of the growing electric vehicle market. They have looked at the impact on the environment and the crucial role of recycling in making the industry sustainable. The team underscores the need for sustainable solutions from both the environmental and the human health perspective.

The so-called EV30@30 scenario suggests that we will be driving well over 43 million electric vehicles by 2030. Research into the long-term impact suggests that this transition will reduce pollution and our dependency on fossil fuels, provided power generation for those vehicles is sustainable, but there will also be an increase in electrical waste generation as the years roll by.

Recycling might reduce some of the waste and allow re-use of precious resources, but there will still be a lot of heavy metal waste that will end up in landfills the world over. Much of the research into this issue has been done in China and the USA modelling how the waste might be managed, but there is a dearth of research in developing countries, the team writes. Of course, in places where this is less research being undertaken, the problem of electrical and electronic waste ending up in landfill will inevitably be greatest, the review suggests.

Electric vehicles will hopefully motor us towards greener, cleaner transport, but there is always a compromise in the form of the waste management challenges they present, which are very different from those we have had to cope with in the era of the internal combustion engine. The issues cannot be off-roaded, they require immediate attention to allow us to develop sustainable battery chemistry, waste management techniques, and recycling practices.

Mishra, P. and Apte, S. (2023) 'Geo-environmental and human health impacts of spent lithium-ion battery waste and its recycling: a critical review', Int. J. Environment and Waste Management, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp.286–300.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEWM.2023.133591

Research in the International Journal of Grid and Utility Computing has shown how an adaptive approach to the size of data "chunks" in cloud computing storage systems can improve efficiency considerably.

Chalabi Baya of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Informatique in Alger, Algeria and Slimani Yahya of the Universitié de La Manouba in Tunisia have considered the way in which unstructured data is stored as BLOBs (Binary Large Objects), in the cloud. They point out that most data management systems use data chunk sizes equal to a given BLOB but this seemingly simplistic approach belies a problem – BLOB sizes are not all equal. BLOBs are fundamental components in cloud computing and the issue of size puts obsactles in the way of moving data leading to inconsistent data access across systems, thus reducing efficiency. A reduction in efficiency means energy is wasted in shuttling and storing data.

The team points out that there are always compromises to be made in attempting to improve efficiency in computing systems. "As the chunk size affects the bandwidth, if the size of the chunk is small, then the network will be overloaded," the team explains. "On the other hand, if the chunk size is big and data are being accessed concurrently, the response time increases."

To help overcome the various problems, the researchers have developed an adaptive approach that tailors the chunk size dynamically based on a set of real-time metrics. These metrics encompass factors such as available bandwidth, storage usage, BLOB size, and the frequency of data access.

In tests to compare the new approach with fixed chunk-size methods, the team saw a 24% improvement in execution times and a 96% improvement over the random chunk-size methods. The researchers add that their data-striping technique might also be used with other data management systems. They are planning to test their approach with real-world cloud computing platforms, such as BlobSeer and Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS).

Baya, C. and Yahya, S. (2023) 'Efficient data storage: adaptively changing chunk size in cloud computing storage systems', Int. J. Grid and Utility Computing, Vol. 14, No. 5, pp.516–525.
DOI: 10.1504/IJGUC.2023.133455

In the questioning words of the 1955 Pete Seeger song: "Where have all the flowers gone? Long time passing". Well, it seems Miami is where they've all gone and it's not taking them so long, after all.

Research in the International Journal of Teaching and Case Studies has shown how Miami International Airport (MIA) blossomed into the main entry point for 90% of fresh-cut flowers imported into the USA. The seed of the study used the Theory of Constraints (TOC) to analyze the way in which the airport optimized its operations to handle perishable cut flowers efficiently.

The work by Janaina Siegler of the Lacy School of Business at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, shows that crucial to its growth was addressing the need for a robust cold chain infrastructure given the highly perishable nature of cut flowers. Temperature control during transportation and storage is imperative and so MIA streamlined the unloading and storage in temperature-controlled warehouses that could cope with the hothouse that is the city of Miami.

In addition to the climatic constraints, MIA also had to effectively manage the customs process. The management realised that customs inspections at other US airports could be a significant bottleneck in the processing of goods and such delays could easily lead to floral droop. MIA thus pre-positioned flowers in its cold warehouses and so made customs inspections more efficient and cost-effective by reducing the number of ailing blooms. The airport thus was able to outperform many other airports in this regard.

Of course, the geographical position of MIA in Florida and its proximity to Latin America plays a significant role in its success, not least because of shared language and cultural factors. This allowed cargo aircraft loaded with colourful blooms to be efficiently transported from Bogota, Colombia, for instance, and for those same aeroplanes to return with products destined for southern countries. MIA thus fertilised a symbiotic relationship, which added mutual economic value to the two-way supply and demand chains.

The work provides invaluable insights into how strategic decisions and optimization of constraints can shape supply chains. The US cut-flower industry sustains more than 200000 jobs across various sectors, including importers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, and the florists themselves. Those insights could help researchers, policymakers, and various stakeholders better understand the dynamics behind MIA's role in this sector and so help improve future supply chain strategies and economic decisions. It might also help improve supply chains elsewhere in other import and export sectors.

Siegler, J. (2020) 'How Miami became the gateway for flowers in the USA', Int. J. Teaching and Case Studies, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp.208–222.
DOI: 10.1504/IJTCS.2020.111136

Research in the International Journal of Power and Energy Conversion outlines an approach to cleaning photovoltaic (PV) solar panels to ensure they operate at maximum power-generation efficiency. The automatic and portable cleaning system, which can be adapted for different panel sizes is designed to combat efficiency reduction of up to 40% caused by the accumulation of dust on the sunlight-absorbing upper surface of PV panels. Dust and dirt accumulation have always been a significant problem undermining the performance of PVs.

Fulton Carlos Reategui-Ordoñez, Fernando Paredes Marchena, Juan Eduardo Reategui-Ordoñez, Hugo Guillermo, and Jimenez Pacheco of the Universidad Católica de Santa María in San José, Perú, focused on the impact of climate variations on PV cleanliness. They found that dust accumulation led to a remarkable reduction in panel efficiency with a fall of more than 11% and sometimes a peak reduction of 39.6% occurring during maximal incident sunlight. They add that a panel's fill factor (FF), a critical indicator of efficiency, drops significantly if a panel is coated with dust or otherwise dirty. Dust accumulation is, of course, dependent on local conditions and so an automated cleaning system would be most useful in some regions more than others.

Manual cleaning or relying on natural weather conditions are not optimal solutions and so the team has developed an automatic cleaning system that can consistently restore a panel to near-pristine conditions and so maximise efficiency. The system would be relatively easy to install and utilises a computerised controller to time cleaning and a microfibre cloth to remove dust without scratching the panel.

Reategui-Ordoñez, F.C., Paredes Marchena, F., Reategui-Ordoñez, J.E. and Jimenez Pacheco, H.G. (2023) 'Automatic and portable cleaning photovoltaic solar panels mechanism', Int. J. Power and Energy Conversion, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp.75–91.
DOI: 10.1504/IJPEC.2023.133629

A study in the International Journal of Business Excellence has revealed how accountability in the performance of social village-owned enterprises (VOEs) is critical to their meeting both their social mission and achieving financial viability without compromising either. The research, which focused on VOEs across four districts, examined 451 participants and showed how social ethics and financial aims must be delicately balanced.

Yesi Mutia Basri, Hariadi Yasni, Poppy Nurmayanti M., and Novita Indrawati of the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Riau in Pekanbaru, Indonesia, explain that accountability is the pivot about which an organisation must balance its social impact and financial security. Moreover, when social organizations are held accountable for their actions and decisions, they tend to perform better both in terms of their social mission and financial health, the team found. This connection underscores the need for a clear approach to the organisation's social goals and its finances.

However, the team also showed that there can be confounding factors that can tip this delicate balance. They suggest that institutional pressures can affect the interplay between accountability and performance. Such pressures, which may arise from regulations, community expectations, or even the support of other organizations can reduce accountability and have a detrimental impact on financial performance and social aims within VOEs.

There are, of course, other factors at play such as public and business transparency and the rule of law. Indeed, the findings could offer some guidance to governments in the formulation of policies to enhance accountability within social organizations.

The team suggests that in order to build on the findings, future work will look at a wider range of social organization types and examine the impact of various governance principles as well as study the broader political context of the activities of those organisations. Such would add to our understanding of organizational accountability.

Basri, Y.M., Yasni, H., Nurmayanti M., P. and Indrawati, N. (2023) 'Accountability in social enterprises: the role of institutional pressure and social performance', Int. J. Business Excellence, Vol. 31, No. 1, pp.155–175.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBEX.2023.133579

Research in the International Journal of Business Information Systems investigates user perception of mobile device security and offers several recommendations for users and manufacturers of such devices.

Nelson Tochukwu Agu, Joshua Ebere Chukwuere, and Tlhalitshi Volition Montshiwa of North-West University in Mahikeng, South Africa, offer several alarming insights into awareness of mobile security issues among students in the region. Their primary finding from a survey of 142 students at NWU is that some students mistakenly believe that mobile phones are inherently secure and others do not realise that such devices can be less secure than traditional desktop or laptop computers. The work suggests that there is a need for increased vigilance and education regarding mobile device security.

The team also found that while most users have a basic understanding of mobile device security, many of them lack knowledge of even common threats such as viruses, worms, Trojans, and phishing attacks. The researchers believe that this knowledge gap is particularly troubling, as it implies a lack of vigilance in safeguarding mobile devices against these various threats. Many such threats could detrimentally affect the individuals involved, but many have much broader implications allowing the spread of malware to other users and for malicious third parties to compromise devices and so build networks, botnets, under their control for illicit purposes, such as distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks on organisational and governmental networks, for instance.

The team also found that even those users who understand password protection, many of them neglect additional security measures such as encryption, PINs, patterns, or biometric authentication. They point out that users are happy to engage in risky behaviour, such as ignoring system security warnings, clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources, as well as over-sharing personal information on social media platforms, which might be useful to a third-party hoping to carry an identity theft or in fraudulent activity, based on social engineering in which a confidence trick is played out on an individual or member of an organisation rather than an attack being technological in nature, such as hacking or cracking to break into and compromise a computer system.

The researchers suggest that education of users is critical to bolster mobile phone security, but they insist that device manufacturers should also bear responsibility in addressing this issue and should be proactive in this educational process.

Agu, N.T., Chukwuere, J.E. and Montshiwa, T.V. (2023) 'Understanding users' perceptions of security in mobile devices using the two-step cluster analysis', Int. J. Business Information Systems, Vol. 44, No. 1, pp.81–101.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBIS.2023.133513

A research study in International Journal of Behavioural and Healthcare Research has found a profound connection between the dynamics of the work environment and the widespread problem of burnout syndrome among professors in Brazilian academic institutions. The study considers six key facets of work life outlined by the areas of work life scale (AWS) – workload, control, reward, community, fairness, and values, and uses them to discern insights into their predictive potential of academic burnout.

The team of Adriana Porto (Lutheran University of Brazil), Luis Felipe Dias Lopes (Federal University of Santa Maria), and Claudimar Pereira da Veiga (Fundação Dom Cabral) used the Maslach Burnout Inventory General Survey (MBI-GS) tool, which they tailored and calibrated for the Brazilian context, to delve into the measurement of three distinct dimensions of burnout: exhaustion, cynicism, and efficacy.

The team used data from 558 professors to look at aspects of the work environment and its impact on burnout within Brazilian academia. The findings validate the assertion that understanding the six areas of work life can significantly influence how burnout manifests and evolves within this sector.

Burnout, while commonly used in the vernacular represents a complex syndrome characterized by chronic workplace stress that has not been effectively managed. It can lead to physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. These problems, in turn, can lead to cynicism and detachment from one's work as well as a diminished sense of personal accomplishment and efficacy. Chronic burnout has far-reaching implications for those affected having a detrimental impact on well-being and physical health. It can also affect the workplace in which they find themselves leading to problems with productivity in the workplace, affecting those whom the workers serve. And, ultimately society at large and the wider economy, healthcare, education, and public services.

There is an urgent need for organizations to understand the multi-faceted nature of burnout and its connection with the work environment. Proactive measures addressing workload, control, rewards, community, fairness, and values can help create nurturing work environments that mitigate burnout risks. The research offers an invaluable roadmap for organizations to design interventions focused on enhancing employee well-being, and so fostering a healthier, more productive workforce and positively contributing to society more broadly.

Porto, A., Lopes, L.F.D. and da Veiga, C.P. (2023) 'Areas of worklife as predictors of the burnout syndrome', Int. J. Behavioural and Healthcare Research, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp.1–17.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBHR.2023.133535

Research in the International Journal of Enterprise Network Management reveals unexpected factors that influence an employee's intentions to quit their job in information technology. The findings challenge the received wisdom and could shed light on the dynamic role of online professional networking and social media profile updates.

There has been much research in employee intention to quit as it can have a significant impact on a wide range of organisations. Conventionally, researchers have focused on factors such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment. These are the standard key indicators that can help predict which employees might be planning to leave and so allow organisations to perhaps manage staff turnover more effectively. However, there was an obvious gap in understanding how online activities, such as updating job profiles on social media platforms and engaging in professional networking sites, affect a person's intention to leave a job.

Ashish Kumar Biswas of Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (Deemed to be University) in Hyderabad, R. Seethalakshmi of VIT-AP University in Amaravati, and Prabha Mariappan of Veltech University in Chennai, India, have employed a quantitative survey approach involving almost 600 participants and used a structural equation model to test their hypothesis and hopefully help fill this gap in our understanding of employee intention to quit.

The team found that, as one might anticipate, an increased engagement in professional networking sites ultimately influences an individual's intention to leave their current job and find employment elsewhere. This is not necessarily an obvious factor as many people might daydream about finding a new job and investigate their options, perhaps even uploading their CV (curriculum vitae or résumé) to a job-seekers web site, but a certain level of activity might nudge them towards quitting whereas casual interaction with such websites would not necessarily reinforce the tendency. Online activity of this kind cannot be ignored as an influential factor in affecting an individual's intentions in much the same way as job satisfaction and level of engagement should not be ignored, especially if they are dwindling. Moreover, the research suggests that employee commitment to a job is dynamic and can fluctuate with changing circumstances.

The team suggests that even highly committed employees might intensify their job search efforts, but this doesn't necessarily translate to higher turnover rates. In contrast, those members of staff who are not committed to their jobs may choose to stay with their current employer for various reasons, such as a competitive job market or personal obligations, and perhaps because they do not see the opportunities that might exist via social media and job-seekers websites.

Biswas, A.K., Seethalakshmi, R. and Mariappan, P. (2023) 'An emerging approach towards intention to quit among IT employees', Int. J. Enterprise Network Management, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp.283–298.
DOI: 10.1504/IJENM.2023.132967

Cyberattacks are a major problem for all kinds of organizations with the potential to compromise e-commerce, government, and healthcare. Research in the International Journal of Critical Infrastructures, highlights how Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which are not necessarily as well protected as conventional computers in terms of firewalls, antivirus, and malware protection, can represent an important vulnerability in a system. Such threats extend beyond potential financial loss where they can disrupt infrastructure, government, and even threaten human lives, particularly in healthcare facilities.

Taofeek Mobolarinwa Balogun, and Hayretdin Bahsi of Tallinn University of Technology in Tallinn, Estonia, and Omer F. Keskin and Unal Tatar of the University at Albany, State University of New York, USA offer a comparative framework for modelling the threat of cyber attack on IoT devices and networks.

The team's new framework can be used to evaluate particular vulnerabilities within an IoT network from the perspective of a putative third-party attacker. The framework can critically assess what factors are involved in determining the level of sophistication needed to carry out a successful cyberattack that causes damage to the system. It is more common not to consider the sophistication of an attacker but simply to harden firewalls and keep antimalware software up to date and hope these are sufficient to protect the system from attack. The factors considered include accessibility, stealth, technical ability, and time. Given enough of each, a sufficiently sophisticated attacker might be able to breach any security. Knowing just how sophisticated an attacker needs to be gives the IoT network manager the opportunity to increase the requisite level of defence.

The team demonstrated that two distinct IoT network types: SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) infrastructure and healthcare IoT infrastructure represent different levels of sophistication. SCADA networks demand greater expertise and sophistication compared with healthcare IoT networks. This suggests that there is a need for a bespoke approach to fortifying different types of critical systems. Understanding this requirement is an important part of allowing decision-makers at national and organizational levels to counter threats proactively without the need to over-extend security on more sophisticated systems that are intrinsically less vulnerable.

Balogun, T.M., Bahsi, H., Keskin, O.F. and Tatar, U. (2023) 'A comparative framework for cyber threat modelling: case of healthcare and industrial control systems', Int. J. Critical Infrastructures, Vol. 19, No. 5, pp.405–431.
DOI: 10.1504/IJCIS.2023.133282

Research in the International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology introduces a hybrid classification algorithm aimed at improving the recognition of human activities using smartphone data. The work could have implications for various fields, including healthcare and personal support.

Ahmad Taher Azar of both the Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Benha University in Benha, Egypt, hoped to demonstrate a tool for accurately categorizing six distinct human activities: lying, sitting, standing, walking, walking upstairs, and walking downstairs. He used supervised machine learning techniques that merged Random Forest Decision Trees (RFDT) and Neural Networks (NN) to this end.

The hybrid approach was able to classify six human activities with an accuracy rate of 96 per cent. This surpasses the performance of individual machine learning techniques like NN or RFDT and is comparable with the current state-of-the-art methods. However, what sets this algorithm apart is its efficiency in processing. The hybrid algorithm can infer behaviour from smartphone behaviour in just 0.073 seconds compared to the accuracy achieved with a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN), which can take well over 1.5 seconds to do the same job and reach a similar level of accuracy.

Azar's work emphasises how useful such an efficiency improvement could be in that it would allow real-time processing of smartphone data even on devices without a built-in dedicated computer processing unit for coping with such tasks. This capacity has considerable implications, particularly in scenarios where immediate and accurate activity recognition is essential, such as in healthcare and personal support applications. A particularly timely application would be for patient support and monitoring on so-called "virtual wards" where the patient usually remains in their home and is looked after by healthcare professionals remotely using telemedicine tools for monitoring and advising.

It is worth noting that there remain several challenges for this kind of research. The identification of basic movements such as climbing the stairs or lying down is achievable provided the person has their smartphone about their person at all times. However, there is a need for deeper recognition of emotional state and other factors important to that person's health and wellbeing.

Azar, A.T. (2023) 'Hybrid machine learning approach for human activity recognition', Int. J. Computer Applications in Technology, Vol. 72, No. 3, pp.231–239.
DOI: 10.1504/IJCAT.2023.133307

Research in the Journal of Design Research, introduces an innovative approach that combines co-creation and follow-up interviews to use nostalgia effectively in the realm of design and innovation. The objective is to harness nostalgia as a valuable tool for creating meaningful and user-centric experiences, products, and services.

Co-creation is a collaborative tool used by designers who collaborate closely with users during the initial, and sometimes all, stages of the process to understand more clearly the wants and desires of their putative users. Renu Zunjarwad of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University has illustrated the approach by examining the cultural significance of street-food in Mumbai and comparing it with production, distribution, and consumption practices of street-food in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

Zunjarwad's research highlights the importance of focusing on the cultural networks surrounding an artefact in design research. She concludes that co-creation is a powerful technique for exploring abstract concepts such as trust, nostalgia, and social anxiety. When effectively implemented, co-creation can provide valuable insights for developing user-centric experiences and products.

The work forms part of a larger project investigating how nostalgia, authenticity, and tradition influence Indian street-food practices in the global context. Key research questions centre on the role of nostalgia in shaping street-food practices in the era of globalization and the contribution of design to these experiences.

While co-creation can be employed at any stage of the design and product development process, it is most effective when used early to identify broader opportunities based on the wants of the potential consumers of the product. However, successful co-creation requires careful planning, collaboration, and facilitation to generate unique value and thence solutions that focus on the customer rather than simply the bottom-line. The benefits can be substantial although the approach requires more time and energy than conventional design processes by virtue of involving more people who are beyond the company's regular staff.

Zunjarwad adds that co-creation can itself be used in research. "Co-creation is a powerful technique to explore difficult-to-observe concepts like trust, nostalgia, and social anxiety. It can deliver impactful insights to build user-centric experiences, products, and services when implemented well," she writes.

Zunjarwad, R. (2023) 'Nostalgia and co-creation', J. Design Research, Vol. 21, No. 1, pp.62–78.
DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2023.133265

In a commercial world dominated by social media, research in the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising reveals a mysterious, invisible force that lurks behind many a purchase decision when social media personalities, or influencers, are involved. This force of "benign envy" could be used to guide marketing and advertising strategies towards the most effective influencers and allow more persuasive campaigns to be developed for a range of products and services.

"Influencers" are typically social media users with a large following, sharing engaging or endearing content, and for whom it might be said they hold sway over their audience's opinions and behaviour. Influencers commonly have expertise in a particular niche and are sufficiently charismatic and authentic in that niche, whether fashion, beauty, fitness, travel, technology, or other areas of lifestyle, that they can "nudge" their audience in a particular direction.

Xiaofan Yue, Nawal Hanim Abdullah, Mass Hareeza Ali, and Raja Nerina Raja Yusof of the School of Business and Economics at the Universiti Putra Malaysia, in Selangor, have used well-established social comparison theory to investigate the connection between benign envy and an audience's desire to purchase products promoted by influencers. Fundamentally, consumers who identify with a particular influencer and perceive themselves as being a peer or otherwise similar to that influencer will be more inclined to follow that influencer's recommendations.

To maximize the effectiveness of their influencer marketing, companies need to select carefully those influencers they wish to showcase their products and services to that these align with the influencer's own preferences, values, and way of life. Moreover, a campaign must also match with the benign envy felt by the influencer's audience.

Cynically, perhaps, the consumer must feel that buying the product will somehow elevate them so that they sit more squarely alongside the influencer they follow. Influencers often embody the ideal self-image of their audience and the lifestyle and status they crave. Consumers following influencer recommendations will somehow imagine they are closing in on this ideal by making the right purchases guided by their influencer, regardless of how real that ideal actually is. Indeed, as with many kinds of aspirational endeavour of this kind, a single purchase may well make the consumer feel better, but its impact is often short-lived, and there's always another recommendation from their influence to envy.

Yue, X., Abdullah, N.H., Ali, M.H. and Yusof, R.N.R. (2023) 'The role of audiences' benign envy in influencer marketing', Int. J. Internet Marketing and Advertising, Vol. 19, Nos. 3/4, pp.215–230.
DOI: 10.1504/IJIMA.2023.133344

The internet has opened up countless business opportunities that were once the preserve of corporate entities, allowing individuals and small groups to offer goods and services as well as to share resources. Often an "app" is involved that provides connectivity between individuals that would otherwise not meet or encounter each other. Two areas that spring to mind are car-sharing, taxi-type services and holiday and short-term lets of rooms and buildings, the most well-known examples in those areas are perhaps AirBnB and Uber.

An area that is emergent but not yet mature is "last-mile" deliveries where individuals can take on the packages and parcels couriered to a depot and deliver them to their neighbours for a small fee rather than relying on conventional couriers to fulfil the complete delivery. Such peer-to-peer (P2P) crowdsourced delivery services are gaining traction worldwide and offer a way for the big couriers to cut out the inefficient last part of their logistics and offload it into locals where it might bolster a growing micro-economy.

Research in the International Journal of Logistics Systems and Management has looked at how well the implementation of P2P crowdsourced delivery is going in Egypt. The findings shed light on the potential benefits and the remaining challenges.

Karim Soliman of the College of International Transport and Logistics at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport in Cairo, employed a deductive approach and quantitative research methods to gauge public sentiment towards this innovative delivery model. Soliman writes that encouragingly, respondents of various ages and education were already familiar with crowdsourcing, even if they were not familiar with the term itself.

Soliman notes that in Egypt P2P delivery services are being used within the same city, as one might expect. Users are less keen to use such services between cities or internationally, although one might posit that this would defeat the object of using "last-mile" P2P delivery and would represent a much larger-scale crowdsourced delivery service. Such a service may well emerge if it has not already been in place for many years in various forms. The research also suggests that there is a need to develop professional guidelines for those offering P2P delivery to enhance trust and confidentiality and also to address the matter of insurance.

Soliman, K. (2023) 'Exploratory analysis of the viability of crowdsourced delivery in Egypt: developing a peer-to-peer platform', Int. J. Logistics Systems and Management, Vol. 45, No. 4, pp.447–470.
DOI: 10.1504/IJLSM.2023.132987

A review in the International Journal of Medical Engineering and Informatics has surveyed current early detection methods for Alzheimer's disease, a prevalent neurodegenerative condition affecting millions of people worldwide. The work looks into the progression, causes, and diagnosis of Alzheimer's and emphasizes that a multi-modal approach coupled with advanced machine learning techniques could lead to much earlier diagnosis for many patients. Early diagnosis offers better options for planning and ongoing care. As the world population continues to age, the burden of Alzheimer's disease looms larger than ever.

Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by cognitive impairment and memory loss. Its precise cause is not clear although there are characteristic changes in the brain that are always present and usually observed post mortem. The disease thus presents a significant challenge in its early detection when behavioural symptoms might be mild or may well be similar to those symptoms seen in a range of other conditions. There is no cure for this debilitating and ultimately lethal condition but the importance of detecting it in its early stages cannot be overstated given the devastating impact it has on the patient and those caring for them. Early diagnosis not only allows individuals to communicate their needs to loved ones but also empowers them to make crucial decisions regarding finances and legal matters that will come into play as the disease progresses.

While a definitive scientific diagnosis is really only possible post mortem, a combination of observations of behaviour as well as brain scans can give the clinicians a near-certain diagnosis once symptoms are established. C.R. Nagarathna and Kusuma Mohanchandra of the Dayananda Sagar Academy of Technology and Management in Bangalore, India, suggest from their review, that a combination of techniques will offer a more reliable diagnosis than any single method. They add that utilising machine learning tools could now enhance the data from various types of brain scan and couple those results with the observations made by an expert diagnostician in the field.

Alzheimer's is a complex disease with a range of putative causes and manifestations. Indeed, the conventional wisdom regarding the role of errant proteins in the brain has not yet been settled. One scientific camp sees protein fragments as causing damage to the brain whereas the other camp suggests the errant proteins are a symptom of an underlying disease process and not causative agents themselves. Whatever the aetiology, early diagnosis is key to improving life for patients and their carers.

Early diagnosis also offers greater hope as new therapies begin to emerge from the laboratory. An earlier intervention will almost always be preferred with the potential to slow degeneration and mitigate symptoms. There is always the hope that in the distant future a therapeutic will be designed that might even halt or reverse the disease.

Nagarathna, C.R. and Mohanchandra, K. (2023) 'An overview of early detection of Alzheimer's disease', Int. J. Medical Engineering and Informatics, Vol. 15, No. 5, pp.442–457.
DOI: 10.1504/IJMEI.2023.133091

Research in the International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics offers a new approach to combating phishing attacks in order to enhance online security and reduce cybercrime against individuals and businesses and attacks on governments so improving national security.

Phishing is a deceptive technique in which a web page, email or message is used to impersonate a trusted entity and to deceive individuals into clicking malicious links, revealing sensitive information such as usernames and passwords, bank details, and other such details. It has caused significant harm to countless victims, resulting in compromised data, identity theft, and even national security breaches.

Those propagating phishing attacks can use very sophisticated methods to make a message or page look authentic and even highly skilled and security-aware users are sometimes duped into accessing a malicious resource. Such resources might steal information directly as the user enters it or lead to them unwittingly downloading malware or another payload that then compromises their computer system, whether a personal computer or a network. Computer security systems are constantly challenged by the development of more sophisticated phishing attacks which may also exploit social engineering in subtle ways as well as malware to dupe users.

T. Kalaichelvi of the Panimalar Engineering College in Chennai, India, and colleagues have proposed a new threat-modelling technique that can pinpoint and eliminate vulnerabilities that make a computer system more susceptible to a phishing attack. The team's approach uses the STRIDE threat design methodology, a potent tool that demonstrates an impressive 96.3% accuracy rate in detecting phishing web addresses. The work offers a real solution for individuals and organizations alike to defeat the phishing threat.

The implications of the research extend beyond individual victims and encompass businesses and the world of the Internet of Things. For cybersecurity experts, developers, and IoT device manufacturers, the proposed threat modelling technique could help in securing vulnerabilities proactively at the design stage rather than reactively when vulnerabilities have been identified and exploited. Fundamentally, a multi-faceted anti-phishing approach is needed that takes into account both the technological vulnerabilities and the human factor.

Kalaichelvi, T., Mane, S.B., Dhanalakshmi, K.M. and Prasad, S.N. (2023) 'The detection of phishing attempts in communications systems', Int. J. Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, Vol. 15, No. 5, pp.541–553.
DOI: 10.1504/IJESDF.2023.133192

Research in the International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics highlights the need for urgency in tackling corruption crime and the need to recover stolen assets particularly those taken from developing and transitional economies.

The issue has far-reaching economic implications with such cross-border crime amounting to trillions of dollars every year. Such a problem needs a global solution as it erodes governance and justice as well as hampering civil, political, and socio-economic rights. The researchers suggest that preventive measures are desperately needed as well as international cooperation in mitigating the devastating impact of corruption on economies worldwide.

Rakhmatulla Balashov and Oxana Filipets Institute of Postgraduate Education, Law Enforcement Academy in Kosshy, and Svetlana Baimoldina of the L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University, in Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan shed light on the dim problem of corruption and its devastating economic consequences. The team used analytical and comparative legal methods, to examine the challenges associated with repatriating stolen assets from abroad and identified critical gaps in asset recovery legislation.

The World Bank reports that the illicit flow of money resulting from crime, corruption, and tax evasion could be about US $1 trillion but could be as high as $6 trillion per annum. Such a huge financial drain affects developing countries and nations in transition disproportionately when compared to the impact of such criminal activity on developed nations. It can even threaten their economic stability and growth as well as their prospects in terms of fulfilling the transition and development prospects.

There is now a pressing need for law enforcement agencies, business entities, financial institutions in particular, auditors, and arbitration experts to work together to counter corruption. The Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) initiative at the United Nations could enhance efforts to tackle corruption before it takes root.

However, law enforcement agencies in one country have limited capacity to obtain evidence and information from another, especially when facing corruption at a high level, but also simply because of the local banking and commercial secrecy laws in various jurisdictions.

A tough economic and legal framework is needed that would bring different entities together allowing them to share information and collaborate without compromise. The team's detailed proposals hold promise for the work of law enforcement agencies responsible for combating illegal property seizures and for private companies engaged in financial investigations related to such crimes.

Balashov, R., Filipets, O. and Baimoldina, S. (2023) 'Recovery of stolen assets from abroad', Int. J. Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, Vol. 15, No. 5, pp.456–467.
DOI: 10.1504/IJESDF.2023.133188

Self-medication for minor ailments and illnesses is common. Often the remedies people turn to are simple over-the-counter pharmacy medications or products available in other outlets that may or may not have proven physiological activity. There is a notion that self-medication may cause more harm than good, if a person with significant symptoms of disease opts for a shop-bought remedy rather than seeking professional medical advice. Ultimately, it might lead to a problem essentially being untreated and in the worst-case scenario could lead to a degradation of a person's health or even death.

Research in the International Journal of Business Intelligence and Data Mining has used online social network data mining to investigate the phenomenon of dangerous self-medication.

Reza Samizadeh, Mahsa Jadidi, and Sahar Vatankhah of Alzahra University, Morteza Khavanin Zadeh of the School of Medicine at Iran University of Medical Sciences Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran, and Mohammad Rezapour of the Iranian Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, have looked at social media updates on metabolic disease, obesity, and diabetes. Their data classification using text-mining algorithms and naive Bayes analysis was more accurate than a support vector machine approach, they explain.

The results show that lots of people are using prescription anti-obesity drugs and recommending them to each other. Many of these drugs have only a modest impact on obesity but worryingly can have serious side-effects or contraindications with other medicines. Samizadeh and colleagues point out that these products should not be used without medical supervision and yet their analysis of social media updates suggests that people are buying and using the drug outside the safety net of a doctor's advice.

The team suggests that there is an urgent need to raise public awareness of the risks of taking medical advice from non-experts on social media where all kinds of distortions of the science can so easily be passed off as expertise. Where this might be said in the realm of diabetes, metabolic disease, and obesity, so too it is likely to be occurring in discussions of self-medication for heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer. Indeed, when a world leader can offer truly dangerous advice regarding treatments for a pandemic disease and have people believe them, it is no stretch of the imagination to suggest that there are thousands if not millions of people taking drugs for a wide range of potentially lethal illnesses without ever having sought professional medical advice.

Samizadeh, R., Zadeh, M.K., Jadidi, M., Rezapour, M. and Vatankhah, S. (2023) 'Discovery of dangerous self-medication methods with patients, by using social network mining', Int. J. Business Intelligence and Data Mining, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp.277–287.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBIDM.2023.133186

Research in the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics has looked at the issue of fraud within charities operating in England and Wales. The study offers several insights into the sector's susceptibility to fraudulent activities. The work conducted by analyzing data from the annual reports and financial statements of 42 charities with fraud incidents and 42 without, aims to provide a tailored solution to addressing this ongoing problem across the not-for-profit sector.

Charities in England and Wales play a pivotal role in both society and the economy as advocates, fundraisers and supports of a diverse range of worthy causes from medical research and healthcare support to animal welfare, environmental protection. It is important to address and mitigate the risks they face, including fraud and financial misconduct, to ensure donations reach their targets and those worthy causes are supported as fully as they can be by the organisation.

Saffet Aras Uygur and Christopher J. Napier of the School of Business and Management at Royal Holloway University of London in Egham, Surrey, UK, demonstrated that, generally, charities with smaller boards, signifying a closely-knit governance environment, were at greater risk of succumbing to fraud. In contrast, those organizations with larger boards had more effective oversight and so less chance of falling victim to fraud. The team also found that those charities with limited or no grant funding are at greater risk of fraud. This once again demonstrates the need for ongoing monitoring and due diligence by long-term donors, who can act as a deterrent against fraudulent behaviour.

The findings emphasise the critical role that governance plays in safeguarding charitable assets and maintaining public trust. The team points out that public data on charities that have been shut down is not available and so the analysis is limited to active charities where the information is publicly available.

One of the main conclusions from the study is that charities should be encouraged to establish larger boards in order to enhance governance and reduce the risk of fraudulent activities and maintain the integrity of charitable organizations in England and Wales.

Uygur, S.A. and Napier, C.J. (2023) 'Governance and the prevention of fraud in charities in England and Wales', Int. J. Business Governance and Ethics, Vol. 17, No. 5, pp.495–524.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBGE.2023.133118

In a world grappling with escalating cyber threats, research the journal Electronic Government sheds light on the essential elements for enhancing cyber security readiness. As governments, the private sector, and individuals confront this growing menace, this work looks at five critical factors affecting how well an organization manages its cyber security readiness: employee expertise, awareness, organizational investment, compliance with standards, and risk assessment.

Zainab AlMeraj, Ali K. Alenezi, and Paul D. Manuel of the Information Science Department at Kuwait University in Al-Shadadiya, Kuwait, offer several important points for organisations to consider. Foremost is the importance of expertise within the organisation, compliance with standards, and risk assessment. Failures within any of these areas will inevitably compromise the organisation's readiness when it comes to cyber security. These insights underscore the need for any organization to prioritize building expertise and awareness into its workforce, adhering to established cyber security standards, and consistently evaluating risks to maintain their cyber security at a sufficiently high level.

The study also reveals an inevitable correlation between expertise and investment. Organizations that make prudent investments in cyber security measures tend to have a workforce with greater prowess in the domain of digital defence, those that don't tend to be more vulnerable to cyber attack. Even awareness, if not actual expertise is closely linked with investment, if the requisite training, conferences, workshops, and effective communication are in place, then the organisation's defences will be stronger as those staff outside the IT department and the non-cyber experts can gain the requisite knowledge to understand what threats the organisation might face, how to deal with them or who to turn to for expert advice within the organisation if they cannot manage a given threat themselves. All of those, in turn, improves compliance with cyber security standards, which means stronger defences.

The findings have implications for corporate entities, national authorities, and individuals seeking to improve their cyber security readiness. Organizations and individuals alike must commit resources to cyber security measures and garner expertise.

A proactive approach is crucial to security. After all, bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted is not best practice in equine management. Securing the digital landscape, safeguarding governments, businesses, and individuals means ensuring everyone knows to ensure those doors are bolted, to not let third parties access the stables and to rein in errant behaviour within and external to the organisation.

AlMeraj, Z., Alenezi, A.K. and Manuel, P.D. (2023) 'An empirical investigation into organisation cyber security readiness from the IT employee and manager perspectives', Electronic Government, an International Journal, Vol. 19, No. 5, pp.539–559.
DOI: 10.1504/EG.2023.133092

Researchers in India have developed a search algorithm based on the strategy used by squirrels to find their cached nuts to automate food identification. Details are described in the International Journal of Data Analysis Techniques and Strategies. The algorithm could have applications in the food industry, hospitality and even in a dietary healthcare environment.

Megha Chopra and Archana Purwar of the Department of Computer Science Engineering and Information Technology at Jaypee Institute of Information Technology in Noida, explain how a system to identify and assess food and tie the item to known nutritional profiles for that food could have many uses in a range of areas.

The best recipe for food recognition begins with the classification of food items from images. This classification process is initiated by segmenting the food images, a standard step in image analysis. Conventionally, thresholding is used in segmentation, however, Chorpa and Purwar have taken a novel approach. They use a Squirrel Search Algorithm (SSA) to optimize multi-level thresholding. This SSA-based optimization is designed to improve the accuracy of food image recognition. A Convolutional Neural Network (CNN), a powerful artificial intelligence tool, then classifies the food in the images.

The team reports significant improvements on earlier approaches to image segmentation and food item classification, achieving an accuracy rate of well over 80 per cent in tests; specifically up to 83.1%.

Accurate food recognition is a pivotal component of automatic dietary assessment. With improved segmentation and classification, tools could be developed for companies, healthcare providers, and individuals to monitor "calorie" intake, and nutritional value, and make better informed dietary choices.

The same tools might also embed recognition and flagging systems for allergenic or problematic foods in a dish and so help protect individuals from inadvertently eating something that might lead to an allergic response or to which they have an intolerance.

In summary, this research presents a novel approach to automated food recognition, offering not only a technical advancement on earlier approaches but also promising possibilities for improved dietary assessment and personalized dietary management.

Chopra, M. and Purwar, A. (2023) 'Food recognition using enhanced squirrel search optimisation algorithm and convolutional neural network', Int. J. Data Analysis Techniques and Strategies, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp.238–254.
DOI: 10.1504/IJDATS.2023.133023

Research published in the International Journal of Data Analysis Techniques and Strategies demonstrates how a semi-supervised deep learning model can be used to identify signs of depression in online social media users. Given that mental health is high on the modern medical agenda, the development of methods that can help spot early symptoms associated with mental health problems could be important in offering users an intervention sooner, rather than later.

Gaurav Kumar Gupta and Dilip Kumar Sharma of the Department of Computer Engineering and Applications at GLA University in Mathura, India, point out that identifying those at risk of mental health problems is an important challenge in the digital age. Many people spend much of their time online, working remotely, or otherwise isolated to some extent from face-to-face interactions and even those who don't can often mask problems, so diagnosis can be difficult. The challenge of pinpointing signs of depression amidst the vast sea of social media data could offer insight into mental health.

The team's approach utilised a detailed analysis of demographic and content-related characteristics, including both structural aspects and the semantic nuances of the data in social media updates. The system with its deep auto-encoder model can then extract statements and patterns of words associated with or characteristic of symptoms of depression. The insights available can be extended by allowing the algorithm to access a person's profile once an indication of updates associated with depression have been identified. Thus, by combining tweet depression scores, profile attributes, and hybrid knowledge, the system classifies users as either depressed or non-depressed.

The research demonstrates an improved accuracy over other methods by more than 11 per cent. This could thus open up the possibility of developing the approach as part of a multimodal technique for identifying depression from other forms of online content, such as facial expressions, images, and video. How the diagnosis is used is then a matter for the individual and doctor.

Gupta, G.K. and Sharma, D.K. (2023) 'Depression detection using semantic representation based semi-supervised deep learning', Int. J. Data Analysis Techniques and Strategies, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp.217–237
DOI: 10.1504/IJDATS.2023.133012

From the second century to the middle of the fifteenth century, the Silk Road, or more appropriately the Silk Routes, provided a way for trade and culture to be exchanged between Asia and Europe. The routes connected East and West across more than 6400 kilometres allowing economic, cultural, political, and religious exchange to take place. Research in the European Journal of International Management takes a look at the online successor to the Silke Routes, China's Digital Silk Road initiative.

As China's Digital Silk Road (DSR) gains momentum, nations in Central and Eastern Europe are at a crossroads, trying to navigate the implications of more and more integration of their infrastructure with Chinese technology. There are concerns about the economic, security, and technological ramifications across the region, but the current research reveals a map of distinct approaches. Some of these could lead to gridlock in some places or open up new routes for exploration in others.

The DSR is critical to China's global technology push. With it, the nation and its technology giants are entwining digital prowess with economies worldwide, with Europe, a key part of its ambitions. The unasked question is whether Europe should get on board or be more cautious of hitching a ride with Chinese technology.

Ágnes Szunomár of the Institute of Global Studies at Corvinus University of Budapest and Institute of World Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies in Budapest, Hungary, has probed the responses of central and eastern European nations to the DSR challenges and opportunities. Some countries are cautiously sceptical while others are entertaining more and more collaboration.

The motivation, however, is not solely technological, nor even economic, but politically driven. Indeed, security concerns and the influence of US diplomacy as well as Germany's technology and stance have often rerouted the roadmap for other nations hoping to navigate the DSL. At least one prominent company has led to various countries to stray from the map and yet others to follow the route almost by rote.

For the DSR initiative itself, Chinese companies themselves could pivot the European response by emphasizing the global nature of the emerging technology and the opportunities and downplaying the national nature of the initiative. However, changing Western perceptions and alleviating security concerns remain formidable challenges. Even a journey of 6400 kilometres must begin with a single step.

Szunomár, A. 'To connect or not to connect? Responding to the Digital Silk Road in Central and Eastern Europe', European J. International Management.
DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2022.10049355

A review in the International Journal of Product Development has considered the various factors leading to success in the design and production of Internet of Things (IoT) or "smart" devices.

Product development is a dynamic realm in which the integration of data science into the creation of new products, especially those linked through the Internet of Things (IoT), represents a multifaceted challenge. While data-driven product development seeks to harness the potential of sensor data to generate value, the intricacies and complexities of this endeavour can lead to uncertainties in the world of innovation where developers reach dead-ends and U-turns are not uncommon.

Elisabeth Häusler, Wolfgang Kremser, and Veronika Hornung-Prähauser of the Salzburg Research Forschungsgesellschaft in Salzburg, and Franz Huber of Seeburg Castle University in Seekirchen am Wallersee, Austria, have undertaken a review of the literature in this area into to piece together the apparently fragmented research landscape. Apparent from this review is that there is an obvious gap in the literature: a lack of a standardized framework to guide managers through the intricate process of developing data-intensive IoT products.

The researchers have categorized existing knowledge into three main areas: the geographical distribution of literature, the nature of contributions made, and the organization of literature based on a data value chain approach. The value chain outlines the sequential stages involved in creating data-intensive IoT products, taking into account aspects such as design, product development, and innovation. The review thus highlights diverse contributions, models, frameworks, and taxonomies, each offering unique perspectives on IoT product development.

There is enormous research interest in IoT product development, but as the review shows, there is no cohesive process model. The team suggests that there is an urgent need for a structured approach that could weave data analytics into the development process seamlessly reconciling the technical intricacies and the social dynamics. The review also highlights the significance of data accuracy and the broader data quality factors that lead to value for the businesses involved.

Häusler, E., Kremser, W., Hornung-Prähauser, V. and Huber, F. (2023) 'Data-intensive IoT new product development: a review and future directions', Int. J. Product Development, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp.265–292.
DOI: 10.1504/IJPD.2023.133068

Research published in the International Journal of the Digital Human reveals a new model for computerised human gesture recognition. The tool, VirSen1.0, developed by Kana Matsuo, Chengshuo Xia, and Yuta Sugiura of the Department of Information and Computer Science at Keio University in Yokohama, Japan uses cutting-edge sensor simulation and user-centric design to overcome various obstacles and open up new ways for people to interact with technology.

Gesture recognition technology has long been plagued by the conundrum of efficiently configuring and placing the requisite sensors, interpreting the results, and ensuring the accuracy of the machine learning system that will recognise those gestures. The team has developed VirSen1.0, as a virtual environment paired with a tailor-made user interface to underpin the development of gesture recognition systems. In training, the system generates sensor data and synchronizes this with an avatar's movements to train the model's classifier. Thus, it can assign and configure sensors that will be able to quickly and accurately provide the necessary data for gesture recognition and the assignment of meaning to those gestures.

The team explains that the breakthrough with VirSen1.0 lies in its ability to overcome the intricacies of sensor influence. It does this by using a permutation feature importance (PFI) technique, a tool that illuminates the impact of individual sensors on the classifier's performance. A user study demonstrated efficacy of the PFI approach but also highlighted how version 1.0 might be improved. Indeed, whereas trial-and-error in sensor placement will remain important, the next version of the system will build on those kinds of successes and failures and allow users to configure a system optimally based on previous experimental setups.

As the gap between human gestures and machine comprehension narrows, the impact of this kind of development could find wide application in the development of gesture recognition, which in turn will have use across a range of industries, in healthcare, and in recreation.

Matsuo, K., Xia, C. and Sugiura, Y. (2023) 'VirSen1.0: toward sensor configuration recommendation in an interactive optical sensor simulator for human gesture recognition', Int. J. Digital Human, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp.223–241.
DOI: 10.1504/IJDH.2023.133032

Safeguarding should become a core objective in organizational management, representing a paradigm shift in workplace well-being, according to work published in the International Journal of Business Continuity and Risk Management.

The concept of "safeguarding" has transcended its traditional association with children and vulnerable individuals, and is now reshaping the very fabric of how businesses function. The incidence of workplace bullying, emotional abuse, and harassment of all kinds seems to be on the rise in almost every sector. As such, the new study emphasizes the pressing need for organizations to put safeguarding at the heart of management practices.

Vitumbiko Andrew Ngwira of the University of Zambia and Abubaker Qutieshat of Oman Dental College in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, offer a conceptual paper challenging convention and scrutinizing the various factors surrounding safeguarding. While humanitarian organizations have long embraced safeguarding for beneficiaries, the study highlights that this approach should extend to employees as well. The team draws insights from various sources to address the issues of workplace safety and harassment. They call for the establishment of policies and mechanisms to be put in place that not only prevent abuse but also foster an environment conducive to overall workplace safety.

Critical to making such a paradigm shift is a rebooted definition of organizational management itself. Beyond the established pillars of planning, organizing, directing, and controlling, safeguarding emerges as a crucial fifth element. The team points out that recent high-profile cases and allegations even in the charitable sector, underscore the urgency. The team points out that organizations failing to consider an important issue in the modern business environment risk not only their integrity but also their societal impact and financial stability.

With a safeguarding ethos embedded in the business core, organizations can evolve a workplace that empowers the individual, so that those experience abuse or at risk of abuse can voice their concerns openly or anonymously without compromising their position within the organisation. Without this ethical stance, employees and their health suffer, bullying-induced burnout becomes a significant threat to the organisation, and the potential is there for productivity and profitability to plummet.

A safeguarding ethos can then resonate through the entire organization, from beneficiaries to employees, clients to affiliates so that all stakeholders are safer and more secure. Such an improved state of being for any organisation should then be reflected in greater all-round well-being and potentially improved outcomes for the organisation itself.

Ngwira, V.A. and Qutieshat, A. (2023) 'Organisational safeguarding: a new imperative for management?', Int. J. Business Continuity and Risk Management, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp.272–283.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBCRM.2023.132907

A study in the International Journal of Computational Systems Engineering has investigated the e-commerce landscape and how it is affected by financial crises. The insights from the study offer a financial accounting crisis early warning system that companies might use to predict and pre-empt economic turmoil.

The global pandemic underscored the vulnerability of businesses and economies, making the need for astute financial foresight more crucial than ever. Xiaoyang Meng of the Accounting Institute at Jiaozuo University in Jiaozuo, China, has looked specifically at the impact on China and has devised a novel system that melds adaptability and prediction. The approach uses partial least squares (PLS) analysis, a sophisticated data analysis technique, and integrates it with the backpropagation (BP) neural network. The model can then discern the indicators of impending financial distress within the e-commerce sector. Meng has demonstrated the model's proficiency on historical data for eleven financially sound enterprises and nine that were teetering on the brink of financial crisis and shown that the model could reveal the early signs of financial distress with an accuracy surpassing 90 percent and for some tests an accuracy of 98 percent.

The implications of this research may well be far-reaching. In an era where economic turbulence threatens the stability of even the most robust business, Meng's PLS-BP model offers a grounded means to identify an imminent crisis and so put in place strategies that might avert it.

Meng acknowledges that the model as it stands has some limitations. While the early detection methodology offers good levels of precision, it is essentially a static approach. To better navigate real-world financial ecosystems, she proposes the integration of the model with system dynamics theory. This could potentially then offer a dynamic early warning system capable of adapting to the ever-evolving intricacies of e-commerce.

Meng, X. (2023) 'Research on e-commerce neural network financial accounting crisis early warning model combined with partial least squares', Int. J. Computational Systems Engineering, Vol. 7, Nos. 2/3/4, pp.96–105.
DOI: 10.1504/IJCSYSE.2023.132913

A study of a container shipping terminal in Turkey, published in the International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics, demonstrates how it is possible to predict with almost 90 percent accuracy the transaction types that will be needed once an inbound container vessel docks at the quayside before it arrives and so reduce the need for logistics planners to shuffle containers unnecessarily.

Container reshuffling is a necessary evil at container terminals the world over. The approach attempts to solve the problem of uncertainty surrounding the transactions that will need to be carried out on hundreds and thousands of incoming containers arriving from distant ports. The problem is exacerbated by changes that occur in cargo ownership in transit, details going missing overseas, and other disruptions that mean inventory and manifest may not match the logistics planned by the container port for the next vessel.

Given that the new generation of supersized container ships can carry almost 25000 containers, it is obvious that reshuffling is a big issue for a busy port where several container ships may be docked within a relatively short period of time and all require unloading of inventory in as timely and efficient a manner as possible. Reshuffling can wreak havoc on port efficiency, leading to delays, operational inefficiencies, and even lost containers.

Elifcan Dursun and Sule Gungor of Tarsus University in Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey turned to the Cross Industry Standard Process for Data Mining (CRISP-DM) framework. They have used its strategic approach to develop a predictive model that could preclude the need for container reshuffling by allowing the planners and logistics managers to be almost wholly confident in their allocation of inbound containers.

While a Turkish port was used as a case study, the approach could be a guiding light for other ports grappling with similar uncertainties regarding transaction types and relying on container reshuffling as their modus operandi. By harnessing data mining techniques to predict transaction types, the new predictive model all but eliminates the disruptions that are normally caused at ports by the need for container reshuffling.

Dursun, E. and Gungor, S. (2023) 'Container transaction type prediction: a seaport case in Turkey', Int. J. Shipping and Transport Logistics, Vol. 17, Nos. 1/2, pp.41–59.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSTL.2023.132648

Cities across India face escalating air pollution. Now, a study in the International Journal of Sustainable Society looks at the inherent conflict in reconciling economic growth with ecological sustainability. Sunil Barthwal of the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies in Dehradun, India, scrutinizes the multifaceted efforts of citizens, industries, and government to address the issues. In his paper, Barthwal highlights the delicate balance between economic needs and sustainable development as well as emphasising the concentrated pockets of pollution experience in northern Indian cities. There are many quick fixes being suggested but a long-sighted vision is needed, the work suggests.

Barthwal points out that as air quality falls, so sales of domestic air purifiers rise. This has sparked an economic boom in the air purifier market but such devices solve a very local problem in the home while being built from non-renewable resources and running on electricity that is often generated using fossil fuels rather than sustainable power sources. This kind of quick-fix generates profits but draws even greater attention to a gaping hole in the policy framework. A broader, more comprehensive strategy is needed to address the roots of the issue, Barthwal's work suggests.

We are globally at a tipping point in terms of emissions and pollution. Research in this area repeatedly sounds a consistent clarion call especially for emerging economies. Those rapidly developing regions could seize the opportunity in these critical moments and help steer their economic models towards a sustainable future in a way that seems to be beyond many of the entrenched economies of the developed world. Economic objectives and ecosystem preservation ought to be the parallel paradigms driving development. Prosperity can no longer be in opposition and at the expense of the environment. We can no longer tolerate wealth without health.

Barthwal, S. (2023) 'Toxic air, choked ecosystem: paradox of economic growth vs. ecosystem sustainability', Int. J. Sustainable Society, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp.239–252.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSSOC.2023.132888

In the midst of Indonesia's burgeoning coffee shop scene, a formidable challenge has emerged for independent establishments, according to research in the International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management. Many of the problems and their solutions percolating through could well provide lessons for independent businesses in other sectors across the region as well as elsewhere.

Mukhamad Najib and Farah Fahma of the IPB University in Indonesia suggest that the market is becoming increasingly fierce. Survival for small, independent coffee shops must evolve to establish a solid and sustainable footing and simultaneously focus on a quality-based ethos, offering excellent service, and ensuring business longevity. The researchers add that strong leadership is emerging as a critical factor in this world.

The researchers surveyed 110 coffee shop proprietors and managers in Bogor, Indonesia, and then used a sophisticated analytical approach, structural equation modelling with partial least squares (SEM-PLS) to analyse the resulting data. Through this technique, they were able to gain valuable insights into the interplay between the different factors affecting success and failure.

The central finding that emerges from their data analysis, as one might expect, is that leadership plays a pivotal role in shaping the culture and quality of such small businesses and elevating service standards. They add that leadership does not, however, seem to have a direct impact on business sustainability. That said, its indirect influence in fostering a culture of excellence proves to be critical and that encompasses sustainability values too.

The team suggests that their findings underscore the significance of both a quality-orientated culture and consistently superior service standards in sustaining small enterprises such as independent coffee shops in a packed and unforgiving market.

Of course, by focusing on the smaller businesses, the team concedes that there is now a need to carry out further research to ascertain whether the same findings would emerge in an investigation of larger establishments. There is also a need to incorporate cultural and geographic disparities across the region to reveal whether factors beyond the coffee counter might also affect quality, service dynamics, and success.

Najib, M. and Fahma, F. (2023) 'Business sustainability for small coffee shops: the role of leader and quality', Int. J. Productivity and Quality Management, Vol. 39, No. 4, pp.536–553.
DOI: 10.1504/IJPQM.2023.132832

Research in International Journal of Web Engineering and Technology, suggests that poor interface design and therefore usability can increase a feeling of technophobia in users. Critically, poor navigation and menus on a website, for instance, emerge as a major issue in this regard. Poorly designed interfaces can thus act as a barrier, bolstering any inherent dislike or fear of technology felt by users. The work offers important insights for designers, policymakers, and health professionals alike.

Mohanad Halaweh of Al Ain University, UAE, Lorna Uden of Staffordshire University in Stoke-on-Trent, UK, Ahmed Mostafa Kamel of the University of Fujairah also in UAE, and Moataz Elbahi Ahram of the Canadian University in Giza, Egypt, constructed hypotheses regarding system support, navigation, and user interface design in order to look at the connections between these elements and the user experience and perception of technology. They tested their hypotheses using a purpose-designed questionnaire.

The results demonstrate that poor navigation is the biggest concern for users with visual aesthetics and support resources also being influential but to varying degrees but not critical to any distraction, frustration, and anxiety they feel. The researchers suggest that users have a heightened sensitivity to navigation issues because these are commonly rooted in an innate dependence and preference for finding paths that are intuitive and easy to follow. If users find the route fraught with obstacles or otherwise confusing, they are liable to lose their way or become apprehensive of using the technology until they set foot on the path of least resistance once again.

The team points out that the survey demographic was among otherwise computer-savvy students and faculty and so perhaps not the typical technophobe. Yet even those users can experience frustration and become disaffected by badly designed website navigation.

The work has implications for those running any kind of website but where the implications are more serious in the healthcare and government areas, where a wide range of people are likely to need to use those online services who might otherwise not use e-commerce sites or more frivolous activities. A public inclined to technophobia could lead to long-term problems in those areas of digital services. Issues of navigation need to be at the core of design to keep users on the path of least resistance rather than having them wandering off the beaten track and finding themselves in the realm of technophobia.

Halaweh, M., Uden, L., Kamel, A.M. and Elbahi, M. (2023) 'Technophobia and user interface usability', Int. J. Web Engineering and Technology, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp.149–164.
DOI: 10.1504/IJWET.2023.132873

A novel advance in data security is discussed in the International Journal of Information and Computer Security in which the Japanese puzzle known as Sudoku promises a cryptographic system for text information that works even in situations where computational power is limited. The approach could have applications in devices with constrained computer resources such as radio-frequency identification devices (RFID), medical and healthcare instruments, remote sensing networks, and smart cards.

Shadi R. Masadeh of the Department of Cyber Security at Isra University, in Amman, Jordan, Hamza Abbass Al-Sewadi of the Computer Technology Engineering Department at Iraq University College, in Basrah, and Mohammad Abbas Fadhil Al-Husainy of the Al-Maaqal University also in Basrah, Iraq, demonstrate how the dynamic nature of the Sudoku puzzle can be used as the basis of a secret encryption key, or cipher, to unlock a new approach to securing sensitive information.

The dynamic nature of the approach significantly boosts the security of the system. The team's experimental results demonstrate that this approach is superior to other experimental lightweight cryptography.

The strength of MESP lies in its extensive key space and its superiority in frequency analysis probability when compared to alternative techniques. While sharing a similar character count with Verma's algorithm, MESP boasts a substantially wider key space. Furthermore, the algorithm's flexibility is evident in its ability to accommodate a broader range of characters. This adaptability is achieved by expanding the size of the index tables, making room for all conceivable characters within a language, and even accommodating multiple languages. The system adheres to Shannon's principles of confusion and diffusion so that the substitution and transposition steps seamlessly blend, providing a strong defence against security breaches.

In today's landscape of symmetric cryptosystems, the fusion of ideas from the Sudoku puzzle, pseudo-random number generation, and dynamic permutation introduces a versatile and potent security technique. The implications stretch across various domains, from fortified healthcare data security to more resilient smart cards and remote sensing networks. Backed by compelling experimental results, this algorithm, which the team calls "Message Encryption (inspired by) Sudoku Puzzle" heralds a new era in lightweight cryptography, beyond its "puzzling" origins.

Masadeh, S.R., Al-Sewadi, H.A. and Al-Husainy, M.A.F. (2023) 'A message encryption scheme inspired by Sudoku puzzle', Int. J. Information and Computer Security, Vol. 21, Nos. 3/4, pp.399–413.
DOI: 10.1504/IJICS.2023.132739

The emotion of brand jealousy can allow consumers to ignore higher prices for goods they covet.

A study in the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, has investigated brand authenticity and the willingness of consumers to pay a premium price for goods to which they have a loyalty. The researchers have defined a comprehensive framework that reveals the interconnections between brand loyalty and brand jealousy and how that sits with premium pricing. The team's concept of "brand jealousy" could, the work suggests, be a potent driver of consumer decision-making.

Brand jealousy might better be referred to as brand envy, it is that emotional response a consumer might have when seeing someone else with a product they would themselves cherish. The work by Richa Joshi and Shampy Kamboj of the National Institute of Technology in Hamirpur, and Prerna Garg Jaipuria of the Institute of Management in Ghaziabad, India, suggests that brand authenticity and identification are intertwined with this notion of brand jealousy. Ultimately, it drives brand loyalty devotion and nudges consumers to make a purchase of a coveted item with the right label regardless of the premium price the supplier might place on such goods.

The work has implications not only for the sportswear industry discussed in detail in the paper but for many other industries. Marketing departments might exploit brand loyalty and brand jealousy in their advertising campaigns and their work with so-called influencers to persuade otherwise hesitant consumers to part with their money.

Fundamentally, the work also reveals a symbiotic link between brand authenticity and customer loyalty. Consumers will commonly ignore a premium price if their reverence for a particular brand and their envy of those who have already purchased those coveted products is underpinned by authenticity.

Future work might consider how willing consumers are to pay a premium for classes of products other than big-label sportswear and the like, such as those with "green" credentials or offering social benefits.

Joshi, R., Garg, P. and Kamboj, S. (2023) 'Examining the effects of brand authenticity and brand identification on consumers' willingness to pay premium', Int. J. Internet Marketing and Advertising, Vol. 19, Nos. 1/2, pp.1–19.
DOI: 10.1504/IJIMA.2023.132717

A recent study conducted in schools in the Al-Najaf province of Iraq suggests that some drinking water in the region is contaminated with radon gas. The research, published in the International Journal of Nuclear Energy Science and Technology, considers the health implications for children aged 7 to 12 years old exposed to this radioactive element through their drinking water.

Rukia Jabar Dosh, Ali K. Hasan, and Ali Abid Abojassim of the University of Kufa in Al-Najaf, Kufa, Iraq, evaluated radon concentrations in water samples gathered from 37 districts. The team used a portable RAD-7 H2O detector to determine concentrations of radon-222 in the drinking water. Their data revealed an average concentration of 0.12±0.08 becquerels per litre, with readings ranging from 0.1 to 0.4 Bq/L. To assess the putative risk to the children of primary school age, the researchers calculated the Annual Effective Dose (AED) of radon inhaled and ingested by the children. They found this to be from 0.1 to 0.4 nanoSieverts per annum, which closely tracked the recorded radon concentration figures.

Importantly, the team compared their results with international safety standards and found that the majority of the analyzed samples either met safety levels or were better than the recommended safe dose. The radon concentrations mostly fell below the globally accepted standard of 0.5 Bq/l. In addition, the AED values calculated by the team were well within the permissible limits set by major global health and safety organizations. There were just two marginal exceptions among the samples from the 37 districts.

Despite potential fears to the contrary, the study suggests that primary school children drinking tap water in this region faced minimal health risks due to radon exposure. Even in cases where radon concentrations slightly surpassed recommended limits, the associated health implications were found to be negligible, a conclusion supported by the AED results, the team reports. Importantly, statistical analysis revealed no significant correlation between radon concentrations and factors such as the age of the school or whether it was a boys' or girls' school.

Dosh, R.J., Hasan, A.K. and Abojassim, A.A. (2023) 'Health effect of radon gas in water on children at Al-Najaf schools', Int. J. Nuclear Energy Science and Technology, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp.143–156.
DOI: 10.1504/IJNEST.2023.132689

A systematic review of the research literature into supply-chain resilience in the International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics offers new insights for businesses striving to navigate these turbulent waters.

Supply chains stretch across continents and disruptions loom as a constant threat, the concept of supply-chain resilience is now high on the business agenda. Supply-chain resilience is the ability to adapt, respond, and recover from unforeseen problems in order to ensure business continuity and sustainability. This urgency has been amplified by the escalating frequency and impact of supply chain disturbances.

An international team has looked for critical insights for businesses striving to ensure supply-chain resilience, by carrying out an exhaustive review of the research literature. The work involved a systematic literature review and a citation network analysis. Through that the team identified and dissected three prominent strategies underpinning supply-chain resilience: agility, risk management, and reengineering, or restoration. The team was thus able to construct a framework to extract the various relationships between these different factors and how they affect supply-chain resilience building on complex adaptive system theory.

The team looked to a remarkable case study of a large Chinese e-commerce powerhouse and how it coped during the COVID-19 pandemic. They look at its adept weathering of the pandemic storm through judicious supply-chain resilience strategies involving operational flexibility, agility, collaboration, and information sharing. The team show how these measures not only shielded the company from adversity but also bolstered its overall performance.

As managers grapple with supply-chain disruptions especially in times of global crisis, the challenge is to make informed decisions amidst the uncertainty. For businesses keen on fortifying their resilience, the study offers actionable insights. It advocates for the adoption of strategies such as knowledge management, flexibility, and enhanced visibility, accompanied by strong information sharing with supply-chain partners. By adopting a multifaceted approach, companies can improve the different facets of their operations simultaneously and so improve their response to disruptions. The review underscores the pivotal roles of supply chain integration, collaboration, and supplier diversification in countering disruptions and sustaining an uninterrupted supply flow.

The same tactics can boulster supply-chain resilience and at the same time can act as catalysts for improving overall operational stability and efficiency.

Li, C.S., Wong, C.W.Y., Wong, C.Y., Boon-itt, S. and Miao, X. (2023) 'Empirical research on performance effects of supply chain resilience: systematic literature review, citation network analysis and future research directions', Int. J. Shipping and Transport Logistics, Vol. 17, Nos. 1/2, pp.80–106.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSTL.2023.132655

The increasing frequency and intensity of flooding events worldwide due to climate change have drawn attention to the pressing issue of flood risk management. The loss of life can be devastating, particularly in less developed and more vulnerable parts of the world. In developed countries, the response is likely to save lives but sees a greater economic loss because of the damage to expansive and advanced infrastructure. That said, even in the developed world there is a big difference between the impact on low-income and affluent areas within the same regions.

Research in the World Review of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, has focused on two disparate regions of London: the low-income and ethnically diverse Newham and the more affluent Hammersmith. The study reveals that Newham has a much lower level of resiliency compared with Hammersmith in terms of flood risk, despite both being equally in the Thames flood plain.

The researchers, Arzoo Hassan and Cody Morris Paris of Middlesex University Dubai in the United Arab Emirates point out that it might be argued that floods are not a wholly natural phenomenon given that they are almost always associated with the structures of roads and building in an at-risk area. Moreover, they are socially constructed disasters because those worst affected are usually the most vulnerable communities.

Certain neighbourhoods often have a higher susceptibility to damage even within geographically close urban areas, the researchers explain. Poorer and marginalized populations are, they suggest, affected the most. In addition, socio-economic inequalities exacerbate the vulnerability of a given area relative to a more affluent and less demographically diverse area and hinder the ability of the area to recover quickly from the impact of the flood. Part of the problem, of course, is the lack of money to pay for the requisite insurance policies to cover damage and replace and rebuild.

The implications of this study are profound. As flooding events become more intense and frequent, it is critical that the social construct of floods and the disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities is recognised. Investing in resilience-building measures becomes paramount, particularly in low-income areas, to ensure equitable disaster response and recovery. Indeed, tailored flood risk management strategies are needed to protect vulnerable populations and foster resilient communities.

Hassan, A. and Paris, C.M. (2023) 'Flood risk: a capacity and vulnerability analysis of Newham and Hammersmith, UK', World Review of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp.187–204.
DOI: 10.1504/WRSTSD.2023.131924

Research in the International Journal of Trade and Global Markets has looked at the effects of the evolution of the BRIC economies to the BRICS bloc and the implications of that transition on investment and global trade. The work highlights the independence of leading emerging bond markets and their potential for investment diversification.

Adefemi A. Obalade of the University of the Western Cape in Bellville and Brian Nxumalo, Dylan Hoover, Grace O. Obalade, and Paul-Francois of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa used the autoregressive distributed lag model (ARDL) and Pearson correlation tests to explore long-term relationships among bond markets within these blocs. Their findings suggest that investors might explore these markets for improved portfolio diversification opportunities, despite their being within the same league of emerging economies. The team suggests that understanding the dynamics of cointegration and independence among these markets has implications for portfolio management, risk assessment, and global market exposure.

The BRIC countries are Brazil, Russia, India, and China. This economic collation became BRICS when South Africa was added in 2010. The term "BRIC" was originally coined by Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill in 2001 to cover the fast-growing economies that might dominate global finance by 2050.

Obalade and colleagues looked at the BRIC era from 2007 to 2010 and found that long-running cointegration occurred only among three of the twelve possible combinations of bond markets. For the BRICS period (2010 to 2020), there were only two long-running cointegrations among the twenty possible combinations. The implications of this are that while BRIC and BRICS may have been put together nominally, the bond markets in the emerging markets are more independent than originally thought. Indeed, the strongest connections were between China and India and Brazil and South Africa, respectively, during the two periods the team examined. The addition of South Africa to the bloc led to the evaporation of many of the connections present in the BRIC era.

The findings align with previous research that highlighted certain BRICS bond markets as providing diversification opportunities due to their lack of cointegration. However, they contrast with other studies reporting cointegration among BRICS bond markets, likely due to differences in sample periods and methodological approaches. As such, the present work suggests that despite the BRICS nations being part of a nominal bloc, investment across those markets nevertheless represents diversification.

The lack of cointegration is not surprising, given that BRICS economies respond differently to global factors. The research underscores the country-specific nature of risks associated with bond investments and the heterogeneity among BRICS member states.

Obalade, A.A., Nxumalo, B., Hoover, D., Obalade, G.O. and Muzindutsi, P-F. (2023) 'Evolution of emerging bond markets' cointegration: a transition from BRIC to BRICS', Int. J. Trade and Global Markets, Vol. 17, Nos. 3/4, pp.223–233.
DOI: 10.1504/IJTGM.2023.132036

Fires threaten lives, property, and the environment. Fighting fire and rescuing those trapped by a fire is risky but essential. New research in the International Journal of Advanced Mechatronic Systems, looks at how autonomous wheeled rescue robots might be used in fire rescue. The work involves the development of a novel path-planning algorithm with an advanced fire-recognition system for indoor fires. The system offers significant benefits over conventional map-based approaches and finds the shortest and safest escape route for those trapped by the fire.

Shaun Q.Y. Tan, V.J. Karthik, A. Govind, and P.M. Rajasree of the Electronics and Instrumentation Department at RV College of Engineering in Bengaluru, India, tackled the challenge of fire recognition and localization using convolutional neural networks (CNNs) along with various image processing techniques. To optimize their CNN model effectively, they employed the particle swarm optimization (PSO) approach.

The team reports that their CNN model outperformed the MobileNet architecture, demonstrating exceptional recognition and localization accuracy on simulated indoor fire scenarios. Future work will lower the computing demands of the system as well as boosting accuracy. Indeed, a more refined model will be vital to ensure the practicality and efficacy of unmanned rescue robots in real-world emergencies. The system also be adapted to other kinds of emergencies.

The system has a limitation in that the algorithm cannot take into account potential obstacles in the path of the robot. Future improvements would incorporate local optimization techniques, ensuring seamless navigation even in complex indoor environments. With increased accuracy, adaptability, and practicality, the technology promises to become a powerful asset in safeguarding lives and property in the face of unpredictable fire emergencies.

Tan, S.Q.Y., Karthik, V.J., Govind, A. and Rajasree, P.M. (2023) 'An approach into navigation and vision for autonomous fire fighting robots', Int. J. Advanced Mechatronic Systems, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp.156-164.
DOI: 10.1504/IJAMECHS.2023.132522

Research in the International Journal of Environmental Engineering reveals details of the first successful, large-scale landfill mining project in Andalusia, Spain.

Landfill mining is an emerging approach for the remediation of old waste sites. It allows for the re-use of valuable materials, such as plastics and metals that may have been dumped before recycling facilities were widely available. The process might also allow an entire brownfield site to be remediated sufficiently for development or even rewilding.

David Caro-Moreno, Francisco J. Rodríguez-Gallardo, and Francisco A. Jiménez-Cantizano of the Environmental and Water Agency, part of the Regional Government of Andalusia, together with Germán Coca-López of the Council of Sustainability, Environment and Blue Economy of Andalusia, have assessed a pilot project carried out in the town of Dehesas Viejas, Granada.

This site was an illegal hillside dumping ground for construction and demolition wastes rather than a conventional municipal landfill. The profile of materials there would be rather different from the materials found in a municipal landfill. Nevertheless, the work undertaken on this illegal dump was sufficient to revert the entire site to its natural state thus requiring no ongoing maintenance. Almost 90% of the waste materials were retrieved and found to be low-hazard and so suitable for road construction projects or backfilling conventional landfill sites that have been mined.

Where mining of conventional landfill might be required, there is perhaps a greater need for segregation of the waste materials during the recovery process with a view to their being reused or recycled. The present research nevertheless bodes well for clearing up other big flytipping or illegal landfill sites.

Landfill mining could become an effective approach to addressing the environmental hazards posed by old landfill sites. Moreover, it could offer a supply of raw materials, such as rare and difficult-to-source metals used in electronics. These could be fed into the industrial recycling and supply chains. There will, of course, be issues of contamination with hazardous materials in some landfills set for excavation and mining. With appropriate safety measures in place during the process, landfill mining has great potential for the reuse of erstwhile waste and the possibility of remediating sites either for development or repurposing as wildlife reserves, or simply ensuring that they revert to their natural state.

Caro-Moreno, D., Coca-López, G., Rodríguez-Gallardo, F.J. and Jiménez-Cantizano, F.A. (2023) 'Successful illegal dumpsite remediation: a landfill mining demonstration project at Andalusia (Spain)', Int. J. Environmental Engineering, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp.95–122.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEE.2023.132627

Research in the International Journal of Nano and Biomaterials has demonstrated how Microcrystalline Cellulose (MCC) can be used to soak up the drug amitriptyline in cases of overdose. Amitriptyline is a commonly prescribed tricyclic antidepressant, used to manage depression, chronic pain, and mood disorders. It is, as with many prescription medicines, also a drug of abuse as well as representing a potential lethal risk to users through overdose.

Amitriptyline can have various detrimental effects if misused. It can affect breathing cause nausea vomiting and diarrhoea. It also affects the central nervous system leading to confusion, agitation, hallucinations, delirium, drowsiness, and potentially coma at higher doses. It has serious effects on the heart and cardiovascular system causing arrhythmia, hypotension (a dangerous drop in blood pressure), and even cardiac arrest.

Soma Chakraborty, Adrienne Nicole S. Bartolome, and Francisgerard A. Aguilar in the Department of Chemistry at Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City, Philippines, explain that sequestration, the process of capturing and removing a substance from a solution, could be used to manage amitriptyline overdose. The team has investigated the effectiveness of MCC in sequestering, or adsorbing, amitriptyline from aqueous solutions.

The results are promising showing that MCC has a 74% adsorption rate over just two hours. The researchers also found that at higher concentrations of amitriptyline, sequestration by MCC was even more effective. Their experiments with MCC modified with a well-known pharmaceutical additive seaweed extract beta-carrageenan, a natural polysaccharide, as well as nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) also showed how adsorption of amitriptyline could be enhanced when compared with unmodified MCC.

The findings hold much promise for treating accidental or even deliberate amitriptyline overdose. Prompt emergency action would see the MMC or an optimised modified version used to mop up amitriptyline in the stomach or gastrointestinal tract.

Chakraborty, S., Bartolome, A.N.S. and Aguilar, F.A. (2023) 'Amitriptyline sequestration by unmodified and modified microcrystalline cellulose: a potential treatment for drug overdosing', Int. J. Nano and Biomaterials, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp.51–67.
DOI: 10.1504/IJNBM.2023.132508

Research in the International Journal of Economic Policy in Emerging Economies has tackled the difficult issue of calculating the financial risk associated with a company in an emerging market. Conventional methods do not work well in this financial environment and produce biased results. The new work overcomes this by creating a standardized procedure to match two asset pricing models, enabling accurate calculations for specific industries in emerging markets of the so-called unlevered betas.

In financial jargon, the beta is a statistical measure of a company's market risk. The unlevered beta or asset beta is a commonly used measurement of risk related to the beta that represents the company's volatility in the market, which focuses on assets and ignores its debts.

The work of Pablo José Arana Barbier of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú in Lima, Perú successfully demonstrates a new approach to calculating the unlevered beta risk. Barbier has identified several issues associated with measuring company risk in emerging countries. These include opportunity cost, negotiation liquidity, information availability, dividend payments, volatility, and investor sentiment.

Having identified these factors, Barbier's approach offers a strong correlation that allows risk to be estimated through the market without introducing bias from indicators in developed markets as would be the norm elsewhere. Barbier also confirms that the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) is a suitable valuation measure but works best if inflationary pressures are excluded and any risk at the national level is ignored.

The empirical approach builds on earlier methods to calculate unlevered betas but allows companies in emerging markets to understand their risks using publicly available databases and financial information. Barbier concedes that there remains a need for further investigation to comprehend the specific factors that account for correlations between unlevered betas calculated through this graphical method and the proposed model. Indeed, the study suggests a potential role for earnings per share (EPS) and investor sentiment in explaining unlevered betas in emerging economies. EPS has previously been overlooked but may represent an important factor in emerging markets where greater value is associated with speculation and price differentials, a value that might even outweigh dividend payments.

Arana Barbier, P.J. (2023) 'Towards a deeper comprehension of unlevered betas in emerging markets: Gordon and a regression stock valuation model', Int. J. Economic Policy in Emerging Economies, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp.586–599.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEPEE.2023.132536

Research in the International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing sheds light on the effect of music on people using fitness facilities, providing useful insights for the health and fitness industry. The study shows how different types of music, whether self-selected by those working out or chosen by the fitness facility, affect the emotional and cognitive responses of customers in such environments.

Antonio S. Williams and Zack P. Pedersen of Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA, and Byungik Park of Dongguk University, Seoul, South Korea explain that external stimuli, such as music, can influence a person's emotional and cognitive states, and so sought to understand whether music could be motivational in the context of exercise.

The researchers recruited 183 self-paced gym users and put them into two groups – one in which they could choose the music they listened to during their workout and a second where the facility selected the music. Tests were carried out in a normal fitness facility rather than a laboratory. The team then used structural equation modeling to analyze the data and evaluate their hypothesis.

Three findings emerged. First, the participants who chose their own music were much more motivated in their fitness activities compared to those in the facility-selected music group. The team suggests that choice in this matter gave the gym users more autonomy which resonated well with their workout.

Secondly, the perception of whether the music was motivational or not directly affected the gym users' emotional state. If they were enjoying the music while working out, they felt more motivated, and thus had a heightened emotional response during exercise.

Finally, the level of musical enjoyment chimed with how satisfied the gym users felt with their workout session once completed. In other words, the emotional and cognitive impact of the music directly influenced the overall satisfaction of the customers with their exercise experience.

The implications of this research are substantial for fitness facility managers and owners. Understanding the motivational power of music and its impact on the emotions of their customers could help to optimize the fitness facility environment and enhance the overall experience. Greater satisfaction and enjoyment can then lead to repeat business, of course.

Williams, A.S., Park, B. and Pedersen, Z.P. (2023) 'The influence of music on self-paced fitness consumers' perceived motivational qualities and optimal level of emotional state and satisfaction with exercise experience', Int. J. Sport Management and Marketing, Vol. 23, No. 4, pp.310–326.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2023.131950

Research in the International Journal of Critical Infrastructures offers guidance on securing water critical infrastructures and reaffirms the urgency of protecting environment monitoring technologies as cities evolve into smart cities. The research by Anh Tuan Hoang and Xuan Ky Nguyen of the Vietnam National University in Hanoi focuses on the city of Quang Ninh and offers proposals that would help it build resilient and secure systems.

As cities evolve and systems become more and more interconnected and reliant on information technology, there is a pressing need to enhance not only the requisite sensors and actuators for the smart city but to ensure they can cope with demand and fend off cyber attacks and other malicious activity.

The present research examines the critical infrastructure of water systems in Vietnam, a country in which smart cities are high on the agenda. The team highlights how important is protecting environmental monitoring technologies from various security threats. By focusing on Quang Ninh the team has demonstrated what risks a smart city might face and how critical infrastructure might be made watertight.

Water infrastructure is, of course, critical in the urban environment, sustaining homes, medical facilities, workplaces, and natural ecosystems. The integration of environmental monitoring technology into this infrastructure allows real-time control and operation, which can improve efficiency and resource management. However, it also represents a target for malicious third parties and so-called bad actors who might interfere with or otherwise disrupt this kind of interconnected technology. While a cyberattack on e-commerce would be an inconvenience an attack on water critical infrastructure could be a matter of life or death for thousands, if not millions, of people across a smart city.

In Quang Ninh, plans for digital transformation are already underway to build the smart city of the future. The team has looked at the technological risk facing such a city in terms of preventing adverse events. The researchers have thus identified a strong relationship between technological security and the performance of environmental protection and management. The work highlights the human factors that can lead to the compromising of technological systems and points out that such factors must be scrutinized closely to enhance security and preclude as best as possible cyber attacks that exploit social engineering.

Policymakers, urban planners, and stakeholders in Vietnam and elsewhere can turn to the insights in this research to help them develop strategies for the fortification of their critical infrastructure and protect against non-conventional security threats.

Hoang, A.T. and Nguyen, X.K. (2023) 'Managing technological security of smart environment monitoring systems: study of a coastal province in Vietnam', Int. J. Critical Infrastructures, Vol. 19, No. 4, pp.383–403.
DOI: 10.1504/IJCIS.2023.132236

A study in the World Review of Intermodal Transportation Research offers a solution to the problem of last-mile transportation in rural areas. The last mile, the stretch from distribution centres to end-users, has long been a bottleneck in remote regions due to limited infrastructure at those end points.

Nara Quintela Begnini and Hiroshi Morita of Osaka University, Japan, have focused on a way to integrate traditional bus routes with on-demand passenger transportation and parcel delivery services. Their solution could create a seamless and efficient last-mile network for logistics as well as making better use of buses. The team's analysis was based on a mixed integer programming formulation, which allowed them to optimize the coordination of various transportation modes for passengers and parcels alike.

The team highlights the striking savings on transport costs and putative pollution reduction possible by integrating passenger and parcel transportation. Their simulations of rural communities shows that the approach should work better than non-integrated or partially integrated approaches. Remarkably, even when prioritizing for the passengers, there are still significant efficiency gains. Rural communities face unique challenges in terms of transportation of people and the delivery of goods. A combined bus and on-demand delivery services could streamline last-mile logistics and reduce costs and pollution significantly.

The researchers add that their approach also introduces a decision-maker support system that allows service operators to visualize trade-offs when prioritizing passenger services within such an integrated passenger-parcel delivery system. This would help service providers make better decisions about timetabling, resource allocation and the optimization of transportation.

The implications could be far-reaching offering an integrated solution to a widespread problem facing otherwise marginalised rural communities that often have limited connectivity. With better access to public transportation options and essential parcel delivery services, residents in rural areas can enjoy improved access to goods, services, and economic opportunities, transforming their daily lives. The improved sustainability of the integrated logistics approach should reduce fuel consumption and emissions, which of course benefits the rural community and the wider world.

Begnini, N.Q. and Morita, H. (2023) 'Analysis of last-mile operations for mobility and logistics in rural areas', World Review of Intermodal Transportation Research, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp.235–257
DOI: 10.1504/WRITR.2023.132484

As the world attempts to cope with the increasing frequency of intense heatwaves, soaring temperatures, wildfires, and extreme weather events that affect lives and livelihoods, communities and businesses have to adapt to cope with the undeniable. One area of concern is the vulnerability of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to these extremes. Now, research in the International Journal of Global Warming, has focused on a particularly vulnerable region in the developing world, Visakhapatnam, India, in order to identify what measures are crucial to the necessary adaptation.

The team, Hrishikesh Mahadev Rayadurgam and Prakash Rao of the Symbiosis Institute of International Business at Symbiosis International (Deemed to be University) in Hinjewadi, Pune, India, have used statistical modelling to delve into the factors contributing to the susceptibility of SMEs to problems arising from extreme heatwaves. The team's findings offer new insights, highlighting the factors that affect risk to SMEs and suggesting ways to mitigate the problems such companies face.

Three main factors directly affect risk to SMEs: physical infrastructure, employees, and hazard likelihood and perception. Obviously, damage to buildings and infrastructure is perhaps the most significant contributor to heatwave vulnerability in terms of the business. But, in human and social terms, the risk to employee health and wellbeing is critical especially as heatwaves become more frequent and more extreme.

The research focuses on hard (physical) and soft (non-physical) measures that ought to be taken in order to protect the business and its employees. Guidelines are offered on how to improve climate resilience. These same guidelines while aimed at the focus of the present study, Visakhapatnam, go beyond this region as they will be just as applicable and as replicable in other regions and countries.

Moving forward, the study calls for more in-depth analyses of SMEs and their specific adaptation measures to refine our understanding of heatwave risk. By acknowledging and addressing vulnerabilities, businesses can help protect themselves but also contribute to sustainable development and climate action goals.

The ongoing heatwave crises in many parts of the world underscores the urgency of such research and its implications. The need to equip SMEs with the knowledge and tools to adapt to climate challenges has never been more important. Policymakers and businesses will have to work together to help with this adaptation.

Rayadurgam, H.M. and Rao, P. (2023) 'Analysing the determinants of heatwave risk for small and medium enterprises: a case study', Int. J. Global Warming, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 430–450.
DOI: 10.1504/IJGW.2023.132278

During a crisis or ongoing disaster, field hospitals and emergency response IT infrastructure can face cybersecurity challenges just as any other IT infrastructure, but with life or death consequences. Hackers and scammers hoping to exploit vulnerabilities can disrupt critical healthcare services during the emergency. Research in the International Journal of Emergency Management, looks at the growing concerns surrounding cybersecurity of medical devices, health data, and overall healthcare infrastructure.

Nasir B. Ahmed, Nicolas Daclin, and Gilles Dusserre of the Laboratoire des Sciences des Risques in Alès, and Marc Olivaux of the Université de Nîmes, Nîmes, France, highlight how healthcare systems are targets for cyberthreat actors partly because of the invaluable data they hold. Weak defences in these critical systems provide avenues for unauthorized access and potential harm, such as the implementation of ransomware or comprising patient and healthcare worker privacy for financial gain.

Of course, all IT infrastructure is vulnerable to such threats, but during the chaos of an emergency situation, third-parties can exploit human as well as technological vulnerabilities to access healthcare infrastructure for malicious ends. The team reports on the various techniques that cyberthreat actors might use in such circumstances., These range from sophisticated social engineering campaigns to physical and technical attacks on emergency response IT infrastructure.

The team emphasises that urgent action is needed to bolster cybersecurity measures in field hospitals and emergency response operations. Investment is needed in advanced security technologies, regular vulnerability audits, and comprehensive cybersecurity training for personnel. They point out that collaboration between healthcare institutions, emergency response agencies, and cybersecurity experts could be the way forward to help mitigate potentially lethal cyber threats. By sharing threat intelligence and best practices, those involved can build a united front against cyber threats and so boost the resilience of healthcare systems during a crisis.

Cyberthreats are continuously evolving, so there also needs to be continuous evaluation of cybersecurity measures and strategies in place. It is important that those running security systems for emergency healthcare keep ahead of the threats and act quickly as new and sophisticated threats emerge. Only by being vigilant and proactive can emergency response operations be safeguarded against threats.

Ahmed, N.B., Daclin, N., Olivaux, M. and Dusserre, G. (2023) 'Cybersecurity challenges for field hospitals: impacts of emergency cyberthreats during emergency situations', Int. J. Emergency Management, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp.274–292.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEM.2023.132387

Password management strategies can foster trust in digital services, according to research in the International Journal of Business Performance Management. The biggest barrier to the use of password management is, of course, a lack of awareness among potential users despite campaigns highlighting how important it is to use strong passwords for one's logins and not to use the same password more than once. The research represents a call to action for those offering digital services to encourage users to adopt a strong password management strategy.

Online activities touch almost every realm of our lives. We have online logins for countless different activities including banking, shopping, healthcare, education, work, and entertainment. Ensuring the security of one's accounts is critical to staying safe online and not falling prey to scammers and fraudsters. The use of weak passwords across one's different accounts can have disastrous consequences, if just one account is breached, then all one's accounts with the same password might then be compromised. Password managers offer a way to have complex and unique passwords for different accounts, although there are other strategies that might be used for managing logins.

Nitin Bansal of the SBI School of Banking and Commerce and Krishna Nath Pandey of the Sunrise University both in Rajasthan, India, surveyed more than 400 people in the National Capital Region (NCR) of India to investigate the adoption of digital services, concerns regarding security, and how those that use digital services manage their logins and passwords. Fundamentally, people are increasingly willing to use digital services, but are often held back from doing so by security concerns. The research suggests that trust and usage can be improved by education regarding password management strategies.

The researchers suggest that digital service providers should prioritize customer education regarding password management strategies, government too should be leading national-level awareness programs and integrating computer security into the educational curriculum.

Bansal, N. and Pandey, K.N. (2023) 'Impact of password management strategies on the trust enhancement in the digital era', Int. J. Business Performance Management, Vol. 24, Nos. 3/4, pp.484–503.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBPM.2023.132333

Can renewable energy microfinance promote financial inclusion and empower the vulnerable? That is the question research in the International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development seeks to answer.

Andrea Gatto of Wenzhou-Kean University in Zheijiang, China, has explored the concept of energy microfinance to see how this promising approach might address the energy and financial needs of vulnerable populations, particularly women in rural areas. By bridging the gap between microfinance and renewable energy, his strategy might help foster sustainable development while empowering marginalized communities.

Energy microfinance is a financial mechanism that provides small-scale loans or credit to enable access to clean and renewable energy solutions for individuals and communities with limited resources. The adoption of technologies, such as solar panels or small-scale wind turbines, could improve energy access and energy security and remove the costly cycle of reliance on fossil fuels.

Gatto has focused on vulnerable populations who generally have limited financial opportunities and often have unreliable energy supply. By directing microfinance towards such people it might be possible to improve their quality of life and perhaps even break them out of the traps that are poverty and marginalization. The benefits to the previously underserved individuals are obvious poverty reduction and improved social inclusivity. But, the global advantage is in terms of environmental protection and the avoidance of adding to environmental problems, such as carbon emissions and the associated climate change.

The research offers a conceptual framework as well as practical policy recommendations for effectively deploying energy microfinance. The research demonstrates the potential of this approach for driving positive change in ecological, social, and economic domains as well as, perhaps, in governance.

Governments, financial institutions, and development organizations might now learn from these findings and find ways to improve policies and programs that foster inclusive growth and social equity as well as environmental protection. The integration of renewable energy and microfinance could take us into a more sustainable future where the vulnerable are empowered and the sustainable development agenda is promoted, and the environment not compromised.

Gatto, A. (2023) 'Can renewable energy microfinance promote financial inclusion and empower the vulnerable?', Int. J. Environment and Sustainable Development, Vol. 22, No. 3, pp.368–373.
DOI: 10.1504/IJESD.2023.132092

Research in the International Journal of Services Operations and Informatics discusses how the concept of the digital twin might be used to improve factory layout. The approach could cut the time and resources needed to design floorplans for industrial plants and ultimately improve the efficiency of the factory.

A digital twin is a virtual replica of a real-world object or system that can be used to simulate the way in which that object or system might work if changes are made. It is not simply a three-dimensional model of the object or system, however. It includes information about connectivity between components of the system as well as about their behaviour in the real world.

Andreas Lind of Global Industrial Development at Scania CV AB in Södertälje, Lars Hanson, Dan Högberg, and Anna Syberfeldt of the University of Skövde, and Dan Lämkull of the Volvo Car Corporation in Göteborg, Sweden, have turned to the digital twin concept to help them demonstrate better factory design in the automotive industry. They point out that the extended communication framework offered by a digital twin can be used in the real world once a design has been implemented. It enables data exchange between virtual and physical objects and so could revolutionize the way industries operate.

The conventional approach to factory layout planning using virtual environments can be a time-consuming and iterative process. Its success relies on the expertise of the software user but is also susceptible to faulty inputs. The team suggests that the digital twin approach can overcome these limitations by facilitating rapid information sharing that allows the design to be created more effectively in the first place and the digital twin to assist with ongoing operations once it is in place.

The team discusses four key concepts: digital model, digital pre-runner, digital shadow, and digital twin in their work. These concepts illustrate how data exchange between virtual and physical objects leads to more realistic and accurate datasets. By accurately mapping data to the corresponding virtual model, simulations and optimizations can be performed, bridging the gap between the virtual and real worlds.

There are issues to be addressed before the digital twin concept can be fully implemented, such as the standardization of virtual and physical object descriptions as well as the protocols needed for information exchange within and beyond the factory layout from sensors and signals, for instance.

Ultimately, the digital twin will help in the design of the factory and then become an automatically updated virtual environment representing the factory or manufacturing plant that can be used to improve ongoing decision-making and process optimization.

Lind, A., Hanson, L., Högberg, D., Lämkull, D. and Syberfeldt, A. (2023) 'Extending and demonstrating an engineering communication framework utilising the digital twin concept in a context of factory layouts', Int. J. Services Operations and Informatics, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp.201–224.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSOI.2023.132345

Research in the International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, investigates the potential for machine learning models to predict the occurrence of disease pandemics with greater accuracy than other approaches. The ability to quickly identify the spread of an emergent pathogen and determine whether or not it will lead to a global pandemic could allow policymakers and healthcare professionals to develop more effective planning, response, and containment strategies during a global health crisis.

Soni Singh, K.R. Ramkumar, and Ashima Kukkar of Chitkara University in Punjab, India, have taken a novel approach to improving the parameters of existing machine learning models using the Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) algorithm, which they say helped them surpassed the accuracy of previous prediction models.

Pandemic diseases wields a significant impact on societies worldwide, inevitably causing acute and chronic morbidities among those the disease does not kill. There is a pressing need to find ways to forecast the spread, mortality rates, and recovery cases for new pandemics as they arise.

The team tested the performance of their new model, using data from the COVID-19 pandemic and Ebola datasets. They were able to replicate the data in simulated predictions particularly in terms of daily projections for the spread of COVID-19 in the USA and Ebola outbreaks in Guinea and Liberia. Of the various machine learning approaches tested, the team found that the MLP-ACO algorithm was the most effective, outperforming the others tested.

The team explains that the optimization of machine learning model parameters as demonstrated in their paper offers a promising path forward in pandemic prediction. Fundamentally, the approach significantly improves predictions using time-series-based pandemic datasets. However, the team also recommends that additional studies are now needed to help improve accuracy still further.

Singh, S., Ramkumar, K.R. and Kukkar, A. (2023) 'Pandemic outbreak prediction with an enhanced parameter optimisation algorithm using machine learning models', Int. J. Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp.359–386.
DOI: 10.1504/IJESDF.2023.131960

Research in the International Journal of Business and Emerging Markets has looked at the impact of yoga on the skill set and well-being of business executives in transitioning economies. Rather than the practice of yoga being a simple passtime, the researchers found that it can enhance behaviour and cultural intelligence among executives.

Anand N. Asthana of CENTRUM Católica Graduate Business School, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú in Lima, Perú, has used a statistical tool known as the PROCESS macro to examine a mediation model of the effects of yoga practice. The Asthana demonstrates that rather than being a "woke activity" or a "trivial pursuit", yoga has a significant and positive effect on the behaviour and cultural intelligence of the participants. In other words, the practice improves well-being and attitudes among those executives undertaking the activity on a regular basis.

The implications of this research are far-reaching. As transition economies shift from monopolistic public sector businesses to privatized enterprises with global exposure, the executives operating in those companies must adapt accordingly. Incorporating yoga into executive development programs could offer a useful contribution to their training and progress. Given that "helping" plays an important role in effective collaboration, teamwork, and fostering positive relationships within an organization, the boost that yoga practice gives to this type of behaviour could be critical. By promoting helping behavior, yoga can contribute to creating a supportive and cooperative work environment, ultimately leading to improved productivity and organizational success.

It is worth adding that cultural intelligence is an increasingly important part of the interconnected global business landscape. Individuals who can understand and adapt to different cultural contexts are better equipped to communicate effectively with those from different cultures to negotiate with them and to make appropriate decisions in a setting of cultural diversity and at the international level. The current research indicates that yoga can enhance cultural intelligence by cultivating mindfulness, which in turn fosters openness, empathy, and a deeper appreciation of cultural differences.

The research also highlights the importance of life-long learning as part of one's continued professional development but demonstrates that non-cognitive skills are of great importance as well appropriate technical prowess within an organisation.

Asthana, A.N. (2023) 'Reskilling business executives in transition economies: can yoga help?', Int. J. Business and Emerging Markets, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp.267–286.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBEM.2023.132199

Research in the International Journal of Business Information Systems has focused on the use of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and their effects on the business bottom line. The researchers suggest that ERPs can have profound effects on an organisation, significantly improving efficiency and profits. However, if used inappropriately they can lead to corporate decline and even bankruptcy.

ERP systems are advanced management information systems that integrate various functional areas within an organization with the aim of streamlining operations and improving overall efficiency.

Ford Lumban Gaol of Binus University and Mohamad Fajar Deniansyah of the Bina Nusantara University both in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Tokuro Matsuo of the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology in Tokyo, Japan, have examined the efficiency of business processes both before and after the implementation of an ERP system. The team found meaningful improvements are possible. But, they also highlight the factors that must be considered if the implementation of an ERP system is to be successful. They suggest that management must have vision and a solid business strategy while it is critical that experience among the company ERP team is strong.

Without this vision and team experience, ERP system implementation can fail leading to misalignments between operational strategy and business processes. Problems will arise if implementation takes longer than- anticipated, user training is inadequate, there are cost overruns and a lack of management dedication to the approach. When handled well, an ERP system as implemented in the automotive industry example discussed in the paper, shows that significant improvements in business processes can be made. The research underscores the positive impact of an ERP system on the company's design and manufacturing unit specifically, the team reports.

As companies seek ways to optimize their processes and gain a competitive edge, this research provides insights into the potential for corportate transformation that is possible with an ERP system if undertaken with foresight, vision, and experience.

Gaol, F.L., Deniansyah, M.F. and Matsuo, T. (2023) 'The measurement impact of ERP system implementation on the automotive industry business process efficiency', Int. J. Business Information Systems, Vol. 43, No. 3, pp.429–442.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBIS.2023.132124

A new approach to autonomous robot navigation is reported in the International Journal of Computational Science and Engineering, which could help avoid collisions and accidents in a variety of future applications in various environments, such as industrial buildings and warehouses, agricultural fields, and in the urban self-driving vehicle landscape, search and rescue sites, in healthcare settings, and even in the home and garden.

Addressing the challenges of planning and motion control, crucial components in enabling robots to move safely and efficiently has been high on the research agenda for many years. Now, Jieyun Yu of the School of Mathematics at Jinan University, Guangzhou, China, has focused on two fundamental aspects to overcome the problems: enhancing control system performance and overcoming limitations in path planning. Yu has achieved precise trajectory tracking, using a novel exponential feedforward-feedback control strategy based on iterative learning control (ILC) and model-free adaptive control (MFAC). Her approach improves trajectory convergence, reduces errors, and ensures accurate and repeatable robot motion.

The path-planning system also addresses the issue of collision avoidance by using the artificial potential field (APF) algorithm. In this obstacles along the robot's path are treated as repulsive forces within a virtual potential field, allowing the robot to navigate around them seamlessly. Yu has carried out simulations and validated the effectiveness of her approach and shown it to be more effective than traditional models.

Yu's approach could allow a robot or autonomous vehicle to find an appropriate and safe route much more quickly than other approaches, minimizing avoidable errors and opening up the possibility for robots to operate in complex and dynamic environments.

For example, the approach could be used to improve the behaviour of autonomous vehicles allowing self-driving cars to navigate complex networks of roads safely and accurately. In warehouse and industrial automation, the system could improve logistics involving picking and sorting and moving goods and materials around a site. The system might also improve search and rescue robots allowing them to work more effectively in disaster zones and navigate hazardous environments. Out in the fields, agricultural robotics will benefit too, with more efficient ploughing, planting, irrigation, monitoring, and harvesting.

Yu, J. (2023) 'Research on mobile robot path planning and tracking control', Int. J. Computational Science and Engineering, Vol. 26, No. 4, pp.349–360.
DOI: 10.1504/IJCSE.2023.132164

Research in the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics seeks to understand the concept of business governance and ethics and how these are differentiated from the more obvious notion of management. The study has implications for businesses and organizations that are hoping to improve their governance practices by giving them a clearer understanding of what constitutes "good" governance and providing a systematic classification of key governance concepts based on their economic functions.

The field of governance research encompasses strategic decision-making, oversight, and addressing crime and misconduct. The main impetus is to understand the factors that contribute to effective governance or result in poor outcomes. Critically, the research is not about making ethical judgements but about helping to distinguish between good and bad governance in terms of effectiveness.

Scott L. Mitchell of the Open Compliance and Ethics Group in Phoenix, Arizona, Mark D. Packard of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, and Brent B. Clark of the University of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska, USA, have tackled the challenges of defining and evaluating "good" governance as opposed to "bad".

Existing business research faces an inherent problem of semantics in that it does not distinguish clearly between governance and management. This makes it difficult for researchers to study the various concepts surrounding each without the confusion of blurred lines dividing the two areas of work. Moreover, the notion of governance and what constitutes good governance also depends on the stance of any given organization or owner, rendering sweeping generalisations inadequate as they commonly are. The research suggests that the evaluation of governance practices needs to be defined but also must take a unique approach for each organisation being examined rather than attempting a one-size-fits-all approach.

Efforts to clearly define and assess good governance are crucial for advancing governance theory and practices across the business world. The research suggests that transformative change in governance theory must begin with a solid foundation. And, by providing a systematic classification of governance concepts based on economic functions, the current study lays the foundations for such research in the future.

Mitchell, S.L., Packard, M.D. and Clark, B.B. (2023) 'Good governance, bad governance: a refinement and application of key governance concepts', Int. J. Business Governance and Ethics, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp.471–494.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBGE.2023.132119

A review in the International Journal of Design Engineering, looks at the potential for biodiesel with biogas as a sustainable fuel to limit our reliance on fossil fuels and reduce pollution.

Sustainable energy solutions are high on the environmental agenda. Vehicles powered by electricity from sustainable sources such as wind and solar would seem to be the optimum solution. However, infrastructure to support such a paradigm shift in transport is not widespread, especially in the developing world. Until it is there is perhaps a need for alternatives for fossil fuels that can work with current internal combustion engines. Sanjay R. Mali of the Gujarat Technological University in India, and colleagues have carried out a comprehensive review of alternative fuels for internal combustion engines. Their study sheds light on the performance and environmental implications of biodiesel and biogas.

The team highlights the potential of biofuels in improving engine efficiency and reducing fuel consumption, while also addressing concerns about pollutant emissions. The findings have implications for the future of sustainable transportation and perhaps even energy production.

Biodiesel combined with biogas has emerged as a highly efficient and more environmentally friendly alternative to conventional diesel fuel. The review looks at results from studies comparing biodiesel and biogas with conventional fuels, focusing on key performance parameters such as brake thermal efficiency (BTE), brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC), and emissions like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. The results indicate that blending 20% biodiesel with biogas achieves the best outcome without the need for extensive engine modifications. This fuel combination not only enhances engine performance but reduces pollution. In addition, little modification of the supply or distribution infrastructure, particularly at the consumer level, would be required to incorporate biofuels into the traditional petroleum-based liquid fuel supply chain.

The team points out that there are many crops that might be used for biodiesel production – Jatropha, Karanja, cotton, palm, coconut, rapeseed, sunflower, soybean, and peanut oils. India, in particular, has the capacity to grow and use such a diverse range of plant resources for biodiesel and biogas production, making it a prime candidate for exploring and harnessing these benefits.

As governments and industry need to prioritize clean energy solutions, this review offers a roadmap for the adoption of biodiesel with biogas as a viable and scalable alternative to neat fossil fuels.

Mali, S.R., Shah, P.R., Shah, D.R. and Mevada, D.D. (2023) 'Comparative effect of biogas and biodiesel on performance and emission of diesel engine: a review', Int. J. Design Engineering, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp.69–85.
DOI: 10.1504/IJDE.2023.131976

New insights into the design and development of mobile language learning applications for elementary school children learning two languages are discussed in a paper in the International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation.

Athip Thumvichit, Watcharapol Wiboolyasarin, Singhanat Nomnian, Narongdej Phanthaphoommee, and Koraya Techawongstien of the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia at Mahidol University in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, have identified various important factors for developing mobile language learning applications. The research involved exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis of interview responses from more than a thousand working teachers. The results shed light on how such applications might be better structured and designed for the future. The five key factors identified were: application attribute, lesson content, immersive environment, learning strategy, and instructional use.

The team suggests that the identification of these factors can now serve as a guide for developing mobile language learning apps for young learners, particularly those learning two languages simultaneously. Dual-language learning is common in schools where English is not the native language and even in some schools where it is. English is the common language of international discourse in many contexts. As such, in a country, such as Thailand, children will most likely be taught Thai and English. In the USA, where Spanish is a commonly spoken language in many areas, it might be the second language. Of course, there are many combinations of language teaching in different parts of the world.

The research also highlights various attributes of an app that would be relevant to its design for language learning. These include multimedia output and input, social interactivity, language processing, motivational features, autonomy, personalization, automated assessment, functionality, portability, context sensitivity, and connectivity.

The study emphasises that the development of any application must be underpinned by evaluation in real-life classroom settings. An app that distracts rather than teaches would be wholly inappropriate, after all. Further research is needed to assess the impact of such apps on the children's language proficiency. This would allow educators to make an informed decision about whether or not to integrate mobile language learning apps into their teaching.. Given the growing prevalence of mobile devices in classrooms, it is important that educators are using appropriate technology with demonstrable benefits for their young learners.

Thumvichit, A., Wiboolyasarin, W., Nomnian, S., Phanthaphoommee, N. and Techawongstien, K. (2023) 'Scenario-based mobile application design for young dual-language learners: evidence from factor analysis', Int. J. Mobile Learning and Organisation, Vol. 17, No. 3, pp.443–465.
DOI: 10.1504/IJMLO.2023.131856

A study in the International Journal of Business Forecasting and Marketing Intelligence, reveals the financial challenges faced by urban Indian consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The work then offers strategies that individuals might use to help them cope with the complexities of the post-pandemic world with greater resilience and mental well-being.

The COVID-19 pandemic which began in China in 2019 ravaged humanity, leaving many dead in its wake, many more grieving, and countless suffereing the health consequences in the form of long-covid. Moreover, while the World Health Organisation no longer considers the world in a pandemic situation, there remain many hospitaliations and deaths caused by the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen and many vulnerable people remain at serious risk of debilitating or lethal infection.

Meenakshi Handa and Swati Jain of the University School of Management Studies at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University in New Delhi, India, have focused on the economic impact of the pandemic and the subsequent effects on mental health among urban Indian consumers. The team carried out a a qualitative research study seeking to understand the experiences of adults aged between 18 and 39 years during the pandemic through open-ended questioning in an online survey.

The team reports that many people suffered serious hardships. Indeed more than half of the respondents had financial struggles that affected their daily lives and many of those reporting negative effects on their psychological well-being. Many of the respondents reported ongoing worries about their future financial security, income, and job security.

There were many difficulties with which the respondents had to cope during the height of the pandemic. However, the research has also shown that some people made healthy lifestyle changes and tried to adopt a more optimistic outlook on life in the wake of the devastation wrought by the coronavirus. These changes, the team suggests, indicate a conscious effort on the part of many individuals to cope with these unprecedented challenges and endeavour to improve their overall well-being.

The team suggests that it might be possible to build upon this and to offer strategies and interventions to help people who were unable to navigate the adversity quite so well as others. The initiatives could provide support and guidance to those facing economic uncertainty and psychological stress in the post-pandemic world.

There are thus important implications for businesses and policymakers alike hoping to develop products and services to improve the psychological and financial well-being of the population. Moreover, there is a role for counsellors, clinicians, and educators to implement the requisite initiatives. The researchers also point to individuals adopting sustainable consumption practices as a part of their lives and so helping themselves to potentially lead a simpler and more responsible life with long-term personal benefit and also benefit to society at large.

Handa, M. and Jain, S. (2023) 'Coping with the dark shadows: consumer response to financial hardships during a health pandemic', Int. J. Business Forecasting and Marketing Intelligence, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp.193–211.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBFMI.2023.131748

Star Wars is a series of science fiction fantasy movies and television shows. As is now quite common across movies and TV, the filming locations have become popular tourist destinations for fans of the franchise. Moreover, given the Disney buyout of the franchise from LucasFilms in 2012, the inevitable theme park attractions at Disney resorts are now a major pull for that kind of tourism too.

The renowned science fiction franchise has become something of an international cultural phenomenon since the release of the first movie in 1977. It now attracts countless dedicated fans to places associated with the movies and spinoffs, such as TV shows, exhibitions, conferences, and film locations in Ireland, Norway, Tunisia, and elsewhere. Research in the International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy looks at Star Wars tourism as an intriguing example of movie and television-related tourism and sheds light on the positive and negative aspects of this kind of tourism.

Dag Øivind Madsen of The University of South-Eastern Norway in Hønefoss, discusses the various examples of Star Wars filming locations and tourist destinations across the globe. His work suggests that these places have witnessed increased tourist interest due to their association with the iconic movie franchise. On the positive side, this boost in tourism has contributed to the economic growth of several destinations, boosting local businesses and creating job opportunities. However, the converse of that is that there are some concerns associated with this form of tourism, such as overcrowding. The influx of tourists represents a new strain on local infrastructure, could impact the environment, and diminish the quality of the visitor experience for non-movie tourists and regular tourists alike. Madsen also highlights the issue of sustainability and how natural and cultural resources in these destinations must be conserved and carefully managed to ensure long-term viability.

Star Wars tourism represents a captivating case study within the realm of movie and television-related travel. There are many other franchises, such as Game of Thrones (Croatia and Ireland), Harry Potter (Northumberland, King's Cross station, and other locations in the UK), Twilight (Forks, Washington, USA), Breaking Bad (Alberqueque), The Lord of the Rings (New Zealand), all of which have boosted tourism at location sites used in the movies. The concept stretches much further back in movie history to the likes of The Sound of Music, which attracted visitors to Salzburg in Austria, Gone with the Wind (Atlanta, Georgia), Casablanca (Morocco), and other destinations. Moreover, literature and art had and still do add to tourism in many iconic places Shakespeare and Stratford-upon-Avon for instance, Bath, the setting for Jane Austen's novel "Pride and Prejudice", and Canterbury a popular destination for those hoping to find the roots of Chaucer's tales.

The scale of tourism in general and that associated with movie franchises, present challenges for those destinations related to over-tourism, sustainability, and the maintenance of an authentic experience for visitors. Madsen's work in highlighting the issues for one particular case the fandom of which spans several generations, is important. The franchise remains very popular and it is likely that there will be new filming locations added to the list as it grows over the years. "The future trajectory and development of Star Wars tourism ultimately remains an empirical question that will have to be addressed in future studies," Madsen writes.

Madsen, D.Ø. (2023) 'The trajectory and development of Star Wars tourism', Int. J. Management Concepts and Philosophy, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp.276–284.
DOI: 10.1504/IJMCP.2023.131768

A study in the International Journal of Managerial and Financial Accounting has looked at the relationship between relevance and reliability in annual and semi-annual financial statements. An analysis of more than 300 manufacturing companies across a seven-year period reveals the trade-off between these two factors and sheds new light on the dynamics of financial reporting.

Alexios Kythreotis and Milad Soltani of the Department of Accounting, Economics, and Finance at the European University Cyprus, point out that relevance and reliability are critical qualities of a company's financial statements. Relevance refers to the degree to which information influences economic decisions, while reliability pertains to the accuracy and faithfulness of the information being reported. The team has found, however, that these two factors are often in conflict, forcing companies to perform a delicate balancing act as they face different demands from shareholders, regulators, and standard-setting bodies.

Part of the problem is due to the way in which the quality of financial statements is defined and determined according to the framework set out by the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). How reliability measures up or otherwise to the IFRS framework's rationality underscores the complexity of the challenge faced by organizations striving to simultaneously provide accurate and relevant financial information to the various stakeholders. The trade-off between relevance and reliability has remained largely ignored until this present research. The team's comprehensive analysis of panel data from a diverse range of manufacturing companies offers strong evidence and highlights this trade-off.

The implications of the work are not purely academic. Indeed, they hold practical value for companies seeking to provide meaningful and reliable financial information to the various stakeholders. They must strike the right balance between relevance and reliability without compromising the trust and confidence of investors, lenders, and other interested parties. Regulators and standard-setting bodies might also now be aware of the trade-offs and how they affect effective financial reporting practices. Ongoing research in this area might now provide illumination for those involved in financial reporting on both the corporate and regulatory side of the coin so that a balance can be struck between the two apparently conflicting aspects of this endeavour – reliability and relevance.

Kythreotis, A. and Soltani, M. (2023) 'Relevance and faithful representation (reliability) of annual and semi-annual financial statements; a trade-off?', Int. J. Managerial and Financial Accounting, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp.393–412.
DOI: 10.1504/IJMFA.2023.131779

Consumers are constantly bombarded with enticing product promotions and time-limited offers. That might be a flash sale on an e-commerce platform or a time-constrained deal at a physical store. Businesses use these marketing tools to trigger consumers and so drive sales. Research in the International Journal of Services Technology and Management asks whether consumers are so gullible or whether cynicism means such promotions are largely ineffective.

Jing-Bo Shao, Fei-Si Yao, and Min Xie of the Harbin Institute of Technology in Harbin, China, have explored the concept of restrictive marketing, which encompasses both traditional online-to-offline businesses and emerging original design manufacturer (ODM) enterprises. They have identified various factors that help to shape consumer behaviour when faced with various types of promotion and whether those factors have a positive, negative or neutral effect on their decision to purchase a product. The various factors include time constraints, price discounts, product price levels, and past online buying experience.

Fundamentally, when consumers are faced with limited time to take advantage of a promotion, they are more likely to make a purchase. This is a key finding from the research. However, the effect is moderated by previous online experience of buying online – the more experienced, then perhaps the more cynical, less gullible, and the less likely to be swayed by such a marketing tactic.

The researchers also found that perceived value plays a significant role in moderating purchase intention when faced with time constraints. Ultimately, consumers tend to decide on value before making a purchase decision rather than being triggered or nudged to make a summary decision foisted on them by a time constraint. Of course, the degree of price discounting can counter their cynicism as it will boost the perceived value of a product, making it more appealing to consumers within the limited timeframe.

Insights from this work should feed back to marketing departments keen to nudge consumers. They must understand the experience of their putative customers better in order to target them more effectively with such marketing strategies. Conversely, consumers themselves can understand how such marketing works, how well they themselves are being targeted and so seek out the best offers and discounts when they do wish to buy a product but without being led too heavily by marketing tricks.

Shao, J-B., Yao, F-S. and Xie, M. (2023) 'Is time-constrained promotion actually effective? The moderating role of price discounts and previous online consumption experience', Int. J. Services Technology and Management, Vol. 28, Nos. 3/4, pp.159–184.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSTM.2023.131712

Research in the European Journal of International Management, has looked at the connection between economic distance and the survival of foreign subsidiaries. The findings, based on a sample of 1771 Finnish foreign direct investments, shed light on the non-linear relationship between these factors and underscore the role of focused strategy in ensuring the success of a company's foreign subsidiary operations.

As a concept, economic distance refers to the disparities in economic conditions and factors between a company's home nation and foreign countries that host its subsidiaries. It is a major focus of international management research. In the paper by Pratik Arte of the Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University, UK and his late colleague Jorma Larimo who was at the University of Vaasa, Finland, it is argued that economic distance, when combined with arbitrage opportunities and associated costs, can shape the fate of foreign subsidiaries.

The researchers constructed an index to measure economic distance, drawing upon international production and organizational learning theory and using the statistical Mahalanobis method to calculate economic distance based on various factors. They tested their hypothesis using Cox's proportional hazard model to analyzing the sample of Finnish foreign direct investments. The analysis showed an inverted U-shaped relationship between economic distance and the survival of subsidiaries. Initially, as economic distance increases, subsidiary survival improves but beyond a threshold, survival rates begin to decline as operating costs outweigh the benefits of operating in countries that are even more economically distant.

The study also highlights the role of prior experience and ownership in coping with the challenges in economically distant countries. Firms that have experience with foreign host countries, as well as wholly owned subsidiaries, could cope much better with the requisite operating costs. In contrast, joint ventures worked best between economically similar countries, where the costs and challenges were relatively lower.

This research could have implications for companies attempting to venture into foreign markets. While an economically distant country might be enticing because it presents lucrative arbitrage opportunities, the study shows that companies need to work strategically lest they fall fowl of that U-shaped curve! Prior experience and an appropriate ownership structure can mitigate some of the challenges, the research suggests.

Arte, P. and Larimo, J. (2023) 'Revisiting economic distance and its role in foreign subsidiary survival', European J. International Management, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp.369–407.
DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2023.131719

In forensic science, the identification of deceased or missing individuals is often at the heart of an investigation. Dental records have long been used as a valuable tool in this process given that it is rare that two people will have matching records of their teeth present or absent, caps and crowns, or fillings, and the alignment of teeth seen in an X-ray. One thing that is perhaps not necessarily immediately obvious from dental records is the biological sex of the individual, but this would be very useful information in almost every investigation in the absence of other indicators.

Research in the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, has made progress towards the development and training of an algorithm that can determine biological sex from dental X-rays with 94 percent accuracy. This application of what is referred to as a deep-learning method demonstrates the potential of such an approach to augmenting conventional evidence in an investigation.

B. Vijayakumari, S. Vidhya, and J. Saranya of the Mepco Schlenk Engineering College in Sivakasi, Tamilnadu, India, explain how their algorithm comprises three components: image pre-processing, gradient-based recursive threshold (GBRT) segmentation, and classification. Initially, they use a so-called prime magic square filter during the image pre-processing step to remove unwanted noise. The prime magic square filter uses a special grid of numbers overlaid on the image within the computer and compares pixel values in the image with the corresponding values in the grid to determine what are distortions or compression artefacts, which contribute to image noise and so can be brushed away to give a clean and accurate image for the subsequent analysis.

The GBRT segmentation technique refines the images, enhancing the algorithm's ability to extract relevant information. Finally, the classification stage utilizes a Resnet50 neural network, a widely adopted deep learning architecture. The team trained the algorithm with 3000 dental X-rays for which the individual's biological sex was known. This allowed the algorithm to discern the biological sex associated with dental X-rays presented to it in which the biological sex of the individual is not known. For the purposes of testing the team used 1000 images, a subset of the original collection where sex was known to determine whether the system would correctly assign biological sex. Teeth and jawbones are sexually dimorphic in humans to varying degrees but there are also marked effects of nutrition and socioeconomics on how our jaws and teeth grow. The new system can see through these potential discrepancies based on its training with the X-ray images.

Within the specific context of legal proceedings, there is now a need to assess the algorithm more rigorously so that reliability of the data, potential algorithm biases, and the need for expert interpretation should be taken into account. Ongoing research and validation efforts will contribute to its refinement and development for use in forensic analysis. The team also plans to extend the approach to age determination from dental X-rays.

Vijayakumari, B., Vidhya, S. and Saranya, J. (2023) 'Deep learning-based gender classification with dental X-ray images', Int. J. Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Vol. 42, No. 1, pp.109–121.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBET.2023.131694

Research in the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology shows how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to fuse images from clinical X-ray computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging scans. The method, known as the Dual-Branch Generative Adversarial Network (DBGAN), has the potential to allow a clearer and more clinically useful interpretation of CT and MRI scans to be carried out. Essentially, combining the hard, bone, structures of the CT scan with the soft tissue detail of the MRI image. The work could improve clinical diagnosis and enhance patient care for a wide range of conditions where such scans are commonly used but where each has limitations when used alone.

CT imaging utilizes X-ray technology to capture detailed cross-sectional images of the body or part of the body, which are converted into a three-dimensional representation of bone, which are opaque to X-rays. In contrast, MRI uses employs strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce precise images of soft tissues, such as organs or diseased or damaged tissues. The potential of merging both modalities could give clinicians a more comprehensive representation of a patient's anatomy and reveal otherwise hidden details of their physical problems.

Wenzhe Zhai, Wenhao Song, Jinyong Chen, Guisheng Zhang, and Mingliang Gao of Shandong University of Technology in Zibo, China, and Qilei Li of Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom have used DBGAN to carry out their CT and MRI fusion. DBGAN is an advanced AI technique based on deep-learning algorithms. It features a dual-branching structure consisting of multiple generators and discriminators. The generators are responsible for creating fused images that combine the salient features and complementary information from CT and MRI scans.

The discriminators essentially assess the quality of the generated images by comparing them with real images and discarding those that are of lower quality until a high-quality fusion is achieved. This generative adversarial relationship between generators and discriminators allows the AI to fuse the CT and MRI images efficiently and realistically so that artefacts are minimised and visual information maximised.

The duality of the DBGAN approach uses a multiscale extraction module (MEM) which focuses on extracting important features and detailed information from the CT and MRI scans and a self-attention module (SAM) which highlights the most relevant and distinctive features in the fused images.

The team has carried out thorough testing of their proposed DBGAN approach with both subjective and objective assessments. It proves itself to have superior performance compared to existing techniques in terms of image quality and diagnostic accuracy. Given that CT and MRI scans individually have strengths and weaknesses, the use of AI could allow radiographers to fuse synergistically both types of scan, combining the strengths of each and discarding the weaknesses. Fundamentally, the team explains, the DBGAN fusion retains the bone structure details commonly accessible with a CT image and the soft tissue information provided by an MRI scan.

Zhai, W., Song, W., Chen, J., Zhang, G., Li, Q. and Gao, M. (2023) 'CT and MRI image fusion via dual-branch GAN', Int. J. Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Vol. 42, No. 1, pp.52–63.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBET.2023.131696

Research in the International Journal of Business Innovation and Research suggests that innovative accountants can play an important role in the growth and success of a firm. The study, by Kanthana Ditkaew Rajamangala of the University of Technology in Lanna Tak, Thailand, looked at the skills of accountants and found that their competency influenced company growth through two key factors: business management efficiency and financial reporting quality. The study also looked at the link between innovative accountant competency and the public image of the company, with a particular focus on how financial reporting quality plays a mediating role in that image.

Rajamangala surveyed some 441 accounting directors and used a structural equation model (SEM) to evaluate the data obtained. She found that the competence of innovative accountants within a company affects growth but that this is mediated by both business management efficiency and the quality of financial reporting. Financial acumen essentially helps drive growth by improving business operations underpinned by high-quality financial reports.

The implications of this work are quite far-reaching. In emphasizing the importance of innovative accountants within an organization, Rajamangala's work suggests that organizations ought to prioritize the development and nurturing of innovative skills among their accountants. By doing so, they can foster a culture of innovation that drives growth and improves the overall perception of the firm.

In the near future "blockchain" technology, "artificial intelligence", and other disruptive innovations will begin to play a role in company accounting offering new approaches to conventional transaction recording and predictions about a company's finances. Those accountants who recognise the potential of such innovations and use them to their advantage will also be serving their companies better than those who ignore the opportunities and fail to innovate.

There is always a lot of hyperbole surrounding new technology and concerns that it will lead to redundancies in certain sectors. In the face of this, strong support for the accountant's function requires the administrative committee to collaborate on the strategy and participate in the evolution of accounting, Rajamangala's work suggests. Hi-tech provides us with novel and powerful tools, but we will always need the human touch.

Ditkaew, K. (2023) 'The effect among innovative accountant competency, business management efficiency, financial reporting quality, and firm growth', Int. J. Business Innovation and Research, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp.580–607.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBIR.2023.130108

How do we take a look inside AI's black box and define what we see?

The term "artificial intelligence", usually abbreviated as "AI", means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Initially, the phrase was used to allude to the potential of machines, computers, specifically, somehow gaining sentience on a par with human consciousness. This notion inspired a lot of philosophical debate about what it means to be human and whether or not a machine can have self-awareness. The same notion was at the heart of a lot of science fiction throughout the twentieth century and to the present day, although the idea of entities other than humans having human-like consciousness has been around for millennia.

As we enter a new phase in the development of AI technology, the concepts surrounding what we mean by that term are changing. We now consider neural networks that can be trained genetically to undergo machine learning and to take on certain properties we now refer to as AI. However, many of these tools, computer algorithms backed by enormous information databases do not come close to displaying consciousness and they many such as the now infamous large language models come close to behaving like a human. When prompted with text, they can produce a seemingly authentic response that is, superficially at least, coincident with the response a human might give to that same prompt.

Of course, these models are only as good as the training they have been given and the algorithms they run to generate their responses. At this point in the history of this kind of AI we are fast approaching the notion of a "black box" AI. A system that given a prompt, generates a response that even the programmers and developers of the system cannot predict. Such systems and their responses reaching the point where they cannot be explained, although this is not to suggest that the system is in any way approaching the sci-fi singularity of self-awareness, emotional behaviour, and any kind of concept of right or wrong.

We develop and train the algorithms, ask it to make a prediction, and we take the responses. The problems may well arise when those responses are used to make important decisions across society, in economics and finance, in industry, across healthcare and medical research, in the wider realm of science, in politics and most worryingly in the military machine. If the programming and training are unexplainable, then we or machines prompting AI systems for a response may get what turns out to be a very wrong response. If we have given such prompt-response systems control of important systems, then we may come unstuck when a prompt generates an entirely inappropriate response in a healthcare environment, in a factory, or on the world stage.

Fabian Wahler and Michael Neubert, writing in the International Journal of Teaching and Case Studies, recognise the importance of defining and understanding AI and where it might take us, sooner, rather than later. They have homed in on a definition of explainable AI that might be used in future work by both practitioners and academics alike. The work seeks to remove the ambiguity of current definitions and to increase trust and reliability in decision making by making black-box systems understandable, interpretable, and transparent to human users.

Wahler, F. and Neubert, M. (2023) 'A scientific definition of explainable artificial intelligence for decision making', Int. J. Teaching and Case Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp.88–116.
DOI: 10.1504/IJTCS.2023.131664

The global population of indigenous people surpasses the total population of the USA and is almost equal to that of the European Union, but despite this a stifling "Western" perspective on most aspects of culture, society, and economics, means that many indigenous people are often marginalised as minorities and caught in the poverty trap, as well facing many other hardships. Research in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business now highlights the role of entrepreneurship in empowering indigenous communitie.

Prescott C. Ensign of the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, has conducted a study to investigate this phenomenon and sheds new light on the various factors that influence the establishment and operation of businesses by indigenous people. Ensign's findings underscore the significance of addressing the unique challenges and opportunities faced by indigenous entrepreneurs, while also emphasizing the interconnectedness of contextual factors that affect the outcomes of their efforts. Entrepreneurship might help individuals and their communities overcome some of the political and economic disadvantages they encounter. Indeed, entrepreneurship has emerged as a potential avenue for empowerment and wealth creation among these indigenous populations.

The research, aimed at investigating the dynamics of indigenous entrepreneurship, develops a conceptual framework of the various factors. Ensign's framework offers an analytical tool and allowed him to carry out a qualitative examination of over fifty instances of indigenous entrepreneurship in remote, rural, and urban areas across twelve countries.

Geographic embeddedness is an important factor as are indigenous cultural factors and the mainstream economic structures that surround them. All of these might conspire to shape the success and operation of a business. However, the Western-Eurocentric perspective is a common hindrance, the work suggests. By recognizing and valuing indigenous culture and practices, Ensign's research suggests that more effective and empowering strategies might be developed to better support entrepreneurship within indigenous communities.

There is an overarching urgency to change the perspective to one that emphasizes the importance of the indigenous entrepreneurial ecosystem and allows it to thrive, one that encompasses the unique challenges and opportunities specific to indigenous entrepreneurs rather than assuming such businesses can be treated with the aforementioned "Western" ethos.

Policymakers and stakeholders from both the indigenous and non-indigenous communities can best work together and can contribute to the economic well-being and overall empowerment of indigenous communities by recognising the barriers and limitations and finding ways to overcome them. A business model that is heterogeneous and not homogenous is now needed to create a more inclusive and culturally diverse world of entrepreneurship.

"Findings also provide evidence that indigenous entrepreneurship is growing and prevails in many forms around the world," writes Ensign. "This is positive considering current and past actions of oppression, neglect, marginalisation, and constraints that target indigenous people. Indigenous entrepreneurs are overcoming these and moving ahead."

Ensign, P.C. (2023) 'Contextual impact on indigenous entrepreneurs around the world: geographic location, socio-cultural context and economic structure', Int. J. Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vol. 49, No. 1, pp.150–186.
DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2023.131648

Strong relationships between managers and their staff matter more than gender or ethnicity in effective management.

Research in the International Journal of Behavioural Accounting and Finance, reveals the crucial role played by the relationship between managers and their staff. It suggests that while ethnicity and gender might affect those relationships, they do not necessarily impact the ability of managers to inspire employees in terms of cooperation and compliance. However, gender and ethnicity may well affect how those relationships form and progress in the first place. The researchers highlight the interplay between diversity, influence tactics, and leader effectiveness with and organization and how these affect the organisations desired outcomes.

Thomas D'Angelo of Pace University in New York, New York, Marco Lam, Heidi Dent, and Julia Goldsmith of Western Carolina University in Cullowee, North Carolina, USA and Martin Kissler of the Fachhochschule Dortmund in Germany, using an experimental design that focused on how the combination of relational demography and influence tactics influences the effectiveness of leaders. Specifically, they tested in their experiment how well a manager could be in persuading subordinates to create so-called "budgetary slack", something that would be in contravention of any legitimate company's policies and working practices. The participants were presented with manipulated photographs of superiors, that changed gender and ethnicity in the images.

The study revealed that neither gender nor ethnicity on their own directly influenced managerial effectiveness. Instead, the quality of the superior-subordinate relationship emerged as the crucial factor determining subordinates' willingness to comply with their superiors' requests, even when they were aware that their compliance would violate company policy. The findings suggests that relationship strength is a much greater motivator of action, surpassing any influence of the demographic characteristics of those involved.

"When it comes to getting things done, our results show that relationships matter," the team writes. "This is especially true for tasks outside the scope of day-to-day operations or that require subordinates to take actions that might run counter to their ethical or moral beliefs." In other words, the relationships that managers forge with their subordinates is critical to ensuring commitment to specific tasks.

These insight have implications for how organisations might handle and encourage the requisite relationships between their managers and employees. By cultivating positive relationships and implementing effective influence tactics, organisations can encourage their leaders to, in turn, encourage greater commitment in their employees.

D'Angelo, T., Lam, M., Dent, H., Kissler, M. and Goldsmith, J. (2023) 'Diversity at work: how relational demography and influence tactics impact the effectiveness of leaders', Int. J. Behavioural Accounting and Finance, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp.24–40.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBAF.2023.10054937

Research in the International Journal of Industrial and Systems Engineering, offers a new approach to evaluating and classifying innovative ideas within a company. The work introduces an ontology, a conceptual framework, for defining and measuring how radical a new idea is so that decision-makers within the company can assess its potential impact and push the company down a particular road rather than an alternative.

Earlier researchers have grappled with how to identify and evaluate radically new ideas with an innovating company. Obviously, it is impossible to test all possible ideas. Previous discussions often revolved around assessing the level of risk or waiting until the effects of an innovation could be quantified. However, these approaches have proven to be limited in their effectiveness. Objective probabilities are frequently unavailable for radical ideas, rendering risk assessment inadequate. Additionally, relying on retrospective assessment of outcomes does not aid decision-making in the early stages of idea selection.

Andrew N. Forde and Mark S. Fox of the Department of Industrial and Information Engineering at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, have found a way to address the shortcomings of earlier approaches. They have a fresh perspective that treats radical ideas as uncertainties and then employs subjective probabilities in the process of making a decision about whether a given idea should be taken further. This approach acknowledges that different decision-makers may hold varying beliefs about the potential outcomes of an idea, making probabilistic assessments subjective.

"Idea evaluation and selection is a problem that takes place in the present. Implementing all ideas to determine the best one is impractical and it remains impossible to select ideas from the future; thus hindsight is not a viable decision-making tool," the team writes.

The study aims to define what elements are essential to predict the future and evaluate an idea's performance within it. Their ontology tackles the inherent complexity by encompassing fifteen distinct categories of innovation. It then formulates properties based on competency questions around the idea.

The research could have far-reaching implications for various industries. By establishing a common framework for evaluating and classifying innovative ideas, the team offers a solid approach to handling subjectivity among decision-makers. As organizations hope to extract the best value from their innovators to get them ahead in a wide rang of rapidly evolving markets, such research if applied appropriately could give them the tools they need.

Forde, A.N. and Fox, M.S. (2023) 'An innovation ontology for idea forecasting and measurement', Int. J. Industrial and Systems Engineering, Vol. 44, No. 2, pp.141–185.
DOI: 10.1504/IJISE.2023.131541

A study in the Journal for International Business and Entrepreneurship Development, has revealed the various factors that influence the likelihood of Generation Z individuals in Vietnam to make online purchases. Generation Z, often referred to as Gen Z or "Zoomers" is usually considered to include those people born between the mid to late 1990s and the early 2010s. The Zoomers are the generation following the Millennial generation and represent a thriving group for marketing and advertising online. The research focused on online trust and self-efficacy, or self-belief, and provides valuable insights for businesses seeking to tap the burgeoning online market.

Vuong-Bach Vo, Giang-Do Nguyen, and Trinh-Cong Nguyen Ho of the International University and Thu-Hien Thi Dao of Nguyen Tat Thanh University in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, used the social cognitive theory and the decomposed theory of planned behaviour to examine the various factors involved in online buying decisions. Their results derived from online interviews with 366 young online consumers in Vietnam.

Online trust emerged as a pivotal factor in shaping online purchase behavior among the younger generation, the team reports. Defined as the confidence individuals have in the reliability, security, and credibility of online platforms, this trust plays a dual role in influencing online purchase intention. It not only directly affects an individual's decision making but also moderates the relationship between the individual's belief in their own abilities, their self-efficayc, and their intention to buy online. Indeed, the team found that self-efficacy itself was an important factor in whether or not a Zoomer would be inclined to buy online. The study showed that boosting self-efficacy could have a positive influence online purchases. The work also showed that subjective norm, the influence of social factors and peer opinion also affected online buying decision.

The study contributes to a deeper understanding of the key factors that shape the online buying behaviour of Generation Z in Vietnam and so has practical and theoretical implications. Specifically, the findings underscore the significance of online trust and self-efficacy, highlighting the need for businesses to build trust and enhance a user's own belief in their abilities in order to foster a thriving online shopping environment. Of course, being "digital natives" like the Millennials, means that members of Gen Z are usually entirely familiar and confident with the online world. Nevertheless, there is always scope for businesses to improve an interface to make it more engaging and enticing for the young, especially in a world of information overload and countless digital options.

Vo, V-B., Nguyen, G-D., Dao, T-H.T. and Ho, T-C.N. (2023) 'The dual role of online trust: a study of Generation Z through online purchase intentions in Vietnam', J. International Business and Entrepreneurship Development, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp.4–28.
DOI: 10.1504/JIBED.2023.131473

A study in the International Journal of Computational Science and Engineering, introduces a new deep learning architecture called LightNet, designed to overcome the challenges of training deep learning models and revolutionize the agricultural sector. The study, focuses on plant disease management and fruit classification and addresses the normally high computational resource demands that have hindered the implementation of deep learning models on limited-resource devices for disease identification in images of leaves and fruit.

Deep learning, a powerful technique in artificial intelligence, has gained popularity across various applications. However, its resource-intensive nature has made it unsuitable for devices with limited computing power and storage capacity. Moreover, there is a dearth of efficient approaches for tackling real-world agricultural problems using deep learning.

Edna C. Too of the Department of Computer Science at Chuka University in Kenya has developed LightNet, a compact convolutional neural network (CNN) that uses two innovative strategies, skip connections and pruning. This increases efficiency considerably by allowing smoother information flow through the network while reducing unnecessary connections and parameters. The approach allows the system to outperform seemingly more powerful tools. For instance, it is half the size, double the efficiency, and three times faster than DenseNet.

The researchers evaluated LightNet using two real-world datasets: PlantsVillage, which focuses on plant disease detection, and Fruits-360, which involves fruit classification and grading. The results of the evaluation demonstrate just how well the system works for plant disease detection and fruit classification tasks. The potential is immense. By providing an efficient and accurate solution for deep learning in these real-world applications, LightNet offers a way for growers and suppliers to be better equipped to counter major problems across the sector. As it requires a lower-resource device there is the potential for it to be used in the field, as it were, at lower cost than other more resource-intense systems, ultimately improving crop management and food security.

Too, E.C. (2023) 'LightNet: pruned sparsed convolution neural network for image classification', Int. J. Computational Science and Engineering, Vol. 26, No. 3, pp.283–295.
DOI: 10.1504/IJCSE.2023.131508

Researchers have developed a novel artificial intelligence (AI) model that combines an algorithm based on the scouting and foraging behaviour of bee colonies with a fuzzy wavelet neural network to accurately predict road traffic accidents.

The artificial bee colony algorithm is a swarm intelligence algorithm that has been used to solve complex optimization problems in the past. Now, writing in the International Journal of Computing Science and Mathematics, Zhicheng Li of the Department of Urban Rail Transit and Information Engineering at Anhui Communications Vocational and Technical College in Hefei, China, has introduced self-adaptive mutation operations to overcome the algorithm's known limitations. The use of a fuzzy wavelet neural network reduces the time needed to solve a problem and improves improves its search skills for finding a solution.

The artificial bee colony algorithm consists of worker bees, onlooker bees, and scout bees. Worker bees explore solutions based on specific rules, while onlookers select promising solutions using information shared by the workers. The scouts introduce new random solutions to boost the diversity of possible solutions in processing the data. Through an iterative process, the algorithm converges toward an optimal or near-optimal solution to the problem, in this case the nature of road traffic accidents. The fuzzy wavelet neural network uses fuzzy logic and various statistical tools within a conventional neural network to handle uncertainty and imprecision within the data.

Li has carried out computer simulations with the system to see how well it might predict fatalities in road traffic accidents based on the various factors associated with a particular incident.

"Computer simulations show that this prediction method fully exploits the nonlinear approximation ability of the wavelet neural network model, effectively improves convergence speed and training efficiency, and reduces computational complexity," writes Li.

The work has the potential to improve our ability to anticipate and prevent lethal road traffic accidents by allowing limited resources to be more usefully assigned to proactive measures and road safety strategies. There are, in addition, implications for the arrival of driverless vehicles on our roads.

Li, Z. (2023) 'Traffic accident prediction based on an artificial bee colony algorithm and a self-adaptive fuzzy wavelet neural network', Int. J. Computing Science and Mathematics, Vol. 17, No. 3, pp.254–265.
DOI: 10.1504/IJCSM.2023.131464

In the information-overload era, authenticity is critical but elusive, while fake news, disinformation, and fraudulent reviews are common but not always easily spotted.

Research in the International Journal of Data Mining, Modelling and Management focuses on one particular aspect of this problem how to identify a fake review, specifically a fake movie review, using sentiment analysis techniques to discern meaning from a given review and determine whether it is genuine or not. The work has implications for movie buffs the world over who might then navigate the endless reviews with confidence. The results should also improve the credibility of the movie industry by helping to identify and remove such fraudulent reviews.

Isha Gupta and Neha Gupta of the Faculty of Computer Applications at the Manav Rachna International Institute of Research and Studies in Faridabad, India, and Indranath Chatterjee of the Department of Computer Engineering at Tongmyong University in Busan, South Korea, have analyzed vast amounts of text data to uncover the specific words that contribute to biases in reviews and their influence on overall viewer sentiment. The team used a "valence-aware" dictionary, one that understands the emotional tone or polarity conveyed by particular words or phrases. Valence can be of a positive, negative, or neutral nature.

The researchers were thus able to identify the influential words in a review associated with a specific genre whether the review was of a comedy, horror, action, drama, or thriller. By using a statistical method known as Pearson's correlation analysis, they could also identify influential features that distinguish each genre. This sheds light on the language used to describe different kinds of movies. Ultimately, the approach gives the team a quantitative assessment of the sentiment conveyed in a given movie review. Around one in five of the characteristic features of the reviews analysed were common across different genres, suggesting that "subtle changes in the feature set showing distinct discrimination among the words used for positive and negative reviews and also for each genre," the team writes. " there is a shallow degree of correlation present genre-wise."

The significance of this research extends beyond understanding viewer sentiments. The study's findings have important implications in the realm of identifying fake movie reviews. This approach to analyzing the language and sentiment expressed in a movie review, could allow service providers that host reviews to automatically assess the credibility and reliability of a given review and to flag or remove any from their system that is deemed to be fake or not credible in some way. Such a system would not represent censorship of genuine reviews, of course, but ensure that movie fans and industry professionals would have access to authentic information rather than fake reviews, which might otherwise influence movie choice and the consumer experience and at the bottom-line, industry profits, uptake of sequels and franchises, and overall commercial success.

Gupta, I., Chatterjee, I. and Gupta, N. (2023) 'Identification of relevant features influencing movie reviews using sentiment analysis', Int. J. Data Mining, Modelling and Management, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp.169–183.
DOI: 10.1504/IJDMMM.2023.131395

Research in the International Journal of Web Based Communities introduces a new and accurate approach to identifying abnormal users in social networks by examining several characteristics of user behaviour at once. By tapping into the APIs (Advanced Programming Interfaces) of various social networks, Jian Xie of the College of Education at Fuyang Normal University in Fuyang, China, was able to gather comprehensive data about users, including details about their accounts, the content they post, and the specific ways they behave. An analysis of this data allowed him to ascribe a set of attributes to users. By applying attribute reduction, he could then eliminate any redundant features and so build a targeted attribute feature set with which to analyse suspicious accounts.

Xie then used the assimilated data to train the XGBoost model, a powerful machine learning algorithm, to create a highly objective function that can quickly flag abnormal behaviour on a social network. Xie was able to identify abnormal users with 95 percent accuracy, sufficient to alert the system's administrators to any putative issues that could then be manually investigated and action taken to block malicious users, for instance. The error level achieved was low as was the speed with which abnormal users could be identified, within fractions of a second, in fact. Xie's approach is faster and more accurate than the previous methods he notes in his paper.

The findings have implications across social networking, where the identification of abnormal users, whether they are malicious third parties, trolls, spammers, bullies, misinformation accounts, fake accounts, hijacked usernames or bots, plays an important role in maintaining the safety of legitimate users and protecting the overall integrity of the digital community.

"This method has the characteristics of high feature extraction accuracy, low identification error rate, and low identification time of abnormal users in social networks," Xie concludes. He suggests that the approach could lay the foundations for developing powerful social network security policies.

Xie, J. (2023) 'An accurate identification method of abnormal users in social network based on multivariate characteristics', Int. J. Web Based Communities, Vol. 19, Nos. 2/3, pp.80–92.
DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2023.131386

Research in the International Journal of Global Warming has looked at the study, the carbon footprint of t-shirts made from different materials. The textile and clothing industry is vast and so has a significant impact on climate change through gathering resources, processing and manufacturing of products, and supply to the market. The team undertaking the work is based at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, and examines the entire lifecycle of these popular garments whether made from the wholly natural fibre, cotton, the semi-synthetic material viscose, or entirely synthetic polyester. They consider the various stages from raw material extraction to end-of-life disposal.

Junran Liu, Yiqi Guo, Ying Zhang, and Laili Wang, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University worked with Lirong Sun of the Office for Social Responsibility of China National Textile and Apparel Council in Beijing, and Wei Bao of the College of Textile and Clothing at Qingdao University, in Shandong. The team unravelled the various costs in terms of resources and energy and found that the manufacturing of yarn of any time, used in fabric production, plays a significant role in the carbon footprint of a t-shirt. Yarn manufacture accounts for up to a half of the total emissions associated with these clothing products. Fabric manufacturing phase contributes to about 20 percent of the carbon footprint. The t-shirt's usage phase, which encompasses washing and drying, accounts for between 31 and 48 percent of the carbon footprint. In other words, production energy is the primary driver of carbon emissions when it comes to t-shirts.

The researchers point out that there is a positive impact of using plant-derived fibres, such as cotton and viscose, in offsetting greenhouse gas emissions through carbon sequestration by the source plants as they grow. Of course, at end-of-life, the materials must somehow find a secondary use in recycling or be landfilled rather than burnt, otherwise that stored carbon is released into the atmosphere once more.

The work has implications for manufacturers and consumers. Companies aiming to decrease the carbon footprint of their t-shirts should focus on making their production technologies more sustainable by increasing their use of renewable energy sources, for instance. Similarly, consumers should aim to use renewable energy to do their laundry as well as using detergents that allow them to wash their clothes effectively at low temperature. Moreover, care and repair might usefully extend the life of a t-shirt despite its superficial nature when compared to more formal or fashion clothing.

This kind of study underscores the urgency with which we need to work together to have the clothes we need but also to address the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

Liu, J., Sun, L., Guo, Y., Bao, W., Zhang, Y. and Wang, L. (2023) 'Carbon footprint of t-shirts made of cotton, polyester or viscose', Int. J. Global Warming, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp.271–281.
DOI: 10.1504/IJGW.2023.131404

Research in the International Journal of Services and Operations Management has investigated what influences the use of online food delivery services in India and the impact that is having on public health. The online food delivery sector in India has annual revenues of well over $7 billion. A significant proportion of this sector, about 85 percent, is restaurant-to-consumer services and the remainder, is services by direct providers.

The suspicion is that increasing reliance on food other than home-cooked food could be affecting lifestyle and health by side-stepping the traditional activities involved in preparing and eating a meal with family, friends, or even alone. Additionally, there are issues surrounding the quality of food delivered to one's door in terms of calorific content, how much of the food is considerably processed, and the presence of additives. Conversely, some food from suppliers may well be more nutritious and the time freed up from the drudge of cooking and clearing up may well allow people to be involved in other quality activities with those family and friends.

Arghya Rayof the International Management Institute Kolkata, Pradip Kumar Bala of the Indian Institute of Management Ranchi, India, and Rashmi Jain of the Feliciano School of Business in Montclair, New Jersey, USA, explain that the advent of online food delivery services has had a significant effect on the food industry and our lifestyles in recent years. The team used a mixed-method approach, starting with preliminary qualitative interviews of online food delivery service users and followed by a quantitative survey of almost 300 Generation Y users in India. Generation Y is commonly defined as people born between around 1981 to 1996.

The team found that emotional values, conditional values, monetary values, and health consciousness all had a significant impact on consumers' intention to use online food delivery services. Moreover, continued use leads to ongoing changes in food consumption patterns. The researchers point out that their work may not necessarily extrapolate to other countries, especially those with very different food standards.

The team suggests that suppliers should improve standards given the ever-increasing use of online food delivery services if there is not to be a long-term and potentially detrimental impact on consumers. The findings also point to differences based on gender, age, and location, such data might allow those same providers to better tailor what they offer consumers to particular demographics.

Ray, A., Bala, P.K. and Jain, R. (2023) 'Assessing the factors influencing continued use of online-food-delivery services and the impact on health: a multi-group analysis', Int. J. Services and Operations Management, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp.1–36.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSOM.2023.131281

Research in the International Journal of Wireless and Mobile Computing addresses a significant safety issue facing power supply companies – the presence of bird nests on power line towers and other infrastructure.

Haopeng Yang and Enrang Zheng of the School of Electrical and Control Engineering at Shaanxi University of Science and Technology, and Yichen Wang and Junge Shen of the Unmanned System Research Institute at the Northwestern Polytechnical University all in Xi'an, Shaanxi, China, have developed a real-time detection system capable of swiftly identifying bird nests on transmission towers.

At first glance, one might imagine that the presence of a nest on a power transmission tower, or pylon, would be harmless, but there are serious issues with damage and the potential for avian activity to "trip" safety cutouts on power systems, leading to outages for consumers. This is particularly true of substantial nests built high up on pylons by raptors, storks, and other large species.

Unfortunately, the detection of such small objects as bird nests and the passing of the information back to a control centre have represented an ongoing challenge due to their small size and the potential data loss during detection. The team's new system, uses an algorithm that can identify and so detect bird nests at different scales allowing for rapid risk identification. An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), often referred to as a drone, fitted with a camera can patrol the towers, record and analyse images using an onboard computer running the team's algorithm and report back to the controllers with information that flags specific towers with a nest problem. The team's algorithm readily overcomes the problem of the background scenery in an image of a pylon being checked detecting only the presence of nests.

The research team says they have achieved an average accuracy rating of 90.05%. This high level of performance meets the demands of the State Grid for high-precision and real-time line maintenance inspections. The automated detection system precludes the need for costly regular manual inspections.

Yang, H., Zheng, E., Wang, Y. and Shen, J. (2023) 'Real-time detection system of bird nests on power transmission lines based on lightweight network', Int. J. Wireless and Mobile Computing, Vol. 24, Nos. 3/4, pp.217–225.
DOI: 10.1504/IJWMC.2023.131295IJ

The Indian retail industry contributes more than 10 percent to the country's gross domestic product (GDP). A new study looks at how impulsive and non-rational consumer behaviour in the Indian clothing sector potentially leading to personal debt can have a detrimental effect on the economy as a whole. Moreover, the work points to how promoting more rational purchasing decisions could be better for consumers as well as leading to a more sustainable and responsible industry.

Of course, marketers work to promote products and they will use emotional means to do so that will often trigger a non-rational response from a would-be customer. Conversely, who, in a free society, is to tell a customer what they do and don't need when it comes to clothes shopping. After all, people buy clothes for obvious practical reasons, but also for self-expression, for enjoyment, and many other non-practical reasons.

Komal Malik and Manoj Joshi of the Amity Business School at Amity University Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow Campus, used an experiential research design to survey and capture non-rational behaviour shopping behaviour among Indian consumers. "Non-rationality can be referred as the influence of emotional factors rather than tangible gains and losses associated with a choice," the authors write. In addition, in their paper in the International Journal of Business and Globalisation, they reviewed the existing literature to provide context. The team's analysis considered factors such as brand loyalty, gift and special occasion purchases, social affinity, lifestyle choice, the feel-good factor, offers and discounts, changing fashion, personality.

The researchers found that consumer behaviour was driven by rational as well as non-rational factors, but it was the latter, associated with impulse purchases that was often associated with consumers spending on credit. If such consumers do not have the funds or disposable income to back their purchases then repeated impulse buys, has the potential to lead to greater debt. Understanding and addressing this behaviour is crucial for both marketers and policymakers, the research suggests.

Malik, K. and Joshi, M. (2023) 'I saw it, I bought it! The irrational buying behaviour in retail sector', Int. J. Business and Globalisation, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp.17–27.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBG.2023.131268

Currently, there is no established method for automatically assessing the level of FAIRness (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reusability) of semantic resources. The term "semantic resources" refers to various types of data, information, or knowledge artefacts that are represented in a structured and standardized way. These resources can include ontologies (technical, structured glossaries), vocabularies, data sets, and other relevant knowledge. An example is the AgroPortal semantic resource repository, an online platform for storing and organizing semantic resources related to the domain of agri-food and environment.

Writing in the International Journal of Metadata, Semantics and Ontologies, a team from France has used the AgroPortal as a case study to help them develop a metadata-based automatic assessment methodology for such resources, which they call Ontology FAIRness Evaluator (O'FAIRe).

Emna Amdouni, Syphax Bouazzouni, and Clement Jonquet of the University of Montpellier explain that making digital scientific data openly available remains an important challenge for the scientific community and funding agencies. The FAIR movement arose in 2014 to help address this challenge and has been largely embraced. However, FAIR, as many observers have pointed out, is only representing specifications for digital objects, or entities, rather than being a standardised or technically based system. There has thus been a need for a way to independently assess how well an entity adheres to the principles of FAIR.

In this context, the team's proposal is aligned with existing initiatives and consists of 61 questions, primarily based on metadata descriptions, and using ontology libraries or repositories to ensure unified metadata for FAIRness assessment. The team implemented O'FAIRe in AgroPortal and successfully conducted a preliminary FAIRness analysis of 149 semantic resources in the agri-food/environment domain. The proposal should allow FAIR digital entities to be assessed objectively pushing us towards a more encompassing system in which entities and resources can be read and used competently equally well by humans and computers without barriers and problems arising because of inconsistencies across and within domains.

The researchers conclude that their work addresses many of the scientific and technical challenges regarding the implementation of the 15 FAIR principles for ontologies and semantic resources. The team writes that their work might now "guide the semantic community to put the FAIR principles into practice and enable them to qualify the degree of FAIRness of their semantic resource."

Amdouni, E., Bouazzouni, S. and Jonquet, C. (2022) 'O'FAIRe makes you an offer: metadata-based automatic FAIRness assessment for ontologies and semantic resources', Int. J. Metadata Semantics and Ontologies, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp.16–46.
DOI: 10.1504/IJMSO.2022.131133

In the ever-changing digital landscape, bloggers have risen to prominence as influencers, playing an important role in helping consumers pick and choose the products and services on which they want to spend their time and money. However, even with the many disparate social media apps that distract consumers from "traditional" blogs, there remains a huge number who have influence across many different spheres and represent a useful resource for marketers.

The problem remains how to identify and classify the many, many bloggers for best impact in a marketing campaign. A research study in the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising shows how a comprehensive framework can classify consumer bloggers based on their unique content creation approach.

Beatrice Ietto and Federica Pascucci of the Università Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona, Italy, have drawn on social-practice theory to construct their classification framework. In this theory, content creation is viewed as habitual behavior shaped by socio-cultural contexts. The team has focused on an extensive netnographic analysis of Australian music bloggers to offer new insights into the critical factors that influence a blogger's content creation approach.

The work shows that blogger in this niche create content primarily driven by their subjective evaluation of four key dimensions: personal influences, audience influences, community influences, and commercial influences. These dimensions play a pivotal role in shaping the blogger's content creation strategies and determining the nature of their engagement with their readership.

With the details of these insights to hand, the team created a multidimensional framework for the classification of bloggers as "passionate", "hype followers", "sophisticated and sub-cultural", "celebratory and overly positive, and the "professionals". The framework could offer marketing practitioners a useful resource for identifying and collaborating with the most appropriate bloggers that mesh well with their promotional strategies. The framework goes beyond the simplistic metrics of site "hits" and "reach" and looks at how the blog functions and how that would seamlessly work with a marketing campaign.

Ietto, B. and Pascucci, F. (2023) 'Classifying bloggers based on content creation approaches: implications for influencers marketing strategies', Int. J. Internet Marketing and Advertising, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp.335–358.
DOI: 10.1504/IJIMA.2023.131255

WhatsApp use has grown rapidly in recent years, allowing users to send text messages, voice, and video over an internet connection safe in the knowledge that third parties cannot intercept their correspondence without somehow breaking the end-to-end encryption used by the app.

The app is a boon for the security conscious, the socially vulnerable, and those with something to hide, such as rogue politicians. Of course, an app owned by a large corporate entity, in this case Meta (formerly Facebook) will be subject to legal pressure in the USA when it comes to allowing law enforcement access to those encrypted messages. Elsewhere those seeking to undertake criminal investigation may need a warrant to allow them to crack in order to obtain evidence for a prosecution or public inquiry, for instance.

Research in the International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, offers a way to overcome this significant obstacle in obtaining admissible evidence from Whatsapp for use in court. The work could lead to fewer inconclusive investigations and more successful criminal prosecutions.

The new algorithmic approach to Whatsapp forensics developed by Aritro Sengupta and Amit Singh of India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in New Delhi and B.M. Vinjit of the National Institute of Technology in Haryana, India, sidesteps the specific hardware and software specifications of a mobile phone and allows Whatsapp data to be recovered from any device and even those seized phones that would not normally succumb to conventional forensic analysis. Moreover, the forensic analysis leaves no digital footprint and so does not compromise the evidence.

The demonstration suggests that law enforcement agencies and forensic investigators now have a forensically sound method of extracting WhatsApp data, streamlining their investigations, and bolstering their ability to build a strong case. The team will continue developing their forensic tools so that they might also be used with messenger apps other than Whatsapp.

Sengupta, A., Singh, A. and Vinjit, B.M. (2023) 'A platform independent and forensically sound method to extract WhatsApp data from mobile phones', Int. J. Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp.259–280.
DOI: 10.1504/IJESDF.2023.130657

A new approach to reducing the energy costs of streetlighting without compromising the safety and activities of pedestrians and drivers in towns and cities is discussed by researchers from India in the International Journal of Ad Hoc and Ubiquitous Computing.

The team of Pragna Labani Sikdar, Abhinav Anurag, and Parag Kumar Guha Thakurta in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the National Institute of Technology in Durgapur, West Bengal, reveals an approach to energy-efficient street lighting that strikes a balance between energy conservation and providing sufficient lighting for the people using the streets. The implications of this research are far-reaching, as it has the potential to revolutionize how cities and communities approach their street lighting infrastructure and reduce energy costs as well as a city's carbon footprint.

The key lies in equipping each street light with a sensor and dividing them into zones along a street. The sensor network of the streetlights can, based on detecting the nearest pedestrians or vehicles, control illumination levels appropriately so that nobody is left in the dark, but less energy is used lighting empty streets. This segmentation approach to lighting could offer precise control of total output across a city. To achieve optimal energy efficiency, the researchers take into account the length of each zone and a factor known as "brightness decrement per zone." By fine-tuning this factor, they can strike a delicate balance between energy savings and maintaining an adequate level of lighting utility.

The team has carried out extensive simulations to evaluate the approach with successful results. The implications are far reaching for cities the world over where environmental concerns and energy costs are both vying for space at the top of planning agendas. Moreover, the notion of light pollution, which affects the natural world as well as astronomical studies, might be reduced somewhat with the implementation of a dimmer switch for streetlighting.

Sikdar, P.L., Anurag, A. and Thakurta, P.K.G. (2023) 'Efficacious tuning in energy efficient street lighting', Int. J. Ad Hoc and Ubiquitous Computing, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp.53–63.
DOI: 10.1504/IJAHUC.2023.130982

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used increasingly in many different walks of life from the large language models and image-generation tools that can produce readable text and intriguing graphics based on a prompt to the algorithms that analyse input and predict a feasible output for modelling climate and weather systems, road traffic, and even human behaviour.

There are AI tools that are being developed for online customer services, healthcare, education, art and music, and many other aspects of our lives. These systems would inevitably involve a person addressing an AI via a computer interface, a touchscreen, or an audio-video system of camera and microphone, and receiving answers to their questions or being asked questions by the AI itself to help them in some way. At the moment, such interfaces, which are often referred to as AI chatbots lack the versatility and human touch of a real person and so there is some way to go before we see them truly integrated into our lives.

Research in the International Journal of Computational Systems Engineering introduces the concept of artificial personality (AP). In this work, Takayuki Fujimoto of the Department of Information Sciences and Arts at Toyo University in Saitama, Japan, promises to bridge the gap between the bland bots and bots that respond with more human-like characteristics. This next generation of AP-enabled AI, would likely make our working with and using such tools much more appealing to a wider range of people, especially those so far reluctant to engage with this rapidly advancing technology.

Fujimoto challenges the state-of-the-art paradigm in AI and suggests ways in which its limitations might be overcome, side-stepping the existing AI frameworks and developing AP from the ground up. Ultimately, he foresees a time when AP allows us to develop versatile AI systems that seamlessly integrate into human lives. The research focuses on the concept of eXtended Intelligence (XI) as the basis for designing a system that reproduces humanness in computer systems, XI represents the technological successor to AI and incorporates the ideas of AP.

XI will blend the strengths of human intelligence – processing sensory data, understanding, abstract thought, and free association – with the strengths of artificial intelligence – information storage and retrieval, processing, prediction, and objective analysis, explains Fujimoto.

We are yet to consider in detail the ethics and morality, the privacy concerns, and the technical obstacles of AI, let alone AP and XI but researchers are making rapid progress.

Nevertheless, the future paradigm shift from AI to AP and XI will have far-reaching implications taking us to the next level of computer intelligence away from the industrial narrow AI or the entertainment-focused AI. XI with its inbuilt AP will not only perform tasks tirelessly, but will be able to respond to our emotions, preferences, and needs in much more subtle and useful ways than current AI technologies. One might even imagine XI acting as a caring personal assistant, providing companionship, and offering serious advice, all because the technology can comprehend and respond to our unique personalities.

Fujimoto, T. (2022) 'Reproduction of humanness based on eXtended intelligence: concept of artificial personality and its mechanism', Int. J. Computational Systems Engineering, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp.30–40.
DOI: 10.1504/IJCSYSE.2022.131034

Healthcare costs continue to rise due to the burden of major diseases like cardiovascular, oncological, neurological, and metabolic conditions. These conditions account for about three-quarters of costs and resources. However, modern medicine does not generally seek to prevent or cure such problems, rather it addresses symptoms when they arise and then, if complete remission is not achieved, largely manages the conditions as chronic illnesses.

The next advances in medicine could help us avoid certain health problems altogether and to treat acutely those that do arise so that they are reversed or the person goes into complete remission. There are, according to optimistic research in the International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations opportunities to use the body's natural ability to repair itself within a short timeframe with the help of bioinformatics.

Luuk P.A. Simons Department of the department of Computer Science at Delft University of Technology, in The Netherlands, recognises that healthcare and medicine has many challenges to overcome before we approach this self-healing utopia. But, the latest advances in rapid recovery research point towards using daily bioinformatics feedback and biomarkers (natural chemicals in our body that are associated with different health or disease states) in our bodies to guide treatment. Simons suggests that this approach would allow people to develop a quantified self-profile, which he refers to as an "endoself." The endoself would offer a person crucial insights into their health and potentially give them biological opportunities for self-repair and cure.

This approach might be described as a paradigm shift. It entails moving away from our reliance on symptomatic diagnostics and the subsequent pharmaceutical and surgical interventions, towards an approach that uses bioinformatics and biomarkers to identify health problems the moment they arise and to trigger a wound-healing paradigm, perhaps with the minimal of interventions we might refer to as external fixes. Ultimately, this approach would be to the benefit of everyone in terms of individual health and costs to healthcare systems.

This healthcare shift relies on our knowing the biomarkers, of having ways to monitor them in near real-time, and to have means to stimulate the body to respond to potentially detrimental changes in the levels of those biomarkers in our bodies. Obviously, such stimulation might be pharmaceutical, but the paradigm shift is that it would be proactive in addressing a problem before obvious symptoms arise, rather than simply reacting to symptoms. There are barriers but Simons is optimistic that we can overcome these although one of the biggest obstacles, he suggests, is the shift from reimbursement-based medicine to evidence-based medicine.

We have seen with social media during the last decade or so a shift to a new paradigm in the dissemination and interpretation of news and information, one that involves individuals using tools to share and comment, rather than relying on traditional corporations to pick and choose what we read and watch. Simons' healthcare paradigm would, similarly, empower the individual to take up the new tools of the trade to take care of themselves rather than relying wholly on the medical-industrial complex.

Simons, L.P.A. (2023) 'Health 2050: faster cure via bioinformatics and quantified self; a design analysis', Int. J. Networking and Virtual Organisations, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp.36–52.
DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2023.130957

A review in the International Journal of Management Development has highlighted the crucial role of personality types in the workplace. The study specifically focuses on dispelling the various misconceptions around leaders with introverted personalities. It reveals the key characteristics and qualities that make for effective leadership and compares the leadership styles of introverts and extroverts. The review could guide recruiters and human resource managers in improving their hiring practices and leadership development processes, making them more inclusive of introverts when identifying and nurturing potential leaders.

Hevvon A. Barnes of the University of Hartford, Connecticut and Susan M. Stewart of Western Illinois University, Moline, Illinois, USA, suggest that introverted leaders have long been misunderstood and their review seeks to challenge the deceived wisdom about their abilities. It is possible that by recognizing and valuing the unique strengths, talents, perspectives, and values of introverted leaders organizations could gain a deeper understanding of their contribution and build on it.

The team emphasizes that biases abound and while organisations with introverted leaders are obviously effective, the suggestion is that removing those biases and recognising the potential of introverted leaders could give a significant boost to an organisation. Taking proactive steps to address the misconceptions and foster a more balanced and diverse leadership culture, more accepting and respectful of introverts would allow those kinds of leaders to thrive and be more effective in their roles to the ultimate benefit of the organisation as a whole. The researchers add that interventions such as training programs, mentorship opportunities, and adjustments to organizational structures and practices might be used to achieve this efficiently.

There remain several areas for future research. For instance, there is still a need to explore the experiences of introverted leaders themselves in various organizational contexts and industries. There will also be a need to follow up on how effective particular interventions aimed at promoting the development and success of introverted leaders have been once implemented.

Barnes, H.A. and Stewart, S.M. (2022) 'Misconceptions about introverted leaders: how quiet personality types influence the workplace', Int. J. Management Development, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp.217–235.
DOI: 10.1504/IJMD.2022.130956

Research in the International Journal of Economic Policy in Emerging Economies has highlighted the significant contribution of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in bolstering food security among households residing in rural areas, such as those near the Pô-Nazinga-Sissili protected area in Burkina Faso. The work emphasizes how policymakers must integrate NTFPs into food security strategies there and in other regions.

Soumaïla Sawadogo of the Thomas Sankara University in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and also at the University of Liège, Belgium, surveyed some 263 randomly selected households. He employed two essential indicators to assess food security: the Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS) and the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS). His analysis of the correlation between economic dependence on NTFPs and food security revealed a positive association confirming that NTFPs play a critical role for households in this region.

NTFPs encompass a diverse range of forest resources, excluding timber. They provide various benefits to local communities. Sawadogo's research highlights how optimizing the use of forests can tackle food insecurity in rural households by providing them with wild food, giving them a cash income, and improving dietary diversity. Forest goods and services, including NTFPs like honey, nere seeds, and shea nuts, act as natural sources of sustenance, contributing significantly to a household's food security. Moreover, in a crisis, NTFPs can act as a safety net for the most vulnerable households.

Indeed, the research suggests that households are actually more food secure if they utilise NTFPs than other measures may have indicated. Households that derived almost a quarter of their total income from NTFP activities were, the work found, more likely to live in food security, as measured by the food diversity indicator. A more secure household is likely to put more diverse foods on the table, whereas a household in an insecure position will likely only have a limited range of food types, mainly basic carbohydrate foods to eat. The food diversity indicators shows that 70% of households are in a good food security position, whereas a measurement based only on the HFIAS would suggest just 11% of those households are food secure.

Sawadogo suggests that policymakers ought to harness the potential of NTFPs to enhance food security. He also points out that improving household literacy can have a synergistic effect, increasing food security and emphasizes that there is a need for educational programs focused on sustainable forest management and NTFP utilization.

Sawadogo, S. (2023) 'Contribution of non-timber forest products to food security of households bordering the Pô-Nazinga-Sissili ecological complex in Burkina Faso', Int. J. Economic Policy in Emerging Economies, Vol. 17, No. 3, pp.420–443.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEPEE.2023.10056049

Research in the International Journal of Economic Policy in Emerging Economies has examined the relationship between capital flight, tax revenue, economic growth, and good governance indicators in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) from 1996 to 2018. The study found that capital flight hampers economic growth in the region, while an increase in tax revenue has a positive impact. The counterpart is that increase in tax revenue acts as a catalyst for economic growth in SSA, the team found. However, the effects of capital flight and tax revenue on economic growth depend on the presence of good governance indicators.

Capital flight occurs when individuals, businesses, or investors transfer funds and assets out of their home country. It can negatively affect economic growth in that country or in this case a whole region. It is usually driven by concerns on the part of the investors regarding economic or political instability, unfavourable business conditions, legislation and regulations, or simply a lack of confidence in the local economy.

James Atta Peprah of the University of Cape Coast, Ghana and Harold Ngalawa and Evelyn Derera of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa demonstrate that the positive impact of tax revenue is influenced by good governance indicators and this can mitigate the negative effects of capital flight on economic growth. The work underscores the importance of implementing policies that promote good governance and thus growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, SSA.

The team explains that factors such as the rule of law, government stability, and effective control of corruption are crucial in good governance. There is a pressing need to strengthen democratic processes, promote economic freedom, and encourage private initiatives to attract investment and drive economic growth and development.

The researchers point out that given the limited availability of external financing sources, governments in SSA need to prioritize the enhancement of tax revenue mobilization and the promotion of domestic capital investment. This will require improvement in internal organizational structures, more training opportunities, and the fostering of stronger relationships with local governments. With the political will, SSA can create an environment conducive to economic development to support long-term economic prosperity in the region.

Peprah, J.A., Ngalawa, H. and Derera, E. (2023) 'Capital flight, tax revenue and economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: the role of good governance', Int. J. Economic Policy in Emerging Economies, Vol. 17, No. 3, pp.444–464.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEPEE.2022.10048308

Obesity represents a public health problem across the globe with an ever-increasing prevalence despite educational and other strategies being in place to address the issue. The consequences for long-term health crises remain. For children in two small island groups – Malta and the Canary Islands – there is growing concern regarding the incidence of overweight and obesity.

Writing in the International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health, a team from Malta and The Canary Islands have looked at the issues and offer some suggestions for addressing them.

Childhood obesity rates in these two regions have reached distressing levels, with two out of every five children being classed as overweight or obese. The team reports that a move away from a Mediterranean diet towards unhealthy eating habits and sedentary lifestyles as well as factors such as a reliance on imported food and the potential effects of climate change are all contributing to this growing problem. The researchers point out that there are strategies in place but there is little surveillance of how effective they are.

There is an urgent need for much more targeted and effective solutions as well as monitoring of the effects in these two regions, especially given their relative isolation and limited availability of local, fresh produce. Any strategies that are put in place must take a medium and longer-term view rather than offering quick fixes that may not persist. It will also be critical to ensure that new approaches to tackling childhood obesity are equitable and do not widen any existing socio-economic gaps or create new social divisions that simply worsen the situation.

Fundamentally, these island regions have many problems that are not necessarily apparent in mainland regions. To address childhood obesity in these places, public health proposals must focus on the underlying issues and find ways to address them as well as to monitor the impact so that policies can be fine-tuned for greater benefit to those affected.

Calleja, P., Darias-Curvo, S., Copperstone, C. and Cauchi, D. (2023) 'Childhood obesity, food insecurity and climate change: a tale of two island groups', Int. J. Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp.167–184.
DOI: 10.1504/IJFSNPH.2022.10048373

Many of us are looking for ways to make our lives and activities more sustainable and reduce the amount of waste we generate. One way to achieve these goals is by embracing the concept of a circular economy. In a circular economy, resources are used more efficiently, waste is minimized, and materials are recycled or repurposed, creating a closed-loop system where materials and products are constantly reused or regenerated.

One trend that goes around in this economic circle is the emergence of peer-to-peer (P2P) online platforms that connect people with something to sell or donate to people who need or want a given product. Within this, we also see the upcycling or repurposing of old products for sale to others.

Research in the International Journal of Export Marketing, has looked at why people resell second-hand products on such online platforms. The study, by Saleem Ur Rahman and Hannu Makkonen of the School of Marketing and Communication at the University of Vaasa in Finland, collected and analysed data from over 3,000 people in Finland. The team found that there are various disparate reasons why people choose to resell items they no longer need on these platforms. Some simply want to make money, others do it for the fun of it, and yet others find it an engaging part of their being social. Interestingly, the study found that practical, generative, and protestor motives do not influence reselling behaviour.

The researchers suggest that these findings might help policymakers keen to improve society's green credentials, to understand how people use these platforms, and develop regulations to ensure consumer protection as well as to encourage this kind of circular economic activity with a view to reducing waste. The research also offers some insights for platform developers and operators who might now tailor specific services based on the motives of their users.

Closing the loop on the circular economy could help us reduce waste and materials destined for simple recycling or, worse, landfill, create new economic opportunities, and promote sustainable use of resources.

Rahman, S.U. and Makkonen, H. (2022) 'Is this a new era for old goods? Analysing the motives for second-hand product resale in the platform economy', Int. J. Export Marketing, Vol. 5, Nos. 3/4, pp.296–319.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEXPORTM.2023.10053980

Research in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management has shed light on the behaviour of households in Claremont, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, when it comes to recycling as a sustainable means of waste management revealing that about two-thirds of households do not recycle waste. The results suggest that there is a long way to go in this typical suburb, and perhaps many others, to improve recycling facilities and opportunities and education.

R.O. Anyasi and H.I. Atagana of the University of South Africa in Pretoria conducted a survey of 400 households, selected at random, in the area. The results showed that a majority of households, a staggering 67.3%, do not recycle generally recyclable waste materials. Recycling, of course, should be a key component of reducing the negative environmental impact of our everyday consumption of food and other products.

The researchers found that lack of basic recycling education and inadequate infrastructure are mainly to blame for the lack of interest and participation in recycling. Moreover, they analyzed the relationship between waste management interests and the recycling ability of individual households using Pearson correlation analysis. This showed a significant and positive relationship meaning that the minority of households with a greater interest in waste management were the ones that were more likely to recycle, as one might expect.

The study concludes that there is a need for more convenient recycling depots and environmental awareness campaigns to encourage more households to recycle in this region. This is a necessary part of moving society to a cleaner and more sustainable future. With more convenient recycling depots and greater awareness, households can become better equipped to manage waste sustainably and contribute to a cleaner future for everyone, the research suggests. The team points out that there is a high proportion of schoolchildren in households and it is this younger generation that might be addressed with educational resources to help flip that 67 to 33 ratio.

Anyasi, R.O. and Atagana, H.I. (2023) 'Recycling behaviour of people in South Africa', Int. J. Environment and Waste Management, Vol. 31, No. 3, pp.325–338.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEWM.2023.10055959

Research in the World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development has shown how food delivery apps for smartphones and other mobile devices are boosting customer satisfaction and giving companies a competitive advantage in one of the biggest areas of growth – urban India.

Food delivery apps are rapidly gaining popularity in urban areas across India, according to Shamsher Singh of BCIPS (GGSIP University) in New Delhi, India. He suggests that these apps are revolutionizing the way food is ordered there. Singh has delved into the impact of technology on the food industry, exploring the role of food apps in creating a competitive edge and enhancing customer satisfaction. The study gathered primary data from 100 participants through a survey to gauge the satisfaction levels and the usage of food apps.

Singh used frequency analysis and ANOVA statistical tools to test the validity of the data in the system, SPSS, originally known as Statistical Package for the Social Sciences but now more often known as Statistical Product and Service Solutions. His work shows that customers rank highly various features, such as clarity of price, variety of food items, food served hot and fresh, and correct and complete food delivery. This, he reports, was the same across all demographic profiles. Other factors such as timely delivery, promotional schemes, neat and clean delivery personnel, and service excellence were also important.

The findings hold important implications for the food industry and the larger economy. By embracing technology and leveraging food apps, food businesses can enhance customer satisfaction and gain a competitive advantage. This trend could also have a significant impact on employment, as the food industry is a major employer in India. As food delivery apps continue to grow in popularity, it is likely that they will reshape the industry and create new job opportunities in the process.

Singh, S. (2023) 'Food apps to create competitive advantage and enhance customer satisfaction', World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 19, Nos. 3/4/5, pp.218–229.
DOI: 10.1504/WREMSD.2023.10054683

Research in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management demonstrates how waste glass powder can be used as a substitute for traditional concrete materials, and may have important implications for the construction industry and waste management as well as reducing the environmental burden in terms of landfill and carbon emissions.

P. Manikandan and V. Vasugi of the School of Civil Engineering at Vellore Institute of Technology, Chennai Campus in India, tested slag-based geopolymer concrete made using a mixture of waste glass powder and sodium hydroxide, 12 molar NaOH solution. The researchers tested the mechanical properties of the resulting concrete and found that the best results were achieved when the mixtures had a specific ratio of materials, using 80% slag and 20% glass powder with a particular concentration of NaOH.

The finding might represent an important opportunity for the industry as well as waste management, given that coloured glass, particularly brown and green bottles, cannot readily be recycled into new glass vessels. Using waste glass powder in concrete production will reduce the amount of waste material that is sent to landfills, while still producing a durable building material. By reducing the amount of cement needed for making concrete there is also the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction and civil engineering industries given that the traditional approach to concrete production generates a large proportion of the world's carbon emissions, some 8 percent or so.

The researchers utilised artificial neural networks to predict the mechanical properties of the concrete and found that the model's predictions matched well with the actual results of the experiments, which is promising for the future of formulating concrete from related waste materials.

Overall, the findings of this study offer a potential solution to two important environmental issues: reducing landfill waste and carbon emissions associated with the construction industry. The use of waste glass powder in concrete production could be a significant step towards more sustainable construction practices, while still producing durable and reliable building materials.

Manikandan, P. and Vasugi, V. (2023) 'The potential use of waste glass powder in slag-based geopolymer concrete – an environmental friendly material', Int. J. Environment and Waste Management, Vol. 31, No. 3, pp.291–307.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEWM.2022.10032507

Despite the increasing popularity of mobile phones, their end-of-life disposal remains a major environmental challenge.Electronic waste, in general, is an enormous problem not least because many devices are built with long-lasting plastics and potentially hazardous metals, such as copper, cobalt, lithium, ferrous metals, nickel, aluminium, tin, gold, silver, platinum, palladium, tantalum, indium, and others. While the industry itself, third parties organisations, and government policies encourage us to recycle our electronic waste, including mobile phones, the rate of recycling remains very low in most parts of the world.

Research in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management has looked at the reasons why people fail to recycle their smart phones and to identify the barriers that might be overcome from the user perspective.

Prakashkumar Limbachiya, Fenil Tamakuwala, Rishabh Yadav and Dileep Kumar Gupta* Institute of Infrastructure, Technology, Research and Management, Ahmadabad, India, carried out a local study. This involved analysing data collected from field surveys of different user groups, as well as secondary data available on various mobile recycling portals. They identified the limiting behaviour and various attitudes towards the recycling process.

The main issue was a lack of financial incentive for recycling a device. There is a high turnover of smartphones but the value of a device less than a year old will have fallen by 70-90 percent within a short time. Of course, at less than a year old, one would hope that modern users could cope without succumbing to the urge to upgrade so summarily. However, smartphone users while recognising the environmental concerns and the social responsibility of recycling were commonly unaware of how and where to recycle an old device. Users were also faced with the inconvenience of the process of disposing of an old device at a recycling site.

In addition, many smartphone users were concerned with the issue of data privacy and the possibility that a third party might gain access to information in their old phone after it is handed over for recycling despite the ability to completely reset a device and clear any stored information, logins, or phone numbers completely before disposal.

The researchers suggest that there is now a need for greater public education and awareness campaigns to encourage more people to recycle their mobile phones. They add that governments should consider implementing policies that require mobile phone manufacturers to design devices that are easier to recycle, but perhaps more importantly, have a longer lifespan. Of course, this latter point is perhaps moot, as there will always be users keen to buy the next generation of smartphone with all of their novel features and technology perhaps unavailable in older devices.

Limbachiya, P., Tamakuwala, F., Yadav, R. and Gupta, D.K. (2023) 'Recycling of mobile phones in India: challenges and barrier for the industries', Int. J. Environment and Waste Management, Vol. 31, No. 2, pp.168–184.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEWM.2022.10036548

The World Health Organisation (WHO), reports that well over 135 million people die worldwide in road traffic accidents each year and that the main cause of most accidents is driver distraction. Distractions such as using mobile phones and other gadgets such as navigation and sound systems, talking to passengers, eating and drinking, all constitute risky behaviour while driving. A system that can automatically detect such distracted driving and alert a driver to their risky behaviour could reduce the risk of their being involved in or causing an accident.

A study in the International Journal of Wireless and Mobile Computing describes a more effective method of identifying distracted driving behaviou. The technology has the potential to improve driver safety systems and reduce the number of road traffic accidents that occur when drivers are not going their full attention to the road ahead and other vehicles, pedestrians, and hazards in their path. Conventional approaches have proven complex or too subjective, but the proposed method uses a combination of transfer learning and model fusion to overcome the various issues.

Guantai Luo and Wanghui Xiao of the Fujian (Quanzhou)-HIT Research Institute of Engineering and Technology, Xinwei Chen of Minjiang University, Jin Tao, and Chentao Zhang of Xiamen University, in Fujian, China, used two pre-trained deep convolutional neural network models, ResNet18 and ResNet34, to extract features from images of drivers. They then fine-tuned these models to produce four deep convolutional neural network models which they could fuse using a stacking method to create a fusion model.

They then tested the accuracy of their fusion model in recognizing distracted driving behaviour using a fivefold cross-validation method. Their results showed that the new model had an accuracy of 95.47%. This is a significant improvement over traditional methods that use a single network model, indicating a higher level of generalization performance and recognition accuracy.

Luo, G., Xiao, W., Chen, X., Tao, J. and Zhang, C. (2023) 'Distracted driving behaviour recognition based on transfer learning and model fusion', Int. J. Wireless and Mobile Computing, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp.159–168.
DOI: 10.1504/IJWMC.2023.130405

From the earliest texts and emails, users have sought to summarise what they wanted to say. Part of the impetus initially came from character limits on texts and ways to save bandwidth when using a slow internet connection in the dialup and pre-broadband days. Users would abbreviate common phrases, such as "laughing out loud" to "LOL" to express their amusement in a reply to a humorous message, for instance. An alternative approach was to use punctuation marks to create a three-character icon, a smiley, that would represent a sentiment. For example, a colon followed by a hyphen and a left parenthesis sent in response to bad news would generally be interpreted at a sad face :-( whereas a happy face would use the parenthetical counterpart :-)

With increasing bandwidth and features on phones and devices came a need for more expressive alternatives to the simply smileys and abbreviations and a who alternative character set was devised to represent a wide range of facial expressions, hand gestures, objects, and activities. These tiny images work well with the feature-rich devices and greater bandwidth of 4G and 5G smart phones and other devices. They allow proficient users to express a wide range of emotions in a succinct way in their messages and even represent in a neat way complex ideas.

Of course, with our increasingly busy lives we are always looking for tools with which to shorten the time we need to produce even abbreviated messages. With text messages, autocorrect, autocomplete, and predictive text apps, generally work well to predict the end of a word or even the next word or words one is likely to need to type in a message. For instance, when arranging to meet a friend, one might finish a message by starting to type "see" and the device will predict the next words as "you soon". But, how might this work with emoji?

Research in the International Journal of Business Intelligence and Data Mining, reveals a new approach to predicting which emoji a user is likely to use after a particular piece of text or other emoji. This new approach improves on earlier methods of emoji prediction by overcoming the problem that different users can have very disparate styles of emoji usage.

Vandita Grover and Hema Banati of the University of Delhi, India, have developed EmoRile to predict which emoji a user will use in a given conversation. The system creates a user profile based on past emoji use and tests show it to work at least as well as other emoji prediction tools. The EmoRile approach comes into its own when there is a much larger number of emoji to choose from for a given user profile.

The team points out that often users choose an emoji that might have the opposite meaning of the preceding text perhaps to express irony, sarcasm, or a witticism. This makes the emoji prediction task more difficult, so there is a need to develop a yet more nuanced algorithm to accurately predict emoji use in such messages. The presence of URLs, hashtags, and other context in a message might enhance emoji prediction accuracy.

Grover, V. and Banati, H. (2023) 'EmoRile: a personalised emoji prediction scheme based on user profiling', Int. J. Business Intelligence and Data Mining, Vol. 22, No. 4, pp.470–485.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBIDM.2023.10045810

Research in the International Journal of Computational Biology and Drug Design, has looked at the potential of various bioflavanoids as inhibitors of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. The compounds – narirutin, naringin, neohesperidin and hesperidin – are found in citrus fruits. Their wide-ranging therapeutic and physiological effects are well known. The possibility of repurposing them in the face of the ongoing pandemic is discussed in light of computer modelling of their interaction with the virus' infamous spike protein.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus enters our cells by using a protein called S-protein to interact with a human protein called angiotensin converting enzyme 2, ACE2, present on the surface of our cells. Antiviral drugs that block this mechanism would effectively stop the virus in its tracks. However, finding safe, new antiviral agents is difficult, much better to test a well-known drug or compound and repurpose it for this disease.

Pawan Gupta of the Shri Vile Parle Kelavani Mandals Institute of Pharmacy in Dhule, India, and colleagues have used a computer simulation of the systems to test whether various plant-derived molecules would dock with ACE2 and block entry of the virus. They have found that two of the four molecules tested, naringin and narirutin, can bind to both the S-protein/ACE2 interface and the active site of the S-protein. This means that these natural molecules have the potential to prevent the virus from entering human cells and so might be used to develop treatments for COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has raged since early 2020, although the first of its victims were identified in China in late 2019. While preventative measures and vaccines have all been developed to help us cope with this emergent disease, there remains a need for treatments for those who do catch the potentially lethal disease. Repurposing could allow the rapid development and subsequent approval of antiviral agents given that many of the early-stage toxicity checks and safety trials will already have been undertaken for the use of such compounds in other health contexts. Of course, the current work was done on a computer, "in silico", the next step will be to determine whether the two active, lead, compounds can work in the laboratory, "in vitro", and then "in vivo" in patients. The team also suggests that the kind of multi-targeting they have demonstrated so far in silico might be seen with other compounds, which could also be used as leads to novel antiviral compounds to tackle COVID-19.

Gupta, P., Gupta, S., Sinha, S., Sundaram, S., Sharma, V.K. and Munshi, A. (2023) 'In silico phytochemical repurposing of natural molecules as entry inhibitors against RBD of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 using molecular docking studies', Int. J. Computational Biology and Drug Design, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp.267–288.
DOI: 10.1504/IJCBDD.2022.10053912

Research in the International Journal of Simulation and Process Modelling has looked at fire escape routes in complex buildings with a view to designing in improvements to help a building's occupants during a potentially catastrophic event.

Yi Zhang, Chi Wang, Wenwen Tong, and Tianqi Liu of Anhui Jianzhu University in Hefei, China, have proposed an improved algorithm that can help them solve the problem of finding the shortest path for escape and evacuation of large numbers of people in complex buildings, such as skyscrapers. Their algorithm is based on Dijkstra's algorithm which is a commonly used algorithm for pathfinding.

Dijkstra's algorithm, developed in the 1950s is today widely used in network routing protocols, maps, and transportation planning. It can offer an efficient way to find the shortest path in a graph. However, for large and complex graphs it does not always discern the most efficient route and so there is room for improvement as the team suggests. Indeed, it can only solve single-source path-planning problems, which is not the problem seen with escape routes from skyscrapers, shopping malls, and other complex buildings.

The researchers developed the original algorithm to allow for multiple sources and multiple convergences. They then simulated real-life scenarios with different numbers of people and different crowd densities in a shopping mall as proof of principle. Their results show that the proposed algorithm is effective in improving the escape efficiency of crowds and provides an answer quickly and efficiently in terms of computing resources.

The ability to evacuate people safely and quickly from complex buildings is important in emergency situations such as fires, earthquakes, or terrorist attacks. The research suggests that incorporating the algorithm into a building management system could allow optimal and improved evacuation procedures and better emergency response to be available to those managing the building and those in charge of an evacuation should it be necessary.

Zhang, Y., Wang, C., Tong, W. and Liu, T. (2022) 'Research on fire escape paths for complex public buildings with multiple starting and end points', Int. J. Simulation and Process Modelling, Vol. 19, Nos. 1/2, pp.62–70.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSPM.2022.10055344

Pingtan Island is an attractive tourist destination off the east coast of mainland Asia south of the Min River estuary complex. One of its most well-known natural features that draws the crowds are the "blue tears". This natural phenomenon is a blue glow that emanates from various species of plankton that bloom in the waters around the island and is seen on the island's beaches and surrounding rocks.

Many tens of thousands of plankton cells present in every litre of seawater during the main blooming period April to July can produce a bioluminescent glow in turbulent waters. With such blooms there is always the concern that there might be a detrimental effect on the water quality, the other marine life and people and animals swimming in the water.

Work in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution has looked at the impact of blue tears on water quality for the first time. The team writes that the main bioluminescent species generating the blue tears is Noctiluca scintillans, rather than Vargula hilgendorfii and others are discussed by other researchers.

However, contrary to earlier work that had suggested that the presence of N. scintillans might be detrimental to water quality, the team found that the water quality holds good when this organism is present. The team also investigated the ebb and flow of the blue tears bloom and proposes a mechanism that might underlie this natural phenomenon. Their study of spatial and temporal variation in the planktonic community and seawater quality broadly show that the phenomenon of blue tears, which is becoming more widespread, is not, as had been assumed, associated with a drop in water quality.

Zou, Y., Chen, J., Ma, X., Yang, Y., You, J., Chen, Q., Zheng, Y. and Xiang, S. (2021) 'Identification of 'Blue tears' and its relationship with water quality of coastal waters in Pingtan Island', Int. J. Environment and Pollution, Vol. 70, Nos. 1/2, pp.86–109.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEP.2021.10055447

Nursing staff represent the heart of any healthcare system, but when they are absent, the impact on the quality of care and productivity can be significant and costly. New research in the International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management has looked at the implications for a university hospital of absenteeism among nurses.

Emad Adel Shdaifat and Najla Mohd Al-Ansari of the College of Nursing at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Main Naser Alolayyan of Jordan University of Science and Technology in Irbid Jordan, and Najla Mohd Al-Ansari of the Department of Nursing at King Fahd Hospital of the University in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, investigated the likely causes and frequencies of absenteeism among nurses. They found that minor illnesses and fatigue due to work overload were the most common reasons for absence. They determined that nurses who worked the A-shift (usually the first shift of the day beginning early morning and ending in the late afternoon or early evening) had children, worked in an intensive care unit were more frequent absentees. A common factor among them in terms of their own health being that they have a normal body mass index (BMI).

The results of this study highlight the need for healthcare organizations to invest in better working conditions for nurses, such as reducing workload and providing support for nurses with children. By doing so, the team suggests that university, or teaching, hospitals could reduce absenteeism and ultimately improve the quality of life for their nurses as well as patient care.

The findings come at a time when healthcare workers, including nurses, are demanding better working conditions and fair pay. The impact of absenteeism on productivity and patient care is one of the many factors driving this industrial action given that staff feeling pressure and becoming ill because of work overload are likely to take time off beyond their usual leave allowance. At this stage, more research is needed to improve our understanding of the relationship between absenteeism and the various factors affecting their working and personal lives of healthcare staff.

Shdaifat, E.A., Alolayyan, M.N., Rosario, A.B. and Al-Ansari, N.M. (2023) 'Absenteeism among nurses: costs, working conditions, and related factors', Int. J. Productivity and Quality Management, Vol. 38, No. 4, pp.518–544.
DOI: 10.1504/IJPQM.2021.10041564

A study in the International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion, has looked at the effects of "positive" stress among frontline journalists. The findings suggest that this type of stress, so-called eustress, can help such workers handle the emotional challenges they face in their jobs.

Many people have pressured and stressful jobs. Indeed everyone from healthcare workers to firefighters, social workers to journalists, and most jobs in between will at one time or another describe their work as stressful. How individuals manage their emotional response to stress is critical to whether they can maintain their psychological well-being and indeed whether the stress they face can have a positive impact on their work rather than being a harmful hindrance.

Juliet E. Ikhide of the Department of Business Administration at the Eastern Mediterranean University in Famagusta, Turkey and Oluwatobi A. Ogunmokun of the Rabat Business School at the International University of Rabat in Morocco surveyed frontline journalists, which they classify as service employees in the media sector, using email. The team analyzed the data using the Job Demands-Resources (J-DR) theoretical framework.

The results suggest that eustress plays a vital role in mediating the relationship between emotional regulation strategies (deep- and surface-acting) and personal initiative-taking behaviour. In other words, the work implies, by having a positive approach to stress, frontline journalists can maintain their psychological well-being and counteract the negative emotional effects that would otherwise subdue their willingness to take the initiative in their work.

This work has implications theoretical studies of mental health in the workplace and in practice. It sheds light on how organizations can promote employee well-being and productivity by showing that positive stress can help service employees better manage their emotional responses. However, the findings also highlight the need for more research into the relationship between positive stress and emotional regulation strategies.

In conclusion, the researchers suggest that their findings can offer guidance to those who employ frontline journalists. "Managers can encourage employees to face and navigate challenging situations by providing valuable support, and eliciting a positive response from them," they explain. "They can offer constructive suggestions and develop employees' capacity for resilience, hope, and optimism on the job." Such measures could help service employees develop a positive response to stress, which could improve their capacity to actively observe and display personal initiative at work, the team adds.

Ikhide, J.E. and Ogunmokun, O.A. (2023) 'Emotional regulation strategies, eustress, and personal initiative-taking: evidence from frontline journalists', Int. J. Work Organisation and Emotion, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp.24–44.
DOI: 10.1504/IJWOE.2022.10047140

A study in the International Journal of Security and Networks highlights some of the risks associated with the security of smart homes as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to expand. The work emphasises the need for increased vigilance in the field of home automation.

The Internet of Things (IoT) generally refers to the growing network of physical objects or devices that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies that allow them to connect and communicate with other devices and systems over the Internet. This definition might encompass industrial and infrastructure systems as well as domestic equipment. Indeed, the IoT embeds smart home devices such as thermostats and smart lighting, domestic appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, and washing machines, smart TVs and sound systems as well as locks and security devices such as cameras, sensors and alarms. It also carries with it all the computers tablets, smartphones, wearables, and weather sensors, that are all connected to the smart home's network.

This interconnectivity opens up huge possibilities for improving our quality of life through automation of mundane and repetitive processes. However, as with any technology, it is always open to abuse.

A team from Egypt and Yemen suggests that smart homes using IoT technology can be vulnerable to security threats. Redhwan M.A. Saad of Ibb University in Yemen and Cairo University, Egypt working with Khaled A.M. Al Soufy (Ibb) and Samir I. Shaheen (Cairo) hope to identify and unravel the complexities and vulnerabilities to provide a clearer picture of the impact the IoT might have on the overall security of a smart home.

The team has examined the latest technologies and security solutions in this environment, as well as discussing current security measures to counter malicious attacks by third parties. The findings offer invaluable insights into the challenges posed by security, authentication, and confidentiality in the smart home. The next step, the team says, will be to develop an integrated security infrastructure with an improved mitigation mechanism for smart home networks.

Saad, R.M.A., Al Soufy, K.A.M. and Shaheen, S.I. (2023) 'Security in smart home environment: issues, challenges, and countermeasures – a survey', Int. J. Security and Networks, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp.1–9.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSN.2023.10055132

Plants have a wide range of seed dispersal techniques. Some seeds are embedded in delicious fruit that animals eat and pass intact seeds elsewhere. Some simply fall to the ground but are harvested by animals that carry them off and even bury them in the ground. Other seeds are wrapped in bristly or sticky cases that cling on to passing fur and fall off or are rubbed off some distance away. Some plants overhang water and have seeds that float away on the country to find themselves beached elsewhere. Others have evolved tiny flying machines that allow the wind to carry their offspring away.

In the latter, category, the plants we know as maples and sycamores have evolved winged seeds. Once detached from the tree, these seeds spin as they fall and that rotation extends the time they are in the air allowing the wing to carry them large away from their parent tree. Technically, such a flying system is known as a "pararotor".

Research from a team in Argentina published in the International Journal of Aerodynamics has taken a look at the flight path of the seed of the native North American species Acer negundo, the boxelder maple, also known as the Manitoba maple or simply the box elder. This species' winged seeds, known as samara, hang from the tree on stems with pairs of seeds attached to each other and flat, wing-like protuberances jutting out below.

The team describes this flying seed configuration as an aerodynamic rotary decelerator and suggests that its unique flying abilities represent natural inspiration for researchers and engineers working on rotator wing design. Indeed, it seems no coincidence that in some parts of the world, the winged seeds of sycamores and related trees are colloquially referred to as "helicopters". The concentrated load and thin wing of a samara, represent a simple engineering feat on the part of nature that might be exploited in the design of novel aerodynamic decelerators, the team suggests. Samara-type artificial decelerators have applications as novel parachutes for skydivers and space probes, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The researchers have characterised the flight of samara by nutation (spinning) angle, falling, and rotation velocities. They then used this data to model and simulate the flight path with a view to using these to better understand how the structure and shape of such seeds give them their particular aerodynamic characteristics.

Porritiello, F., Nadal Mora, V. and Piechocki, J. (2022) 'Study of the flight of the Acer negundo samara', Int. J. Aerodynamics, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp.224–235.
DOI: 10.1504/IJAD.2022.10055181

With so much choice available online, music fans the world over often face a dilemma in terms of choosing what music to listen to for a given mood. The issue existed when one had a limited collection of "vinyl" to choose from but was perhaps not quite as acute given the potential for anyone of us with an internet connection to be able to listen to almost any available piece of music recorded music with the simple tap of an icon.

Music recommendations systems have been around for many years, almost as long as music downloads and streaming have been available to Internet users. Some work better than others, often simply recommending other artists in a genre. Research in the International Journal of Reasoning-based Intelligent Systems has taken a new approach and use multi-label tags associated with different songs to personalise your playlist based on the emotional content of the songs available.

The system has been developed by Yuan Luo of the Academy of Music and Dance at Hunan City University in Yiyang and Qiuji Chen of the Wenzhou Yue Theatre in Wen Zhou, China. It uses principal component analysis to analyze the emotional aspects of music. By reducing the dimension of music features, the system can process large amounts of data more efficiently. This analysis is combined with a method called cosine similarity, which calculates the similarity between songs based on their emotional content. The system also applies multiple labels to better define the character of each song.

To create personalized recommendations, the system calculates your interest in dozens of different emotional labels. This allows it to recommend music that aligns with your mood and preferences. In testing, the system was found to have a high accuracy rate of 98.3%. This means that the recommended songs were in line with the user's preferences almost all the time. Additionally, the system is very fast, able to recommend 500 pieces of music in just under twenty seconds.

Luo, Y. and Chen, Q. (2023) 'A method for personalised music recommendation based on emotional multi-label', Int. J. Reasoning-based Intelligent Systems, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp.97–104.
DOI: 10.1504/IJRIS.2023.10050585

Plastic waste is an increasing problem the world over, with food packaging and single-use items such as plastic knives and forks representing a significant component of the waste stream. There have been efforts to replace disposable cutlery with implements crafted from wood or bamboo, but work in the International Journal of Mathematical Modelling and Numerical Optimisation has looked at a radical alternative – edible cutlery.

P. Vignesh and S. Srinivasan of the Institute of Science and Technology in Chennai, and S. Maragatha Sundari and S. Kishore Eswar of Kalasalingam University in Krishnankovil, both in Tamilnadu, India, explain that creating edible cutlery from millet is one possibility. However, as they explain the production of such items from this unusual source material requires a lengthy step-by-step process.

As mathematicians, the researchers recognised that such step-by-step processes lend themselves to being defined by a scientific queuing model that can be solved using supplementary variable queuing technology. They have thus developed a conceptual approach to queue theory that might be implemented in the creation of edible cutley and is displayed through a numerical and complex visual analysis.

Millet is a nutritious, gluten-free, and easily cultivable crop that is widely grown in many parts of the world, particularly in Africa and Asia. It is a general term for are small-grained, annual, warm-weather cereals in the grass family of crops. These plants are fast-growing and highly drought-tolerant. They could therefore be useful as a sustainable and accessible source material in the developing world.

If such edible cutlery were to become a sustainable alternative to plastic or wooden products, then there is a cradle-to-grave assessment to be made of energy and resource costs as well as a need for health and safety considerations. The team has surveyed potential users and found the concept largely acceptable. All that said, chewing and swallowing a millet knife and fork at the end of one's meal may not be to everyone's taste.

Vignesh, P., Srinivasan, S., Maragatha Sundari, S. and Eswar, S.K. (2023) 'An investigation on MX/G/1 queuing model of interrupted services in the manufacturing of edible cutlery process', Int. J. Mathematical Modelling and Numerical Optimisation, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp.173–201.
DOI: 10.1504/IJMMNO.2023.10050913

Research in the International Journal of Management Practice, shows that Twitter in India expressed concerns and hesitancy towards COVID-19 vaccination, and that digital misinformation played a significant role.

Misinformation and so-called "fake news" about vaccination against the pandemic disease COVID-19 has been rampant on social media platforms the world over. Indeed, vaccine hesitancy is on the rise the world over. The spread of misconceptions about the safety and efficacy of the available vaccines have led to many people refusing to accept the efficacy of this preventative measure. Renuka Mahajan and Pragya Gupta of the Jaipuria Institute of Management in Uttar Pradesh and Pooja S. Kushawaha of the Jaipuria Institute of Management in Madhya Pradesh, India, have investigated the social media conversation regarding vaccine hesitancy and the misinformation in order to better understand how people in India reacted.

The team used a mixed-method approach, combining quantitative sentiment analysis with qualitative content analysis to identify the negative sentiments related to COVID-19 vaccination on the well-known microblogging Twitter. The researchers found various factors that affected attitudes: willingness, risk perception, and efficacy, affordability, allocation, prioritization, and outreach.

The team sought the opinion of medical experts for their qualitative responses. Their opinions supported the findings and recognized the importance of understanding the factors contributing to vaccine hesitancy. The team thus suggests that the insights they have gleaned from their study could help the government and policymakers take appropriate action to address the concerns and encourage vaccine acceptance in India. Simpler vaccinations were well accepted in previous campaigns in India, for instance, in vaccinating against polio and smallpox. But, the COVID-19 vaccination program was generally by injection and requires two doses and so requires more healthcare training and logistic sophistication. It is worth noting that a nasal spray vaccine was launched in India in January 2023 by Bharat Biotech.

This all remains an important point given the ongoing pandemic. Moreover, there is an urgent need to understand how society responded in the way it did during the COVID-19 pandemic given the ever-present risk of another emergent pathogen that might lead to another, perhaps worse, pandemic in the future.

Mahajan, R., Gupta, P. and Kushawaha, P.S. (2023) 'Role of digital misinformation in analysing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy', Int. J. Management Practice, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp.284–318.
DOI: 10.1504/IJMP.2023.10053746

Social media influencers can significantly nudge the purchasing decisions made by their followers through the emotional connection they create and the quality of information they provide, according to a study in the International Journal of Technology Marketing.

As more people turn to social media for recommendations and advice on the products and services they need, businesses must increasingly consider how best to use influencers to help them reach their target audiences and perhaps even open up new markets. The study by Juan Sebastián Roldan-Gallego of the Institución Universitaria Politécnico Grancolombiano, Javier A. Sánchez-Torres of the University of Medellín both in Medellín-Antioquia, Colombia, and Ana Argila-Irurita and Francisco-Javier Arroyo-Cañada of the University of Barcelona, Spain, has implications for technology marketing, as brands seek to capitalize on the influence of social media in the world of business.

Social media influencers are individuals with a large and loyal following on social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. Many have created a personal brand in a particular niche on social media and have gained a lot of traction and reach rather than starting out as de facto celebrities. Influencers are often young and attractive or have some unique selling point and appeal for their output. They can often drive public opinion among their followers through their behaviour and updates. To be a true influencer it is common that their output reaches way beyond the core audience and "goes viral" on the internet spreading to people way beyond the influencer's usual reach.

Commonly, influencers focus on a particular niche or topic, such as beauty, fashion, fitness, or technology, and build a large following by creating engaging and entertaining content that resonates with the audience. Once they are perceived to have influence, they often collaborate with brands to promote products or services to their followers, earning a commission or fee in the process.

The influence of social media influencers has grown significantly in recent years, as more people turn to social media for product recommendations and advice. Businesses are increasingly recognizing the potential of influencers to reach and engage with their target audiences, making influencer marketing a popular and effective strategy in the world of technology marketing.

The team used the information acceptance model to analyse data from a survey of 381 social media users to investigate the impact of influencers on purchase intentions and actual purchases. The model homes in on attitudes, needs, credibility, and intentions, and was tested using structural equation modeling.

The analysis revealed that all factors in the information acceptance model are directly related to how influencers connect with their audience. Moreover, the researchers discovered that the emotional relationship between influencer and follower is critical to whether or not the follower accepts the information they provide.

Roldan-Gallego, J.S., Sánchez-Torres, J.A., Argila-Irurita, A. and Arroyo-Cañada, F-J. (2023) 'Are social media influencers effective? An analysis of information adoption by followers', Int. J. Technology Marketing, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp.188–211.
DOI: 10.1504/IJTMKT.2022.10049868

In recent years, the use of big data in healthcare has become more prevalent, and one area where it is proving particularly useful is in precision medicine. Precision medicine aims to provide more personalized healthcare by using large amounts of data to gain a deeper understanding of diseases.

Research published in the International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy has focused on the potential limitations of precision medicine and explores how it might be better integrated with clinical data, biomarker information, and genetics to better understand and so treat disease. Simone Malekar of the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford, UK and Shamira Malekar and Hung Chu of the Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York, USA, examine some of the problems seen when handling big data, including the issues of data ownership and potential bias.

The team also considers how to ensure that the information revealed by big data in the context of precision medicine using advanced computational techniques is as transparent as possible and explained to patients and healthcare providers.

Precision medicine treats each patient as an individual and uses the best available tools to help create a personalized medical treatment for that patient based on their individual characteristics, their genetics, environment, and lifestyle. It requires large amounts of data, big data, such as clinical information, biomarkers and test results, and genetic data, to provide a deeper understanding of the disease and to identify more targeted and effective therapies.

The potential of this new approach is not only to improve the patient's prognosis but also to accelerate medical research and perhaps even reduce the overall cost of healthcare. Commonly precision medicine driven by big data is proving highly effective in treating certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer and malignant melanoma.

To move forward with precision medicine more broadly, we need to be able to handle big data more effectively than ever before and to understand the implications of using it. Big data refers to large, complex, and diverse sets of information that too big to manage and process with conventional data processing methods. Big data means volume, variety, and velocity – lots of different types of data generated rapidly, in other words.

Malekar, S., Malekar S. and Chu, H. (2023) 'The perils of big data: understanding the usage in precision medicine', Int. J. Management Concepts and Philosophy, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp.89–100.
DOI: 10.1504/IJMCP.2023.10053877

Search Engine Optimisation, SEO, involves improving a website's content, the technical aspects of the site, and the user experience to make it more attractive to search engines, resulting in higher rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs), and to drive organic traffic. It requires a combination of keyword research, on-page optimization, technical improvments, content creation, backlink building, and continuous monitoring and analysis to achieve the best results.

Writing in the EuroMed Journal of Management, Jun-Cheng Chen of TBS Education in Paris, France, discusses the state-of-the-art in SEO. His work could help fill a gap in this area of research by highlighting what is known and what is yet to be investigated.

There are seven basic principles of SEO one should consider if hoping to improve the visibility of one's website academic or commercial.

Keyword research is the first step in the SEO process. It involves identifying the phrases and words that users commonly try to search for the information they need. This step increases the chances of ranking higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) for the target keywords.

On-page optimization is the process of improving a website's elements, such as title, tags, meta tags and descriptions, headings, and the content itself. This is done to make the website more relevant and attractive to both search engines and users. It ensures that the website is easily understood by search engines and provides valuable information to users.

Technical SEO involves improving the format, link structure, mobile-readiness, and accessibility as well as reducing page-load times and making it easier for the search engines to crawl the website.

Content creation and optimization is a critical aspect of SEO. High-quality, relevant, and engaging content is important for ranking well on search engines. Websites with duplicate, spammy, or poor-quality content are generally ranked lower.

User experience (UX) is a crucial factor in SEO. Metrics such as bounce rate, time on site, and engagement metrics indicate website relevancy and usefulness to search engines. A well-designed, user-friendly website with intuitive navigation and clear calls-to-action can improve both user experience and SEO.

Backlink building is the process of obtaining high-quality links from authoritative websites that point back to the website, these will boost a site's ranking providing they are not acquired through spammy, or black-hat, techniques.

Finally, monitoring and analysis play a key role in SEO. Regular analysis of a website's performance and traffic can help identify areas for improvement and measure the effectiveness of SEO efforts.

Chen's detailed review, has studied the literature and shows that best practices in SEO can be cost-effective and improve ranking but take time to come to fruition. In undertaking SEO with regards to the seven points above, it is possible to improve the quality of a website and ultimately boost traffic to the site.

However, in the age of social media a lot of the impetus for SEO has been lost as external microblogging and video sites take up a large proportion of user attention and distract from traditional web browsing. It is likely that the true state-of-the-art is perhaps not solely in SEO, but rather in driving traffic to one's social media in order to gain traction and reach and a secondary effect then being to nudge those users towards the website.

That said, it is worth pointing out that search engines remain the primary way in which many people continue to discover information online. Websites offer long-term visibility unlike the fleeting existence of a social media update. There is perhaps geater credibility and trust in a website than a 30-second video clip or 240-character update on social media.

SEO and social media can work synergistically with social media helping promote content, engage with users, and drive traffic to a website, while SEO ensures that the website ranks well on search engines to attract organic traffic.

Chen, J-C. (2023) 'State-of-the-art in the search engine optimisation world', EuroMed J. Management, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp.151–167.
DOI: 10.1504/EMJM.2023.10052565

According to research published in the International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics, talent management is crucial to the success of Turkey's container shipping industry. The study carried out by Ramazan Ozkan Yildiz, Sedat Bastug, and Soner Esmer of Iskenderun Technical University in Iskenderun, Hatay, Turkey, opens a porthole on practices and offers new insights for practitioners and researchers alike. The work suggests that understanding the local context and tailoring talent management practices can help attract, retain, and develop good people in a fiercely competitive industry.

The team carried out an extensive literature review, collected data, and undertook interviews to help them define talent management functions. Fundamentally, their work moves away from the conventional Western approach and opens up new channels for understanding the shipping industry in the context of a country that sits on an important axis between east and west. The research reveals that talent management in terms of recruitment and training, performance evaluation and career development are markedly different from their counterparts elsewhere. The differences arise through cultural norms, labour market dynamics, and regulatory requirements.

Talent acquisition and retention strategies have to be carefully crafted to ensure a skilled workforce that can navigate the complexities of global trade and meet the ever-evolving demands of customers around the globe. They have to focus on building specialist skills and knowledge in container handling, logistics operations, and supply chain management, all of which are critical to the success of the container shipping business.

The findings could have implications for companies beyond the container shipping industry in Turkey by allowing companies to see how they might adapt to the local context and go full steam ahead in their ventures.

Yildiz, R.O., Bastug, S. and Esmer, S. (2023) 'Talent management functions: a qualitative research on container shipping industry', Int. J. Shipping and Transport Logistics, Vol. 16, Nos. 3/4, pp.320–359.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSTL.2023.10049269

In the face of the climate crisis, which brings with it repeated extremes of weather around the world, new work in the International Journal of Economics and Business Research is timely. Research by Mulat Goshu Gebeyehu of the Department of Economics at Debre Markos University in Debre Markos Town, Amhara Region, Ethiopia, suggests that policymakers and agricultural experts should strive to increase the effectiveness of adaptation practices and introduce new options, infrastructure, and education to help protect rural households from the devastating effects of weather variability to preclude those households falling into chronic poverty.

It is now well recognised that climate shocks, such as droughts, can have a serious, detrimental, and sometimes lasting impact on those in poverty or close to poverty in the developing world. Ethiopia is a particularly vulnerable country in this respect, especially given that the nation's economy is underpinned almost entirely by agriculture, which, of course, goes through cycles of boom and bust following the extremes in weather. Those households with workers outside agriculture are to some extent protected from the whims of the weather, but there remains a need even for them to educate, support, and protect them from poverty.

Gebeyehu has examined the relationship between environmental stress, adaptation options, and poverty dynamics in Ethiopia. He analysed three years worth of data collected from 825 rural households in the Nile Basin of Ethiopia by the Ethiopian Development Research Institute's Environmental and Climate Research Center. Using a linear fixed effects model, he found that variability in the weather significantly affected welfare across those households.

Specifically, his analysis showed that an increase in average rainfall initially has a positive influence on per capita spending for a household. However, an extreme rise in average rainfall measured by a squared average rainfall negatively affects expenditure. He also revealed that anomalies in precipitation and temperature have an adverse effect on total per capita spending, and food expenditure.

Interestingly, an increase in average rainfall reduces the likelihood of households falling into transient poverty. In contrast, an increase in temperature increases the probability of a household falling into transient poverty and thence chronic poverty.

Gebeyehu, M.G. (2023) 'Who escapes from poverty? Understanding the link between environmental stress, adaptation choices and poverty dynamics in Ethiopia', Int. J. Economics and Business Research, Vol. 25, No. 3, pp.309–329.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEBR.2022.10038358

Research in the International Journal of Exergy has implications for the food and beverage industry, dieticians, and health-conscious consumers who are interested in the production and nutritional value of the fermented milk drink kefir.

Kefir is thought to have originated in the Caucasus region of Eastern Europe, it is made by fermenting milk with kefir grains, small, gelatinous clusters of bacteria and yeast. The drink is tangy and slightly fizzy with a creamy consistency similar to yogurt but with a distinct taste. The health benefits of kefir have been discussed for many years. It is a source of so-called probiotics, beneficial bacteria thought to support digestive health. It also contains protein, calcium, and other nutrients.

Mustafa Özilgen of the Department of Food Engineering at Yeditepe University in Istanbul, Turkey, has turned to the concept of exergy to study efficiency and cultivation in this organism with a view to optimising the growing media and food supply for the yeast to obtain maximum growth and the shortest period of time.

Exergy is a term from thermodynamics, related to energy, enthalpy, and entropy. It represents the maximum useful work that a system can do as it reaches equilibrium with its surroundings, taking into account thermal and mechanical components. It is usually described as a measure of the capacity of a system's energy to do useful work and is commonly discussed in the context of energy management, efficiency, and sustainability.

In this work, Özilgen evaluated how efficiently Kluyveromyces fragilis can be grown on different types of system containing one of the sugars glucose or lactose on an organic or minimally inorganic medium. He found that although the highest amount of cellular mass was produced in the complex organic media, the cultivation of K. fragilis was more exergy-efficient in the minimal inorganic media. This difference might be explained by a phenomenon known as the Crabtree effect. The Crabtree effect is seen in various yeast species and other microorganisms, where they exhibit reduced respiration and increased fermentation rates in the presence of high levels of glucose or other fermentable sugars. This leads to the preferential use of fermentation as a metabolic pathway for energy production, even in the presence of oxygen, which would otherwise be used for respiration, rather than the production of cellular mass.

In Özilgen's work, the Crabtree effect reduces exergy efficiency in the presence of glucose in organic media, but not with the minimal inorganic media. Indeed, the highest exergetic efficiency, a measure of how effectively energy is used, was 61.2% in the minimal inorganic medium with glucose, while the lowest efficiency of 24% was observed in the minimal organic medium with glucose. This would suggest that K. fragilis cultivation for use in kefir production would benefit from using glucose and minimal inorganic material in the culture medium to reduce overall energy costs. The drive towards sustainability in food production is important in the context of pollution and climate change. It might be suggested that is especially the case for foods aimed at improving health.

Özilgen, M. (2023) 'Exergetic growth efficiency of Kluyveromyces fragilis on complex organic and minimal inorganic media', Int. J. Exergy, Vol. 40, No. 3, pp.336–346.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEX.2023.10055055

Research in the International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics has used a novel, machine learning approach known as MGGP to rank and prioritize performance criteria in evaluating a country's logistics performance using the World Bank's Logistics Performance Index (LPI). The LPI itself consists of six different components that measure and rank international logistics performance. The components in question are: customs, infrastructure, ease of arranging shipments, quality of logistics services, tracking and tracing, timeliness.

The team from Turkey writing in an open-access paper in IJSTL, explain how the MGGP approach can build linear or nonlinear prediction models. The team used a selection of LPI datasets from 2010 to 2018 consisting of some 790 records to train their models and to test the predictions they can make against the other, non-training, datasets.

Bilal Babayigit and Feyza Gürbüz of Erciyes University and Berrin Denizhan of Sakarya University showed that the MGGP approach outperforms other methods in predicting the LPI score. Moreover, whereas previous tools have not examined the relative effects of each component of the LPI, this new approach reveals which components are most important.

The team discusses the six components in the following context:

Customs: The efficiency of border clearance. Infrastructure needed to clear customs and move goods. International shipments with respect to the simplicity of arranging competitively priced shipments. Logistics service quality that allows fulfilment by logistics service providers. Tracking and tracing to ensure the smooth flow of goods from source to destination. Timeliness, a measure of schedule and expected delivery time.

The team suggests that the predictions generated by MGGP could be an invaluable tool for policymakers and researchers in the logistics field charged with developing more effective logistics plans. The work could thus have important implications for global trade and economic development by allowing better-informed decision-making in logistics policy and planning to be made. This could lead to improved logistics performance at the international level and perhaps even reduce energy use and emissions.

Babayigit, B., Gürbüz, F. and Denizhan, B. (2023) 'Logistics performance index estimating with artificial intelligence', Int. J. Shipping and Transport Logistics, Vol. 16, Nos. 3/4, pp.360–371.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSTL.2022.10044449

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers to the multitude of connected devices and sensors used in industrial settings such as manufacturing plants, transportation systems, and energy grids. These devices can collect and exchange data with the goal of improving efficiency, productivity, and safety of the systems within which they are used and sometimes beyond.

IIoT devices are typically designed to monitor and control various aspects of industrial processes, such as machine performance, inventory levels, energy use, and environmental conditions. The data collected can be processed using conventional statistical tools or analyzed using artificial intelligence to detect trends and patterns and predict how changes in various parameters might change outcomes with a view to optimising the various industrial processes.

Overall, we can see the IIoT is an important part of the digitization and automation of industry, which is having an increasing impact on the economy and society.

But, there is an issue.

While the IIoT will be critical in making production more efficient and sustainable across various industries, it currently uses Wi-Fi for its connectivity (Standard IEEE 802.11), and Wi-Fi can consume a lot of energy because of the size of the data packets sent back and forth and the maximum transmission unit (MTU).

Researchers in Brazil have investigated data compression as a possible solution to this problem. Writing in the International Journal of Embedded Systems, the team describes two new methods they suggest can reduce significantly the amount of data sent by IIoT devices. Their methods use data compression to minimize the size of transmitted packets and the MTU. The first method involves using a customized binary Huffman-tree. This approach analyses the frequency of characters in a data stream and assigns a variable-length code to each in a way that minimizes the total number of bits required to represent the data. The second method utilizes a Lempel-Ziv-Welch algorithm with a flexible dictionary. This lossless data compression algorithm works by identifying repeated patterns or sequences of data in a given data stream and replaces those sequences with shorter codes.

The team's experiments with these compression techniques show that they can reduce energy consumption by 8% compared to existing solutions for IIoT. A manufacturing plant currently using an IIoT system might consume 1000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy each month. With the proposed data compression methods in place reducing energy consumption by 8% that might result in a monthly savings of around 1 megawatt-hour per year, the equivalent energy consumption of hundreds of typical homes in the developed world.

Silva, M.V., Mosca, E.E. and Gomes, R.L. (2022) 'Green industrial internet of things through data compression', Int. J. Embedded Systems, Vol. 15, No. 6, pp.457–466.
DOI: 10.1504/IJES.2022.10055057

Research in the International Journal of Sustainable Agricultural Management and Informatics has demonstrated how machine learning can be used to predict water quality index. The work could have implications for the future of water management in drinking water and agricultural use.

Falling water quality has been a cause for concern in recent years, with its impact on both human health and agricultural production drawing increased attention. Indeed, at the time of writing, pollution of rivers and coastal waters caused by inappropriate release of untreated sewage is high on the environmental agenda while agricultural issues concerning water security are always on the agenda.

Various factors, such as acidity and alkalinity, pH level, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, nitrate content, temperature, and the presence of faecal microbes, are used to determine water quality. It is therefore crucial to develop effective methods for forecasting water quality, in order to monitor and control pollution.

Ahmad Debow, Samaah Shweikani, and Kadan Aljoumaa of the Higher Institute for Applied Sciences and Technology (HIAST) in Damascus, Syria, have developed 4-stacked LSTM models for predicting WQI. A 4-stacked LSTM (Long Short-Term Memory) is a type of recurrent neural network that can find long-term patterns in data that changes over time. Such models having analyzed the data can then make predictions about how that data might change in the future. By stacking four LSTM layers on top of each other, the model is better able to find nuanced patterns in the data.

To prepare the data and select features for analysis, the team used different algorithms, including K-NN (K nearest neighbours) and annual mean. K-NN is a well-known algorithm used in machine learning for classification and regression tasks. It is a non-parametric algorithm, whic makes no assumptions about the underlying data distribution. The basic idea underpinning K-NN is to classify new data points based on similarities between nearest neighbours in the training dataset.

The team's success with these models in replicating known data bodes well for real-world predictions and could make an important contribution to water management efforts. It should allow more proactive measures to be taken to minimize pollution in the water supply for both human consumption and agricultural use based on the predictions the models make.

Debow, A., Shweikani, S. and Aljoumaa, K. (2023) 'Predicting and forecasting water quality using deep learning', Int. J. Sustainable Agricultural Management and Informatics, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp.114–135.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSAMI.2022.10051380

Medical personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential infectious disease control, something that has in pandemic times become very apparent. Governments and organizations in affected areas generally recommend the wearing of medical PPE, including surgical masks, gloves, and face shields, especially in crowded environments. However, ensuring that medical personnel in severely affected areas comply with the recommendations requires a means to monitor in real-time whether PPE is being used.

Writing in the International Journal of Sensor Networks, a team from China has developed a system based on machine learning that can detect whether personnel are wearing the requisite PPE. The approach uses deep neural networks (DNNs) to carry out object detection in real scenarios.

Jianlou Lou, Xiangyu Li, Guang Huo, Feng Liang, Zhaoyang Qu, and Ndagijimana Kwihangano Soleil of the Northeast Electric Power University in Jilin and Tianrui Lou of Guangzhou University have used two novel modules, the Deformable and Attention Residual with 50 layers (DAR50) feature extraction module, and the Criss-Cross Feature Pyramid Network (CCFPN) feature fusion module, in order to address the two key problems that have so far limited performance in PPE detection. They have thus overcome the issues of interference from background information and detection target scales that vary in size.

By combining the two modules, the researchers were able to create an bject detection network, Attention and Multi-Scale Fusion-based Regions with Convolution Neural Network (AMS R-CNN). Their tests with medical PPE and The Visual Object Classes Challenge 2007 (VOC 2007) datasets, showed their system to work better than various state-of-the-art methods.

The development of AMS R-CNN could benefit those managing medical professionals and help ensure that the PPE rules are being adhered to with a view to minimising the risk of infectious disease transmission. The medical staff who work in high-risk environments, such as hospitals and laboratories, will themselves benefit from increased protection from colleagues and so improve overall safety and also reduce risk to patients.

The work highlights the potential of deep neural networks to revolutionize the way we detect objects. Accuracy can only be improved with further advances n this technology.

Lou, J., Li, X., Huo, G., Liang, F., Qu, Z., Lou, T. and Soleil, N.K. (2023) 'Medical personal protective equipment detection based on attention mechanism and multi-scale fusion', Int. J. Sensor Networks, Vol. 41, No. 3, pp.189–203.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSNET.2022.10052844

Research in the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology has revealed a promising area of research for the management of phantom limb pain, a common experience for amputees that can be challenging to treat. The research focuses on transhumeral amputees, who are missing a significant portion of one or both of their arms.

Phantom limb pain is a phenomenon that occurs in people who have had a limb partially or wholly amputated. Despite the loss of the limb, individuals may experience sensations such as pain, itching, and tingling as if the missing limb is still part of their body. It can be a persistent and distressing condition that has a significant and detrimental impact on quality of life.

The study, conducted by a team of researchers from the United Kingdom has utilized human motor control theory and Penfield homunculus to provide a comprehensive review and new perspective on phantom limb sensations and pain, and the potential for therapy and prosthetics. Control experiments were undertaken in the clinic with intact individuals using ultrasound imaging along the bone of the upper arm, the humerus, while the participants were instructed to produce a variety of hand movements.

Human motor control theory focuses on how the brain and nervous system control movement in the body. It seeks to understand the processes and mechanisms involved in the planning, execution, and control of movement, ranging from simple actions such as reaching for an object to complex activities such as playing a musical instrument. The famous Penfield homunculus is a neurological "map" of the human body developed in the 1930s. It represents the regions of the brain that control movement and sensation for different body parts, with the hands and face represented in greater detail at greater scale.

Ejay Nsugbe of Nsugbe Research Labs in Swindon and radiologist Carol Phillips of the University Hospitals Bristol, UK, found that compound gesture motions that involve bulk muscular recruitment can be detected along the humerus. This discovery could have significant implications for clinical rehabilitation prosthetists, who can use these gestures to explore the mobility and sensation of phantom limbs. The work could have implications for individuals struggling with phantom limb pain and it could provide a new avenue for therapy as well as leading to improved design of prosthetic limbs to make them more responsive to the user's needs.

There are implications for developing more effective treatments for phantom limb pain, such as physical therapy or medication, which may improve the quality of life of amputees. Additionally, by gaining a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of phantom limb pain, researchers may be able to identify new targets for drug development, ultimately leading to better pain management for those experiencing this condition.

Nsugbe, E. and Philips, C. (2023) 'An insight into phantom sensation and the application of ultrasound imaging to the study of gesture motions for transhumeral prosthesis', Int. J. Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Vol. 41, No. 3, pp.258–271.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBET.2023.10055089

The Internet of Things (IoT) can be described as a loose network of physical devices that might be embedded with sensors, software, and connectivity. While a holistic view would see the IoT as being all the devices in the world with internet connectivity, it is often the case that these portable or remote devices are accessible within clusters or around hubs with specialist access and applications. Nevertheless, devices in the IoT can collect and exchange data with other devices or systems over the internet.

IoT devices can range from everyday consumer devices like smartphones, home appliances such as refrigerators, security cameras, and wearable monitors, and fitness devices, to industrial equipment and infrastructure in smart cities, factories, and transportation systems. The data generated by these objects can be analysed and used to gain insights, automate processes, and improve decision-making across various industries and domains.

Research in the International Journal of Cloud Computing, has looked at the need to improve technologies associated with database management in order to be able to better handle the large amounts of data generated by the IoT. The paper focuses on the use of IoT technology in the social and agricultural domains in rural sectors. In that context, there is a need for improvements that could benefit monitoring, farming conditions and practices. If it were possible to provide and implement adaptive, efficient remote and logistic operations using IoT devices, such as actuators and valves, then dynamic integration might be possible to improve various processes in farming, such as timely irrigation. This would allow savings on water, for instance, but also optimise irrigation to improve crop yields based on changing weather and other conditions.

The same analysis of IoT data might allow monitoring of pest activity and weed growth and so allow for more judicious application of pesticides and herbicides or even allow the farmer to avoid their use altogether by exploiting alternatives in a timely manner.

Zdzislaw Polkowski of the Jan Wyzykowski University in Polkowice, Poland, and colleagues in India, point out that there are many constraints and challenges facing farmers in the developing world. However, where technology can assist those in the developed world so too might it improve practices and conditions in the developing world.

Polkowski, Z., Mishra, S.K., Mishra, B.K., Borah, S. and Mohanty, A. (2023) 'Impact of internet of things in social and agricultural domains in rural sector: a case study', Int. J. Cloud Computing, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp.90–105.
DOI: 10.1504/IJCC.2023.10054989

Copper oxide nanoparticles might be used to provide an essential mineral nutrient to growing maize seedlings, according to work published in the International Journal of Nanotechnology.

Nanoparticles are tiny particles, which can range from 1 to 100 nanometres in diameter, sometimes a little bigger. Metallic nanoparticles smaller than 1 nanometre are considered to be atomic clusters. Particles exceeding 500 nanometres are usually thought of as microparticles, unless they are nanotubes or fibres, which can be longer, but are nanoscopic in cross-section. Being nanoscopic gives a particle unique properties when compared with atomic clusters or bigger particles. As such they have been researched extensively across many different sectors, including materials science, engineering, medicine, and agriculture.

Given that copper is an essential nutrient for plant growth, the idea that copper, or more specifically copper oxide, nanoparticles (CuO NPs) might have useful properties to help plants assimilate the mineral readily and so to grow better has been discussed. Physicist Ali Raza of the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan, and colleagues have investigated the effects of dosing the growing medium of maize seedlings with Cuo NPS. The researchers wanted to see how well the CuO NPs could enter and move through the plants, and if they would affect the growth of maize seedlings. They also needed to know whether this type of nanoparticle would be toxic. Metallic copper nanoparticles, as opposed to CuO NPs can have a positive effect on seed germination but are phytotoxic to growing wheat, Triticum aestivum, seedlings.

The basic conclusion from their study is that CuO NPs are taken up by the seedling roots and lead to improved growth over the course of eighteen days. The seedlings produce longer roots and shoots when dosed with CuO NPs, even at the relatively high concentration of 800 milligrams per litre of CuO NPs the nanoparticles were not toxic to the seedlings.

However, chlorophyll content fell and catalase activity decreased, which would ultimately have a deleterious effect on photosynthesis above that concentration. Samples dosed at 550 milligrams per litre (mg/l) showed a proportionately lower enhanced growth rate when compared to the 800 mg/l samples and against undosed control, suggesting a dose-related uptake at these concentrations.

The team suggests that the nanoparticles have a beneficial regulatory effect on enzyme activity in the seedlings, given that copper is a component or co-factor in many plant enzymes.

Raza, A., Ahmad, S., Mateen, A., Arshad, A., Rehman, A. and Oliveira, H.A.L. (2022) 'Effect of copper nanoparticles on growth parameters of maize seedlings', Int. J. Nanotechnol., Vol. 19, No. 12, pp.1143–1157.
DOI: 10.1504/IJNT.2022.10050410

Data privacy issues have come to the fore in the world of cloud computing and there has been something of a backlash against this burgeoning area in some quarters. However, there are many individuals and organisations that rely on it on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the laws around data privacy in cloud computing have not kept apace with the technology and are often unclear and contradictory. This problem needs to be addressed urgently according to researchers writing in the International Journal of Cloud Computing.

Alaeldin Alkhasawneh of the Department of Private Law at Yarmouk University in Jordan and also the Department of Private Law at UAEU University in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and Fawaz A. Khasawneh of the Department of Software Engineering and IT at the University of Quebec, Montreal, Canada, have explored the laws surrounding data privacy in cloud computing and identified several gaps in the legislation. The team offers several proposals as to how the laws might be improved to create a better experience and service for cloud consumers as well as increased protection for personal, sensitive, and private data.

Cloud computing is an essential service provided by many companies and used by many more. It offers various benefits to users by providing storage and computing services through remote servers rather than the user having to have their own on-site systems. There are costs, but the benefits of often distributed systems means that users within a multinational organisation can access those services anywhere in the world rather than overburdening a single-site server. Users of cloud computing might be private individual, small and medium-sized enterprises, governments and non-governmental organisations, as well as large companies and international corporate entities.

The team suggests that fundamentally cloud computing service providers should be required by law to take greater responsibility for the protection of their users' data. The team also suggests that the various local and regional laws need to work in concert to avoid contradictions and to allow cloud computing thrive without compromising the protections the various laws offer users.

Alkhasawneh, A. and Khasawneh, F.A. (2023) 'Legal issues of consumer privacy protection in the cloud computing environment: analytic study in GDPR, and USA legislations', Int. J. Cloud Computing, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp.40–62.
DOI: 10.1504/IJCC.2023.10054987

The concept of lifelong learning has been with humanity throughout history. There have always been those whose curiosity is forever piqued, who need new skills as they go through life, and those for whom change brings with it obstacles and opportunities that can be addressed with new knowledge. In the modern context, lifelong learning as a more formal concept and aspiration for society as a whole is probably newer, Indeed, we might see arguments for a new paradigm in learning beyond childhood and youth as emerging just 25 years ago or thereabouts. At that time, researchers began arguing for more innovative learning models that were personalized to those who wanted to learn and also giving these life students a chance to have a more active role in deciding what, when, and how to learn.

Writing in the International Journal of Grid and Utility Computing, a team from Spain discusses the current need for flexible, efficient, universal, and lifelong education especially given the rapid evolution of information and communications technologies.

Jordi Conesa, Montserrat Garcia-Alsina, Josep-Maria Batalla-Busquets, Beni Gómez-Zúñiga, María J. Martínez-Argüelles, Tona Monjo, and Enric Mor Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona and María Del Carmen Cruz Gil Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain, point out that lifelong learning needs to be integrated fully into society, but because it differs from regular learning in many ways, there are issues that must be addressed to allow this to happen, for the benefit of individuals and society as a whole.

It is worth noting, that lifelong learners are by definition older, and perhaps more mature, than those in conventional educational environments such as school and higher education. They may have much broader interests and have experience and skills that have not yet been achieved by younger learners. Lifelong learning may also work at many different levels and depths, not all lifelong learning will be aimed at passing exams or completing a dissertation to be presented to professors. Indeed, much lifelong learning may not be in any way vocational, it might not relate to work and could very well be more about family, leisure, sporting activities and other hobbies. Of course, for lifelong learners there is also the possibility of limited flexibility because of balancing commitments to home, work, and leisure, with that very learning.

As with many aspects of life, a personalised approach, tailored to fit the individual can be the most constructive way forward. Existing models of personalised learning have not yet been adapted to the needs of lifelong learners or society at large. The researchers have now examined the current state of lifelong learning, reviewed the relevant literature, and discussed the challenges we face in creating innovative electronic-learning models to promote self-determination life-students.

It is self-determination that is central to success for lifelong learners. It gives learners more control over how they are educated, and how they teach themselves, allowing them to make choices to fit their interests and goals better.

The team suggests that the development of innovative e-learning models that promote self-determination needs an interdisciplinary approach that brings expertise from education, psychology, technology, and other pertinent fields. Identifying the most effective ways to personalize learning and to develop appropriate tools and technologies is the way forward, for supporting self-directed learning, the team suggests. There is also a need to develop assessment frameworks to measure the efficacy of the personalized e-learning models being developed to ensure that they are working in the way the life-learners need and want them to work for them and for society.

Conesa, J., Garcia-Alsina, M., BatallaBusquets, J-M., Gómez-Zúñiga, B., Martínez-Argüelles, M.J., Monjo, T., Mor, E. and Cruz Gil, M.D.C. (2023) 'A vision about lifelong learning and its barriers', Int. J. Grid and Utility Computing, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp.62–71.
DOI: 10.1504/IJGUC.2023.10054826

Research from a team in India published in the International Journal of Public Sector Performance Management looks at the notion of "emotional intelligence" in the context of virtual teams. While it demonstrates an obvious relationship, the literature is still in the nascent stage and so precludes solid conclusions.

Anu Singh Lather of Ambedkar University in Delhi and Simran Kaur of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University are well aware that research into emotional intelligence and its effects in virtual teams is still in its infancy and so hoped to offer new insights through a systematic review of the research literature as it stands. Emotional intelligence refers to the ability of individuals to recognize and manage their own emotions, as well as to understand and effectively respond to the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence can be broken down into several key components, including self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

These components allow individuals to navigate complex social situations, build strong relationships with colleagues and stakeholders, and communicate effectively with others.

In the public sector, emotional intelligence is particularly important for managers and leaders, who need to be able to build trust and rapport with employees, collaborate effectively with other organizations, and respond to the needs and concerns of the public. By cultivating emotional intelligence, public sector employees can improve their ability to communicate, manage conflicts, and build strong, collaborative relationships with others, ultimately leading to more effective and efficient public services.

There is a wealth of information about how emotional intelligence affects our interactions in the "offline" world, but how it plays out in the virtual environments of online video conferencing, for instance, might well be different. Indeed, many virtual teams are built ad hoc and may exist only transiently unlike the more obvious teams present in the physical workplace. Even those virtual teams that are well-established and meet regularly will most likely have a very different dynamic to a team that meets face-to-face.

The team has reviewed a range of papers published during the first couple of decades of the 21st Century on the subject of emotional intelligence in virtual teams. They find that emotional intelligence is, of course, important. A relationship between virtual team performance and emotional intelligence of the team members was obvious from the research. However, there still remains a dearth of high-quality research published in this area and so we cannot yet extract a clear understanding of the factors that affect emotional intelligence in this online realm.

Given the pressures that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic, there will likely be research from the period following the team's original review that will fill some of the gaps in this research field in the coming months and years and provide new insights into the emotional intelligence of virtual teams. If, as they say, teamwork makes the dream work, then emotional intelligence is the back-end code to make the virtual team work.

Lather, A.S. and Kaur, S. (2023) 'Systematic review of emotional intelligence in virtual teams', Int. J. Public Sector Performance Management, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp.149–164.
DOI: 10.1504/IJPSPM.2023.10054876

Branding and image are usually something that those with something to sell are obsessed with. If you're marketing a product or service or even just touting your celebrity to gain traction, new opportunities, and lucrative endorsement contracts it is a given, you have to create a brand. So, why are so many consumers also obsessed with this idea of branding, of creating a personal brand, even when they have nothing to sell. Indeed, it is usually the opposite, they are following the marketers and the salespeople with a view to buying.

Writing in the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, a team from Germany has considered the notion of "My brand. My selfie"

Anne Mareike Flaswinkel, Markus Rump, and Reinhold Decker of the Department of Business Administration and Economics at Bielefeld University discuss how consumers often take brand-selfies. Photos of themselves with a brand for which they have a liking in close proximity, adorning their bodies, or otherwise prominently on display in the image. Given the modern wont for sharing anything and everything with all and sundry via the ubiquitous world of social media, brand-selfies and opinions can spread quickly. Indeed, it is this kind of activity that underpins something "going viral". Moreover, some consumers even position themselves as brand ambassadors and influencers with a view to gaining benefits associated with a given brand.

The team has carried out a cross-sectional study to identify brand identification as a strong predictor of consumer intention to portray themselves with a brand in a brand-selfie. They suggest that feelings of belonging and reward have a significant impact on such posts. The team has found a distinction between consumer motivations for posting brand-selfies and general selfies. They conclude that this kind of free marketing and advertising, for that is essentially what it is, has implications for marketers looking to incorporate selfie marketing into their marketing strategy.

"In an age when smartphones are an integral part of our daily lives, consumers are more reliant on information technology than ever before," the team writes. "Every day, an increasing number of people use social media and move around in the digital world. For many of us, the idea of life without technology is unfathomable." They add that their work could pave the way to a deeper understanding of the complexity of consumer motivations and offer suggestions on how marketers can benefit from brand-selfies and indeed encourage loyal consumers to increase their loyalty and activity in this context.

"Selfies [and brand-selfies] are a cultural phenomenon and a prevalent component of social media, and it remains relevant to understand why consumers display themselves with brands in such personal images," the team concludes.

Flaswinkel, A.M., Rump, M. and Decker, R. (2023) 'My brand, my self(ie) – why consumers portray themselves in brand-selfies', Int. J. Internet Marketing and Advertising, Vol. 18, Nos. 2/3, pp.310–334.
DOI: 10.1504/IJIMA.2022.10046943

What we might loosely refer to as artificial intelligence (AI) has become a part of our daily lives, from mobile phone voice assistants to self-driving cars. That said, many of the tools and technologies we refer to as AI, while seemingly intelligent are actually computer algorithms trained on large amounts of data to perform in a certain way. The chat bots and image generators that are frequently in the news are models that simulate neural networks to create apparently novel content from a prompt or question. We are certainly a long way from the sci-fi notion of artificial intelligence as meaning sentience in machines.

Nevertheless, researchers writing in the International Journal of Smart Technology and Learning have looked at how the concepts of artificial intelligence sit alongside what we perceive as human intelligence. We commonly think of the brain as being the most complicated object in the known universe. It is the result of billions of years of evolution, is self aware and capable of incredible creative and destructive thoughts all seemingly emerging from the interactions of billions of nerve cells within our so-called grey matter.

We know that human intelligence encompasses a wide range of abilities, including problem-solving, learning, creating new ideas, and remembering details…and critically being aware of all of this. In contrast, what we consider to be AI at this point in technological history is defined as systems that can perform tasks that are typically done by experienced humans or can be used to assist less experienced individuals perform certain tasks more efficiently. There is not yet any allusion to sentience in AI.

However, as AI becomes more and more sophisticated could it perhaps advance towards the notion of the singularity put forward by author Vernor Steffen Vinge and later discussed in depth by futurologist Ray Kurzweil? The singularity being the point at which technology does indeed become sentient and then perceives humanity itself as redundant to its wants and needs. As such, there are pressing ethical and moral questions to be answered in terms of whether AI will always be our helpful guide in so many tasks or whether it could eventually lead us to darker place from which humanity might not return.

Even experts in the field are uncertain about how to answer the questions. Of course, if history teaches us anything it is that regardless of whether we answer the moral questions, there will always be people willing to take us down the path that divides us morally and ethically.

In his paper, Jonathan Michael Spector of the Department of Learning Technologies at the College of Information at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, USA, points out that while the human brain may well be the product of millions of years of evolution and is highly adaptable to the "modern" problems we face and capable of finding solutions, physically it has changed very little in many millennia. We are born with the same physiology as our prehistoric ancestors, after all. By contrast, we are almost at the point where AI tools are beginning to improve other AI tools…which some observers see as the next step towards the technological singularity.

Spector hopes his article will trigger conversations about the future of AI and human intelligence. As we continue to develop and integrate AI into our lives, it is, he suggests, very important for us to consider the implications and impact it will have on us as individuals and as a society.

Spector, J.M. (2023) 'Human and artificial intelligence in education', Int. J. Smart Technology and Learning, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp.163–167.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSMARTTL.2023.10054697

Research in the International Journal of Vehicle Safety looks at the relationship between mobile phone addiction and road traffic accidents in two groups of drivers those who were involved in an accident and those who were not. The team surveyed 240 drivers about their mobile phone use, split between the two groups and found, perhaps obviously, that the drivers who revealed themselves to have an "addiction" to mobile phone use were more likely to have been injured in a road traffic accident than the ones who were not addicted.

Afarin Akhavan and Adel Ashrafi of the Department of Industrial Engineering at the Science and Arts University and Gholam Hossein Halvani, Moein Nemati, and Rohollah Fallah Madvari of the Department of Occupational Health Engineering at the Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences in Yazd, Iran, write that road traffic accidents are listed as the leading cause of death by the World Health Organisation with some 20 to 50 million people dying each year in such accidents.

The mortality rate in low-income countries is significantly higher than in richer nations. Iran suffers disproportionately from road traffic deaths, with an incidence of five times the global average. Increasing numbers of vehicles on our roads, changes in lifestyle and driving behaviour seem to be nudging those figures upwards each year. The team hoped to identify a relatively recent factor that may be contributing to the increasing number of deaths on the roads – mobile phone addiction – and focused on one of the regions in Iran, Khuzestan, where the accident rate is notably higher than elsewhere.

Given that earlier research suggests that 93 percent of accidents are caused by human behaviour rather than vehicle or road failure, with tiredness and distractions being responsible for many. Of course, the use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited in many places and limited to hands-free use, there is inevitably a large number of drivers who continue to use their devices despite the obvious risks. The demonstration of a direct link between mobile phone addiction and road traffic accidents points to the need for more research into this phenomenon and perhaps ways to combat mobile phone addiction, as well as the need to educate drivers who are users in an effort to reduce the deaths on Iranian roads and elsewhere.

Akhavan, A., Ashrafi, A., Halvani, G.H., Nemati, M. and Madvari, R.F. (2022) 'Relationship between mobile phone addiction and driving accidents in two groups of drivers with and without accidents', Int. J. Vehicle Safety, Vol. 12, Nos. 3/4, pp.344–352.
DOI: 10.1504/IJVS.2022.10054759

A new study in the International Journal of Intellectual Property Management, demonstrates how so-called artificial intelligence (AI) techniques can be used instead of conventional text analysis to disentangle information from a large body of work. Proof of principle was undertaken using a patents database and focusing on research and technologies utilising the field of quantum science. The specific case revealed interesting dynamics concerning global innovation and national organisational profiles pertaining to competition in this area between China and the USA.

Zeki Can Seskir of the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Kelvin W. Willoughby of the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, Germany, built an operating definition of quantum technology and then used AI to create a global patent database. The approach allowed them to extract pertinent information in this field that could be useful to policymakers and managers looking to understand international innovation in this field. The same approach might work just as well in other fields. The approach blended human analysis and AI processing of the body of work.

Billions of Euros and dollars are being ploughed into the burgeoning area of quantum technology with the aim of bringing discoveries and innovations "out of the lab and into the market".

Quantum technology (QT) refers to a broad range of emerging technologies that build on the principles of quantum mechanics to develop innovative and disruptive applications. Quantum mechanics is a field of physical science that emerged in the first half of the twentieth century as our understanding and experiments with atoms and their constituent parts as well as energy began to evolve. Many of the findings confound common sense and yet reveal themselves to represent a valid model of physical reality in many settings. Indeed, semiconductors, lasers, and transistors, and electronics in general rely on an understanding of quantum mechanics and as our understanding develops so too will the technology.

Quantum technology uses the often paradoxical properties of subatomic particles, such as superposition, entanglement, and wave-particle duality, to achieve things that cannot be done with classical systems based on earlier models of the subatomic realm. Examples of quantum technologies include quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum cryptography, quantum sensing, and quantum metrology, among others. Quantum technology could soon change the way in which finance, healthcare, energy, transportation, and security, are undertaken as well as leading to advances in science and engineering.

Seskir, Z.C. and Willoughby, K.W. (2023) 'Global innovation and competition in quantum technology, viewed through the lens of patents and artificial intelligence', Int. J. Intellectual Property Management, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp.40–61.
DOI: 10.1504/IJIPM.2021.10044326

Research in the International Journal of Services and Operations Management, has looked at the pharmaceutical industry in Jordan from the perspective of lean manufacturing practices and operations demonstrating that a lean approach can be beneficial to costs, speed, and reliability in the industry but does not apparently affect quality or innovation significantly.

The concept of lean operations is an approach to manufacturing that emphasizes the elimination of waste and the optimization of efficiency. It was first developed by the Toyota Motor Corporation in the 1950s and has since been adopted by many other manufacturers. The goal of lean operations is to create value for customers while minimizing waste, such as overproduction, defects, excess inventory, unnecessary movement, waiting, over-processing, and unused talent. A number of tools and techniques are used to facilitate lean operations, such as value stream mapping, continuous flow, pull systems, standard work, visual management, error-proofing, and continuous improvement.

Abdel-Aziz Ahmad Sharabati of the Business Faculty at the Middle East University in Amman, Jordan, surveyed 116 managers from 10 of 14 Jordanian pharmaceutical manufacturing organizations on how lean operations are used in their organisations. Alongside the above findings, the work also showed that lead-time, setup time, inspection time, and delivery time were significant factors in determining a company's competitive advantage, while inventory was not.

The work suggests that similar research might be usefully carried out in other industries across Jordan and in the pharmaceutical industry in other countries to see whether the findings are more widely applicable. In an increasingly globalised world, this research could help companies recognise what needs to be done to improve their competitive edge in the face of international competition. Of course, for the pharmaceutical industry itself, any such changes in practices and operations must also comply with regulations in the industry at the national and international level.

Sharabati, A-A.A. (2023) 'Lean operations and competitive advantage in the pharmaceutical industry', Int. J. Services and Operations Management, Vol. 44, No. 3, pp.293–316.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSOM.2023.129463

Crowdfunding is an approach to raising money to kickstart a project or business venture. It usually involves soliciting small contributions from a large number of people, often via the internet. The idea behind crowdfunding is that many people can pool their money together to support a project, which can make it possible for entrepreneurs, artists, and other creatives to get the funding they need to turn their ideas into reality. The supporters are often rewarded with early access to a product or service once it becomes available or exclusive rewards, such as special editions, signed versions, or attractive paraphernalia associated with the product or its creators.

The approach allows entrepreneurs and creatives to sidestep the traditional gatekeepers of funding, such as banks and venture capitalists. They can engage with potential investors who have an intrinsic interest in supporting innovative projects and ideas rather than simply looking for a return on a financial investment. Some supporters will even be keen to feel that they are part of a pioneering community around the venture. Another aspect of crowdfunding is that the supporters can give direct and invaluable feedback to the creatives and entrepreneurs about their offering.

Much of the research into crowdfunding that has been carried out over the years, focuses on how trust is established and maintained around the transactions and relationships. Writing in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, an international team considers that "recognition" rather than trust per se should be a focus of theoretical frameworks aimed at improving our understanding of the dynamics of crowdfunding.

Jack Wroldsen of the Orfalea College of Business at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, USA and Djamchid Assadi of the Burgundy School of Business, Campus Lyon, France, explain that recognition, or the sphere of solidarity, is what emphasises the mutual relationships and respect between entrepreneurs and supporters and how these translate into value for the former and meaning for the latter in the realm of crowdfunding. The team has undertaken several case studies to demonstrate where recognition is present or absent and how this impacts the outcomes of a given project. Overall, they suggest that the concept of recognition, rather than trust alone, provides a more accurate and holistic view of crowdfunding.

The team shows that recognition involves nurturing a reciprocal relationship of mutual respect, not simply maintaining trust. In the case study where the crowdfunding relationship was broken, they explain, it was not that erstwhile supporters lost trust in the venture it was that they were ultimately excluded from the community of collaborators, early-adopters, and developers that had built up around the product. They were no longer recognised.

Wroldsen, J. and Assadi, D. (2023) 'Trust is not recognition: an exploration of revolts in crowdfunding', Int. J. Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, Vol. 27, Nos. 1/2, pp.1–18.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEIM.2023.10054380

A review and meta-analysis of the appropriate research literature spanning 2010 to 2020, shows that social media has played a significant role in shaping government policies. The work is published in the publication Electronic Government, an International Journal.

Social media refers to websites and applications, mobile apps, that allow users to create, share, and exchange information and content with others in virtual communities and networks. The concept is often referred to as Web 2.0 to contrast it with Web 1.0, which largely involved the traditional model of users passively consuming the output from websites in much the same way as they had for generations of consumers of newspapers, magazines, radio and television broadcasts. Social media gained traction in the early 2000s, with platforms such as Myspace and Friendster, which quickly gathered users and demonstrated some of the potential of this new online realm.

It was not until the launch of Facebook in 2004 that social media began to revolutionize the way people communicate and connect online. Of the services that emerged at the time and soon after, several are still active and represent a large proportion of online activity for many people. These various services are often at the centre of controversial activity. During the period of 2010-2020, social media became even more pervasive and diverse, with platforms including Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat becoming so popular that they displaced conventional news and entertainment sources for many people.

Social media is used in a wide range of sectors, including politics, business, education, news, and entertainment. Politicians have frequently exploited social media to help them fulfill their agenda and aspirations. Businesses find new ways to engage with putative customers but occasionally also see the negative impact of going viral when their activities are controversial. The same happens for celebrities and others. In education, social media has been used as a tool for online learning and communication between students and teachers and was a boon during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, some aspects of social media use still retain their utility. In entertainment, social media has become a world of so-called influencers, a new breed of celebrity whose talents may not lie in the traditional fields of art, music, or acting, but nevertheless allow them to gather an audience around them, build a personal brand to whatever end they can imagine.

Now, Achmad Nurmandi, Herpita Wahyuni, Salahudin, and Isnaini Muallidin of the Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta in Indonesia, and Maria Dolores Guillamon of the University of Murcia in Spain used a method known as meta-modelling to process several hundred documents from the literature published in that decade-long period. They hoped to determine what researchers had found during the period regarding the influence of social media on public policymaking and governance through data acquisition, opinion tracking, fast data processing, and public opinion analysis and measurement. Critically, the work looked at the impact on scientific developments in social media and government policies.

The team writes that "The use of social media in various policymaking processes has had a significant effect." They add that "Open access can make public spaces understandable and help achieve common goals." They conclude that "Future research should examine approaches to making reliable policies and promoting transparency through social media."

Nurmandi, A., Wahyuni, H., Guillamon, M.D., Salahudin and Muallidin, I. (2023) 'Social media use for public policymaking cycle: a meta-analysis', Electronic Government, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp.123–145.
DOI: 10.1504/EG.2023.10044828

A nation's armed forces rely on personnel to defend that nation through their strength, determination, and ability to adapt to modern warfare whether their role is on land, sea, or in the air. In most countries, young recruits join the military willingly as a career choice. There are, of course, some countries that have national service, or conscription. This might also change in times of conflict. Those who sign up are generally well aware that their careers will have a duration that is far shorter than that of someone working in civilian life in general, unless of course, they rise through the ranks to the upper echelons of service, when retirement might come later.

Commonly military personnel will complete their service between the ages of 35 and 50, perhaps having joined when they reached adulthood or shortly thereafter. Civilian employment generally sees individuals reaching "retirement" age in their mid to late 60s, although that age varies considerably and in some places people tend to retire before they reach 60, in others, there is a push to raise the retirement age to 70 to ensure an active workforce in the face of an aging population.

Given the much younger retirement age of military personnel, there is generally a pressing need for those retiring from the armed forces to seek out a second career. These individuals are often highly skilled and disciplined and should be seen as a valuable, national asset with talents that can be used to allow them to earn a good living as well as play their part in society after their military service is complete. However, many veterans struggle to find appropriate second careers. This problem is often exacerbated by physical and mental health problems that may have arisen during active service, for example, in peacekeeping activities or war zones.

The issue of age at retirement can also be a problem for those leaving service later in life and hoping to jump into a new career when they may be many years older than others seeking training and employment in a given sector, such as construction or commercial driving.

A study in the International Journal of Society Systems Science by a team from the Mittal School of Business at the Lovely Professional University in Phagwara, Punjab, India, has looked at how strategies and principles might be developed to help ex-military personnel, veterans, determine their need and desire for a second career after military service and to assess those aspirations realistically.

The team of Sarabjit Singh Walia and Rajesh Verma suggest that their findings are crucial for society as a whole but in particular for helping veterans who have dedicated their lives to serving their country. The team highlights many of the challenges veterans face when transitioning from the military and finding themselves back on what is colloquially known as "civvy street", in civilian life, in other words. They highlight the need for support and resources to assist with this transition.

The team points out that employers may need education so that they can learn to recognize the value of taking on military veterans and so open up new opportunities where unique skills and experience can be used. Conversely, training for ex-military personnel that focuses on self-employment and entrepreneurship could be a focus for those who see a second career outside the realm of conventional employment.

The work looks specifically at the armed forces of India and reveals the differences in transition needs for those leaving the army, the navy, and the airforce. Although points out that, ultimately, all such personnel, once they change out of their uniforms find themselves in a similar position on civvy street. There is a pressing need to address society's shortcomings in order to help retiring military personnel make a successful transition from service back into civilian life.

Walia, S.S. and Verma, R. (2022) 'Second career – availability and aspirations of ex-servicemen', Int. J. Society Systems Science, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp.163–179.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSSS.2022.10054494

Research in the International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development shows that there is a gap between the environmental messages given to consumers in verbal or visual form and the perception of and trust in those messages and whether consumers recognise some of them as nothing more than greenwashing.

Greenwashing is a neologism that refers to the scurrilous actions of some companies or organisations using misleading marketing tactics to create a false impression that their products or services are environmentally friendly or sustainable when they are not. The term "greenwashing" is a play on the term "whitewashing," which refers to the practice of covering up or hiding negative information. Greenwashing is used to conceal unsustainable or environmentally harmful practices. If consumers recognise greenwashing, then the company's fake appeal to environmentally conscious consumers in order to gain a competitive advantage in the market will be stymied.

Kenny Basso, Jandir Pauli, Priscila Cerutti, Marcia Perin, Vitor Francisco Dalla Corte, and Leila Dal Moro in the Faculdade Meridional, IMED, Brazil carried out a single-factor experiment. In this experiment, participants were shown either text or image-based materials. The researchers found that those individuals exposed to the text format materials engaged with it far less than those exposed to an image. Indeed, those people presented with images were more likely to be suspicious of greenwashing than the text-only group because they were more likely to engage with the material.

The findings of this study highlight the need for consumers to be wary of greenwashing tactics used by companies. The use of images is more engaging and so makes it harder for greenwashing claims by unethical companies to be accepted by consumers.

As climate change and environmental problems continue to be pressing global issues, it is crucial that companies and consumers work together towards more sustainable practices. This study sheds light on the need for more transparent communication from companies, and the importance of consumers educating themselves and taking a proactive role in buying from companies that do not greenwash their products and services.

Basso, K., Pauli, J., Cerutti, P., Perin, M., Dalla Corte, V.F. and Moro, L.D. (2023) 'Greenwash, show your true colours: how verbal and visual messages influence consumers' perception?', Int. J. Environment and Sustainable Development, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp.210–225.
DOI: 10.1504/IJESD.2022.10044789

Work published in the International Journal of Business Innovation and Research offers a theoretical perspective on whether an innovative form of marketing is a double-edged sword for business owners who operate in the business-to-business, B2B, sphere.

In conventional marketing, businesses hope to profit from essentially one-time transactions and sales. There was a nod to customer loyalty, but on the whole, this was largely ignored as long as one-time sales kept rolling in. In today's world, there is an increasing push towards repeat transactions, brand awareness, and customer loyalty meaning ongoing sales and so profits. This so-called "relationship marketing" builds long-term relationships between one commercial concern and a business customer rather than focusing on those one-time transactions.

The obvious goal of relationship marketing is to establish a strong and lasting connection with customers through loyalty programs, personalized marketing campaigns, and customer service initiatives. The benefit to the company is almost guaranteed repeat business and an increase in word-of-mouth referrals to potential new customers thanks to the satisfaction of the loyal customer. The benefits to the loyal customer of the relationship are loyalty bonuses, better, more personal, service and communication regarding their purchases, as well as product offerings tailored to their needs and budget.

Deepika, Shashank Vikram Pratap Singh, and Mohinder Paul of the University of Delhi, India, suggest that this form of marketing for all its mutual benefits may have a dark side. It may be a win-win, but it could also be a double-edged sword. They offer a theoretical perspective on the downsides of this popular business strategy.

The researchers point out that relationship marketing can lead to negative outcomes between companies that adopt this strategy. Earlier research has perhaps ignored this aspect of the approach, but the team argues that it is an important area that deserves more attention. They suggest that there are two factors at play. The first is time – over time, a relationship can become routine and boring, losing the spark that made it special in the first place. The second factor is opportunism – when one partner has the chance to take advantage of the other, it can sour a positive relationship.

The researchers provide a framework for understanding the variables associated with relationship marketing. The positives of trust and commitment and the negatives of vulnerability, complacency, and suspicion. They argue that if a partner has the opportunity to engage in opportunism this can be detrimental to the relationship. Those positives soon become negatives and the relationship fails. The team suggests that, as with many other relationships, keeping the spark alive and avoiding complacency is key. They also suggest that while partners can, of course, be trusting of each other it is as well to be aware of the early signs of opportunism and cheating and to nip them in the bud for the sake of the relationship.

The team adds that future research might consider the other factors at play such as reduced vigilance, dependence, the quality of available alternatives, agent-specific knowledge, dissatisfaction, and lack of innovation. All of these factors can affect relationships between businesses buying and selling products and services from each other.

Deepika, Singh, S.V.P. and Paul, M. (2023) 'Does relationship marketing have a dark side? A theoretical perspective', Int. J. Business Innovation and Research, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp.389–406.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBIR.2021.10039539

Anxiety and depression are serious mental health problems that a growing number of people seem to be facing. These conditions can tragically lead to suicidal thoughts and actions. As such, new research in the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology is being undertaken to help find modern solution to help prevent such tragic outcomes. The work focuses on how machine learning might be used to identify patients who may be at risk of suicide and allow interventions to be made in a timely manner.

According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 700,000 die by suicide each year. That represents more than one person every minute. Many more people attempt suicide and the WHO suggests that a prior attempt is ultimately the biggest risk factor for suicide. Suicide is a multidimensional disorder that arises from the interaction between biological, genetic, psychological, sociological, and environmental factors. In places where mental health services are not readily available, people at risk often see a physician rather than a psychiatrist. Research has shown that between one in five and three in five of people who commit suicide had seen a physician in the month prior to their death.

Anju Bhandari Gandhi and Devendra Prasad of the Panipat Institute of Engineering and Technology in Haryana, Umesh Kumar Lilhore and Sarita Simaiya of Chandigarh University in Gharuan Mohali, Punjab, and Deepak Kumar Verma of the Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University in Kanpur Uttar Pradesh, India, have investigated how computer algorithms can be used to analyze data from patients suffering from anxiety and stress. They compared several different types of algorithms to see which might be best suited to predicting suicidal behaviour based on the patient data.

The results are promising. The team explains that the random forest algorithm was able to predict with 95% accuracy which patients were at risk for suicide. This kind of analysis could be used to screen patients more efficiently, helping healthcare workers identify those who need help the most sooner rather than when it is too late. As healthcare workers continue to face increasing complexity and limited time, it is important to find innovative ways to identify problems. The WHO points out that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds. The team's algorithmic approach to risk assessment based on monitoring anxiety levels works equally well for youngsters as it does for older people.

Obviously, software can never replace one-to-one care, but if it can reveal issues that might not be immediately apparent to a healthcare worker and flag problems early, then the healthcare worker might be in a better position to make a timely intervention and so save lives.

Gandhi, A.B., Prasad, D., Lilhore, U.K., Verma, D.K. and Simaiya, S. (2023) 'Suicidal behaviour screening using machine learning techniques', Int. J. Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Vol. 41, No. 2, pp.111–125.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBET.2023.10054322

Research in the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology takes a new look at the problem of treating hypothermia in pre-term infants.

Babies born pre-term often have low birth weight and lose body heat very quickly because of inadequate deposits of insulating subcutaneous fat. As their core temperature falls it can drop below physiologically tolerable levels leading to cold stress and ultimately hypothermia.

Sarath S. Nair and D.S. Nagesh of the Biomedical Technology Wing at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), in Kerala, India describe a much-improved approach to providing pre-term infants with a thermally neutral environment that can help them maintain body temperature. The approach exploits the potent thermal insulating properties of polyethylene sheets filled with polyurethane foam in which infrared light emitting diodes (LEDs) can be embedded.

The team's bench-top tests show that the heating-insulating device they have developed takes just fifteen minutes, on average, to reach an optimal temperature and can keep a baby warm for more than 24 hours and help it maintain its core temperature in the normal range of between 36.5 to 37.7 degrees Celsius. The team has successfully tested their LED baby warmer for reliability over a three-month period, just over, in fact, 100 days. This timescale is long enough for an otherwise healthy baby to thrive and gain sufficient weight and fat beneath the skin to eventually no longer need the LED baby-warmer. The team says the device also meets international efficacy, safety, and performance standards.

Such a device will be a boon in those parts of the world where costly baby incubators are not so readily available and where heating costs may well be prohibitive for their ongoing use.

"The absence of direct heating by electric current, hot water and air provides enhanced safety when compared to conventional infant warmers," the team writes. They add that the device is inexpensive, portable and can run on a portable battery rather than being mains powered. The heating pad is watertight and easily cleaned. A cotton outer cover is also readily washable. The team foresees their LED baby-warmer as being useful in transporting pre-term babies in hospital from station to station of whatever assessments and treatments they need until they can be discharged to their home.

Nair, S.S. and Nagesh, D.S. (2023) 'Thermo regulated infant warming wrapper with infrared light emitting diodes for prevention of hypothermia in preterm low birth weight babies', Int. J. Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Vol. 41, No. 2, pp.145–167.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBET.2023.10054324

Writing in the International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, a team from the Dayalbagh Educational Institute in Agra, India, have taken the view that social media addiction is a growing problem worth examination in a serious medical context and have shown that mindfulness might be used to improve user self-esteem even if those users continue in their extensive use of such online tools.

Terms such as "addiction" and "dependency" have specific definitions in medicine but are often used more broadly in discussions of behaviour that may be problematic but do not necessarily meet the clinical criteria for addiction. However, there is evidence of problematic behaviour among many individuals who utilise social media on their computers and mobile devices.

Kajul Bharti and Akshay Kumar Satsangi suggest that this type of addiction is already leading to serious concerns about the well-being and mental health of many social media users. The team reports on a study involving 288 participants who were selected by snowball sampling. Snowball sampling, often referred to as chain sampling, chain-referral sampling, or referral sampling, involves initial recruits to a trial or study recruiting future subjects from among their acquaintances. While the approach can suffer from biases because of the way the sample builds up, it is commonly used in sociology research of hidden populations, such as drug users or sex workers, and in this case, social media addicts, because it is usually very difficult to recruit people from such groups randomly.

These findings have important implications for social media users and society as a whole and emphasize once more the need for further research in this area. The team points out that the concepts of mindfulness, being present in the moment, self-esteem, or recognising one's own worth, are both important factors that might influence how social media addiction could affect psychological outcomes for users.

The researchers used confirmatory factor analysis and path analysis to analyze the results from their snowball sample. They found that social media addiction does indeed have a direct impact on self-esteem, regardless of whether a person is aware of mindfulness or not. However, mindfulness can have a partially mediating effect and so is a recommended practice to reduce any negative impacts of social media addiction on self-esteem.

The team adds that future work should adopt a cross-sectional design to provide further evidence that mindfulness can overcome the problems of social media addiction. Mindfulness, the team suggests, can free up one's thoughts regarding such behaviour so that while one might continue to be a frequent user of social media there is less detrimental impact on one's mental well-being and self-esteem as one can become better equipped to shrug off the pressures of online peers and influencers. Ultimately, for users with a problem, mindfulness could be used to allow them to control their social media use rather than it control them.

Bharti, K. and Satsangi, A.K. (2023) 'Role of social media addiction on self-esteem and mediating effect of mindfulness', Int. J. Management Concepts and Philosophy, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp.160–174.
DOI: 10.1504/IJMCP.2022.10053345

A research paper in the International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education has taken a structured approach to comparing monetary theories. In it the team proposes a taxonomy, a classification, for comparing monetary theories based on their primary monetary function. The work is pertinent in the wake of the 2007/2008 financial crisis as monetary systems face increased scrutiny, and rightly so.

The work explores four lines of thought: 'store-of-value', 'medium-of-exchange', 'means-of-payment', and 'unit-of-account', and has applied them to historical examples in their paper. Store-of-value refers to the function of money as a means of preserving the value of purchasing power over time. Medium-of-exchange refers to the function of money as a widely accepted intermediary in the exchange of goods and services. Means-of-payment emphasizes the active role of money as allowing debts to be settled and obligations to be fulfilled. Unit-of-account refers to the function of money as a standard of measurement or unit of value in which prices, wages, and other economic values are expressed.

It is perhaps obvious that no single taxonomy can encompass all monetary theories, Jan Greitens of Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart, Germany, explains the classification based on those four lines of thought.

"According to the 'store-of-value' line of thought, the conservation of purchasing power is the most relevant function," he writes. "The 'medium-of-exchange' line of thought maintains a stable monetary value in the circulation of goods and services." Greitens then adds that "The 'means-of-payment' line of thought emphasises an active role of money and the possible influence of the society on money and the economy." Finally, he explains that "In contrast, the 'unit-of-account' line of thought reduces money to a passive role, adjusting elastically to the needs of the real economy."

Greitens points out that in order to better understand monetary systems, we cannot read such a taxonomy as being a chronological representation of change, an evolution. There is no progress, he asserts. Instead, all of the lines of thought outlined in his study continue into the present world of money.

Greitens, J. (2022) 'A structured approach for comparing monetary theories', Int. J. Pluralism and Economics Education, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp.262–276.
DOI: 10.1504/IJPEE.2022.10051865

Researchers writing in the International Journal of Critical Infrastructures discuss the potential engineering solutions for building a submarine tunnel as part of a future transport infrastructure.

A submerged, but floating, tunnel could be the answer to linking infrastructure between places separated by bodies of water. The approach precludes the need for digging the tunnel beneath the floor of the body of water, whether river, lake, or sea. However, the engineering requirements are immense and any such structure must be stable to current and corrosion as well as freak incidents such as tsunami.

Sahil Rana and M. Abdul Akbar of the Department of Civil Engineering at the Dr. B R Ambedkar National Institute of Technology in Jalandhar, Punjab, India, point out that there have been proposals for submerged, floating tunnels in the past. Current computer-aided design and software can simulate the stresses and strains a civil engineering structure might experience in the real world under different conditions. This means it should now be possible to determine whether a given design and siting is feasible.

The team has undertaken a comprehensive review of the various engineering analyses so far performed on putative submerged floating tunnels. The review covers work from this multidisciplinary domain of transportation engineers, geotechnical engineers, offshore engineers, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, and others. The researchers have also reviewed the different policy-based conclusions regarding this novel transport technology. Their conclusion is that such tunnels will ultimately revolutionise connectivity and transportation. Such tunnels could have a major impact on joining island clusters, for instance, or connecting regions where a spanning bridge would be inappropriate or impossible.

They point out that there are not yet and standard ways to look at submerged floating tunnels and much work needs to be done in terms of anchorages and tethers as well as understanding the response of such tunnels in use in a body of water. The team adds that the impact of such potentially enormous structures on aquatic life, particularly large organisms must also be considered be these tunnels are launched.

Rana, S. and Akbar, M.A. (2023) 'A review of research developments on submerged floating tunnel', Int. J. Critical Infrastructures, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp.58–78.
DOI: 10.1504/IJCIS.2023.10038938

In the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and in preparation for future crises, there is a need to improve the way in which medical appointments are scheduled and which ones can readily be carried out online rather than in the doctor's office. Work in the International Journal of Industrial and Systems Engineering, suggests that virtual appointments can be a viable alternative to face-to-face consultations in many instances. This is particularly the case when a follow-up consultation is required that does not require a physical examination, samples, tests, or scans.

Xiao Yu and Armagan Bayram of the Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at the University of Michigan at Dearborn in Dearborn, Michigan, USA, explain how virtual healthcare appointments can be a cost-effective alternative to the conventional visit and patients can receive essential care remotely. This offers benefits to both provider and patient in terms of time and effort consumed as well as reducing the risk of acquired infections.

The team points out that scheduling virtual appointments within a busy schedule of face-face appointments and ensuring that healthcare providers and patients are truly benefiting from the online experience is difficult. The team has developed an open migration network to simulate the flow of patients through a clinic. They have then used this to model mathematically the optimal follow-up rates, the revisit intervals, in other words, for both virtual and office appointments. With such a model in hand, the team suggests that managers in a healthcare provision setting should be able to make decisions in a more systematic manner in terms of how frequently patients in long-term, chronic, healthcare situations need to be seen in the flesh, as it were, or virtually.

Approximately half of the population of the USA lives with a chronic disease and similar figures are seen elsewhere in the developed world. As such, effective disease management can improve the quality of life for millions of people as well as allowing them to minimise symptoms or the very least cope better with their condition. Virtual appointments can be integrated into such management, reducing the number of trips to the doctor's office a patient needs to take, thus saving them inconvenience, anxiety, and costs. Virtual appointments might also reduce the risk of incident or accident or indeed the risk of a patient acquiring a troublesome infection from a third party en route to and from and at the doctor's office, a point that remains significant in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Yu, X. and Bayram, A. (2023) 'Optimising patient revisit intervals for virtual and office appointments in chronic care', Int. J. Industrial and Systems Engineering, Vol. 43, No. 3, pp.363–383.
DOI: 10.1504/IJISE.2021.10040234

Acoustic communication through water is well known in many species of sea creature, whales, dolphins and other cetaceans, perhaps being the best known examples. But, crustaceans and fish too often communicate through water with sound. People have used sonar, sound navigation and ranging, since the time of Leonardo da Vinci who first described an acoustic listening technique in 1490. Modern, active sonar methods are, of course, far more sophisticated than his passive technique.

Now, research in the International Journal of Intelligent Internet of Things Computing discusses an acoustic communications system akin to sending an underwater email. Md. Aktarul Hasan and Shen Wei of the School of Informatics at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, Hangzhou, China, and colleague Yubo Peng of the Zhejiang Province E-commerce Promotion Centre demonstrate proof of concept for an acoustic communications device based on based on Arduino controllers.

In their system a piezo-electric transducer acts as a speaker to produce a low-frequency signal. At the receiver end of the "channel" the same type of piezo-electric transducer is used as a microphone to detect the incoming signal. The team has shown that within a 1 to 3 kilohertz (kHz) band, they can transmit and receive information at a rate of 200 bits per second acoustically through water and were able to send the requisite information from a web page, converted into Morse code, through the water that could then be decoded and the information used to display the page on a computer at the receiving end. The system is built on the TCP/IP internet protocal. The working distance between transmitter and receiver can be be up to 25 metres with the current setup. The team adds that improvements in the technology could increase the range of their system considerably making it much more useful.

The team suggests that their battery-powered system could be run from a small boat. They point out that the basic demonstration of transmitting a web page suggests that simple "wireless" telemetry and remote control of underwater devices should now be possible.

Hasan, M.A., Peng, Y. and Wei, S. (2022) 'Underwater wireless communication using TCP/IP', Int. J. Intelligent Internet of Things Computing, Vol. 1, No. 4, pp.273–286.
DOI: 10.1504/IJIITC.2023.10048055

Writing in the International Journal of System of Systems Engineering, a team from India discusses the use of a smart utility tool called GreenNotes. This tool, the researchers explain, can be used to keep track of regular goals in the 21st century for smart cities and people.

Rohit Rastogi, Karan Budhwani, and Harsh Mittal of the Department of CSE at ABES Engineering College in Ghaziabad, point out that GreenNotes is a small piece of software that is run as a plugin, or extension, in one's web browser, and hooks into the cloud. Cloud accessibility can improve the portability of an application as well as open up the possibility of using it as a collaborative tool. GreenNotes, the team says, allows users to quickly take notes as well as carry out voice-to-text conversions, thus acting as a modern spin on a dictation machine. The extension also has a built-in reminder tool. The team points out that it uses the freemium model wherein the basic functionality is available at no cost, but premium features can be purchased within the Chrome browser.

The team has reviewed other related browser extensions to reveal their pros and cons and compare them with those of GreenNotes to good effect. One benefit is soft-deletion, so that I note can be sent reversibly to a recycling bin rather than being permanently deleted in the first instance. The extension also offers a WYSIWYG option which isn't used by all rival extensions. It has a markdown editing feature, which again, is not present in other available extensions. The voice-to-text option is unique among the extensions surveyed. A mobile version of the desktop browser extension is in development.

Rastogi, R., Budhwani, K. and Mittal, H. (2023) 'GreenNotes: a smart utility tool to keep track of regular goals in the 21st century for smart cities and people', Int. J. System of Systems Engineering, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp.1–29.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSSE.2023.10053192

Research published in the International Journal of Green Economics has investigated the many factors that affect consumer attitudes and buying habits when it comes to organic food products. Mohd Farhan of the Mittal School of Business in Punjab, India, suggests that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led many consumers to become more aware of how the nutritional quality of the food they eat affects their health. This has led to an increased awareness of organic food products.

Farhan surveyed 600 people in India and Nepal to ascertain how food habits and consumption patterns have changed recently. He analysed the data using Smart Partial Least Squares and Mann-Whitney tests.

The analyses revealed that safety, awareness, and trust had a positive impact on a person's inclination to consume organic food as opposed to other food products. Farhan also showed that the perceived health benefits as well as hedonic and social values were found to influence consumer attitudes towards organic food in a positive manner. This inevitably led to those consumers being more likely to buy organic food products. The findings highlight the importance of awareness and education with regard to organic food. It is likely that demand will continue to rise in the next few years and producers and sellers need to be aware of this in order to benefit from improved awareness among their potential customers and to find ways to meet increasing demand.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought health issues to the fore the world over and many people are looking for healthier food options as part of their approach to coping with the risks surrounding the disease. Of course, it might be argued that the benefits of organic versus non-organic food products may not be as significant as is often claimed. Nevertheless, increased food and health awareness and education will always be beneficial and those people opting for organic foods may also make other changes to their eating habits and lifestyle in the name of improving their health that will have additional, more tangible benefits.

The producers and marketers of organic foods must demonstrate the benefits of their produce honestly and show that the generally higher price is offset by associated improved health and environmental factors.

Farhan, M. (2022) 'Organic food consumption in emerging markets after COVID-19: value-attitude-behaviour model', Int. J. Green Economics, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp.294–311.
DOI: 10.1504/IJGE.2022.10053419

There is growing evidence that much of the material on the internet is entirely fake. This is perhaps well-known. Indeed, there is also equally compelling evidence that a huge number of the people on the internet are fake too. Much of the engagement and virality of content on social media and elsewhere being nothing but automated bot activity and click farms. Much of it is done as part of promoting misinformation for a political agenda and a lot of it is done to scam advertisers into imagining their paid ads are being seen by real people.

However, in the perhaps more mundane world of actual users, searching for information about products and services in which they are interested there is a need to be able detect fake reviews. A review in the International Journal of Intelligent Engineering Informatics, has taken a look at the approaches to detecting deceptive reviews. One recent analysis suggests that two-thirds of customer evalutions, or reviews, of products sold on a major e-commerce site are fake. These fake reviews not only distort the average opinion for a given product, often boosting a low number of "stars" for a shoddy product to make it a more saleable five-star item, but also boost the seller's overall profile illicitly too.

Rajdavinder Singh Boparai and Rekha Bhatia of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Punjabi University in Patiala, Punjab, India, discuss the state-of-the-art in research into this problem. They also survey the various AI, artificial intelligence, machine-learning tools aimed at flagging non-genuine reviews on commercial websites. The team reveals the gaps in the research literature as well as the limitations of the current tools and points to how those gaps might be plugged.

Deceptive reviews can have myriad sources and authors making it difficult to home in on a particular writing style as fake. A significant gap in current research and tools that might be filled by future research would see the development of a more representative model that would be generic, capable, and portable and be able to quickly and accurately flag as fake deceptive reviews based on real-world data. Given the recent public advent of so-called language models and tools, it is likely that we will see more and more fake reviews online. However, the very tools that generate such deceptive content might also be used to detect its presence. We will inevitably see a game of cat and mouse between the e-commerce sites and the fakers and caught in the middle will be the consumers looking for a decent product at a good price.

Boparai, R.S. and Bhatia, R. (2022) 'Deceptive web-review detection strategies: a survey', Int. J. Intelligent Engineering Informatics, Vol. 10, No. 5, pp.411–433.
DOI: 10.1504/IJIEI.2022.10053698

Research published in the International Journal of Intelligent Engineering Informatics, investigates how information can be hidden in a type of sound file, known as a wav file, a technique known as audio steganography.

Steganography has been used for thousands of years to hide information. A message written in so-called "invisible ink" is a primitive example of steganography. In the computer age, information has been hidden in text, image, and audio files without leaving any visible or noticeable changes. Steganography involves concealing the information as well as the existence of that information so that only the intended recipient can find it.

Audio steganography is usually considered a cost-effective means to encrypt data over a network, as it has low noise distortion and can generally be embedded without being detectable. R. Ramyadevi and V. Poornima of the Department of Computer Science at the SRM Institute of Science and Technology in Tamil Nadu, India, have estimated the maximum number of characters, numbers, letters, and other symbols, that might be added to an audio file without altering its structure. But more importantly they have looked at the limit on audible distortion and disturbance of the bit rate when the file is played as a normal sound file on a media player. If there is obvious distortion, then the fact that the file was being used for audio steganography might be more apparent to a third party. The wav, known formally as the waveform audio file format, was developed in 1991 by IBM and Microsoft and is widely used on personal computers and other devices.

The team's study shows that accuracy can be improved at low embedding levels and deliver an optimal peak signal-to-noise ratio while obfuscating information if the first, second, and third least significant bits (LSBs) of the audio file are employed in the steganographic processing. The team compared 8-bit and 16-bit pulse-code modulation (PCM) audio and used mean square error (MSE), mean absolute error (MAE), signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and cross-correlation analysis to identify hidden text data within a given audio stream. The team writes that a 16-bit stereo wav file can carry just over 30000 characters with spaces without the presence of that added information being detectable to a third part unaware of its presence in the file. An 8-bit mono wav file can carry more than 8000 characters with spaces.

If the first three LSBs were used accuracy was 98 percent and a false alarm rate of less than 5 percent was seen. Of course, the robustness of the hidden message within the audio file is affected by the length of the text message that is hidden, the team reports. More added information would be more obvious to a third party checking files for this kind of message obfuscation in a collection of sound files.

Ramyadevi, R. and Poornima, V. (2022) 'Utilisation of audible steganography to organise and analyse the text within WAV files', Int. J. Intelligent Engineering Informatics, Vol. 10, No. 5, pp.397–410.
DOI: 10.1504/IJIEI.2022.10053658

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected investment in climate change initiatives in the developing world? New research in the International Journal of Green Economics, focuses on the impact of the disease on such investment in India.

Peeyush Bangur of the Women's Institute for Studies in Development Oriented Management (WISDOM) in Rajasthan used the GARCH (1,1) model to examine India's CARBONEX index and found that there was, as one might have anticipated, increased volatility in this investment realm during the pandemic. Indeed, there was an increase in variance of almost 150% according to Bangur's analysis. The findings have important implications for investment returns as well as the response to climate change showing that confidence in climate investment fell during the height of the pandemic. The work may help guide the future investment response when we face another pandemic.

Anthropogenic carbon emissions are driving climate change. The effects in coming years will likely be devastating, particularly for those already living at the extremes. Unfortunately, the common societal model around the world involves economic growth and this comes at a price in terms of resources used and pollution generated. If we are to address the problems we face, we need to co-opt the paradigm of economic growth to help us reduce emissions, lower our reliance on unsustainable resources, and tackle climate change.

Carbon emissions trading, investment in sustainable technologies and renewables are at the forefront of this. The S&P BSE CARBONEX of India was the first carbon-based thematic index and was launched in November 2012 with phased support from the British High Commission in India. This index reflects investment in the green economy. Bangur suggests that "investors, company managers, regulators, academics, and government officials may benefit from the study's findings." He adds that green investment will return in the post-pandemic world "The implications of volatility may serve as a guide for launching the initial policy action in the event of subsequent instances of a similar nature," he says.

Bangur, P. (2022) 'Climate change investing and COVID-19: evidence from return volatility', Int. J. Green Economics, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp.235–245.
DOI: 10.1504/IJGE.2022.10053454

Customer loyalty can be a key component of ongoing business success, especially in a market with lots of rivals and a limited number of potential customers. Business must be involved in ongoing research in order to know what works to retain customers in ever-changing markets. In particular, determining what incentives might work to improve customer loyalty can be key.

The loyalty card system is perhaps the most well-known incentive programs that rewards loyalty and purportedly improves repeat business. The basic concept is that customers sign up to the program and are reward when they make repeat purchases or engage with the business in other ways, such as by referring friends, leaving reviews, or following the business on social media. Commonly they earn points on their card for various activities and these can be exchanged for in-store discounts, free gifts, or even vouchers or coupons that can be redeemed at associated outlets, such as restaurants, cinemas, or even holiday companies and theme parks. The specific rewards and incentives a company offers to its loyal customers vary widely, depending on the type of business and the preferences of the target audience. Some businesses use physical cards that are scanned at the point of purchase, others encourage their customers to download a mobile phone app.

Of course, there is also the advantage to the business of not only retaining customers but learning more about their buying habits and other activities linked to use of the loyalty card. Tracking activity gives businesses invaluable information on customer behaviour so they can be tarhets more effectively through marketing campaigns.

A study in the International Journal of Business Innovation and Research looked at the various factors that led customers to shop at two outlets in India Ondoor and Reliance Fresh, and to uncover whether loyalty cards had a role to play in customer retention. Nyagarama Omboga Thomas and Sapna Singh of the Department of Management at SRK University in Bhopal and Mohit Gangwar of Bhabha University also in Bhopal, used a descriptive survey research design to collect data via questionnaire.

The researchers' analysis of the data revealed that there were many factors that had on influence on the purchasing choices of customers, including product availability, brand variety, the atmosphere of the given outlet, return policy, price, service, promotions, and store location. But, the businesses' loyalty card programs had a strong impact on those customers who were signed up with the program.

Thomas, N.O., Singh, S. and Gangwar, M. (2023) 'Customer retention using loyalty cards program', Int. J. Business Innovation and Research, Vol. 30, No. 2, pp.200–217.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBIR.2021.10038500

The role of higher education in driving economic growth and development is recognised the world over. The existence of a skilled workforce drives innovation and economic growth, while educated citizens can contribute to the development of society. In addition, higher education can help to produce the critical mass of skilled workers required for sustained economic growth.

However, recent economic challenges have widened funding gaps in higher education, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where higher education is largely funded by the government, with minimal contribution from the learners themselves or their parents. The recognition of this underscores the need for higher education establishments to diversify their income streams to support their work.

Emmanuel Botlhale of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Botswana in Gaborone suggests that addressing the chronic funding gaps in Botswana's higher education sector needs a deep exploration of alternative income-generation options. Writing in the International Journal of Higher Education and Sustainability, he discusses the many approaches that might be implemented to boost income sources. This might include rebranding of courses to make them more appealing to prospective students, collaborations between town and gown (the non-academic locals and businesses and the academics), the sale of university bonds, public-private partnerships in education, and the development of entrepreneurial universities that nurture spin-off companies the intellectual property, products, and services of which, can generate revenue for the institution.

Income stream diversification could fill the chronic funding gaps in higher education in Botswana and other SSA countries that have grown since 2007 and in particular because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Diversification and the development of third-stream incomes beyond tuition fees should reduce an institution's dependence on public resources and provide a more sustainable future. The policy suggestions made by Botlhale are perhaps tailored to higher education in Botswana, but he suggests that the suggestions if adopted elsewhere will need fine-tuning to the particular national context in other SSA nations.

Botlhale, E. (2022) 'Diversifying income streams in public higher education institutions in Botswana', Int. J. Higher Education and Sustainability, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp.97–114.
DOI: 10.1504/IJHES.2022.10050601

For many years wind power, solar power, tidal power and many other sustainable solutions to electricity generation have been in place. But, what about harvesting the energy of human traffic on city streets and other environments?

Research published in the International Journal of Biomechatronics and Biomedical Robotics demonstrates how the energy of footfall from people simply going about their business on the streets, in shopping malls, the workplace, and elsewhere might be harvested to generate electricity without affecting how people walk on the surface nor being too costly to implement or maintain.

Dazzle Johnson, Mikhael Sayat, and Kean Aw of the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Auckland in Auckland, New Zealand, describe a pavement energy harvester. The system can convert the pressure of footfall from human traffic on the pavement even though the vertical displacement is a mere 1.5 millimetres, which would be hardly noticeable to pedestrians walking on such as surface. That tiny movement of the ground beneath one's feet would not affect one's gait but with each footstep can generate 164 milliwatts of electricity across a 27-ohm load resistor. If someone jumps on to the power pavement area almost a Watt is generated (833 mW).

If we imagine a network of power pavement with millions of footsteps every hour in a busy shopping centre, for instance, then the power generated would quickly add up to usable amounts that could be buffered by charging up embedded batteries and used to power lighting or power outlets. The team is currently testing the prototype system and will work to develop connected harvesters. They need to determine how much vertical displacement each slab might be capable of to generate more power without affecting the way people walk on the surface.

Johnson, D., Sayat, M. and Aw, K. (2022) 'Harvesting energy from human traffic', Int. J. Biomechatronics and Biomedical Robotics, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp.13–16.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBBR.2022.10051712

Research in the International Journal of Innovation and Learning discusses the motivation for volunteering in the educational section to help with the inclusion of migrant children in European schools.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) suggests that migration brings with it many economic advantages to a nation, including expansion of the workforce across many sectors, increased revenues from tax, greater economic activity, a boost to the working-age population, and an increase in the national skillset. On the other hand, there are challenges for host countries on how best to integrate newcomers into society. The challenges represent general economic, social, and health-related issues, as well as education-specific issues.

Valerij Dermol and Aleš Trunk of the International School for Social and Business Studies in Celje, Špela Javornik and Plamen Vladkov Mirazchiyski of the Educational Research Institute in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Susana de Juana-Espinosa of the University of Alicante in Alicante, Spain, discuss the role of volunteers in supporting the inclusion of migrant students in schools when institutions are unable to do so on their own. The team carried out a systematic literature review of almost 16000 sources. The analysis honed their material down to 15 main sources and put particular emphasis on the RoMigSc project and results associated with needs and rationale for volunteering.

Dermol and colleagues found that while volunteers do anticipate personal benefits from their work, including career advancement, many are simply motivated by their concern for disadvantaged students, and yet others are encouraged to volunteer because they know other people already volunteering in the sector.

The team suggests that future research and practice should emphasise the recruitment volunteers who are motivated to work with migrant students out of compassion given that such internal motivation is a strong driver for volunteers in general. As such, volunteers recruited on such grounds are likely to be strong candidates with stamina. Given the state of world affairs, there is a pressing need to recruit more volunteers across Europe to help vulnerable groups, nowhere more so than in education. Not only will the presence of compassionate volunteers assisting migrant children in schools, but there will likely be a recognition by the other students and teachers in general of the mutual benefits.

Dermol, V., Javornik, Š., de Juana-Espinosa, S., Mirazchiyski, P.V. and Trunk, A. (2023) 'European contexts of volunteering and inclusion of migrant children in schools', Int. J. Innovation and Learning, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp.230–251.
DOI: 10.1504/IJIL.2023.10050122

Research in the International Journal of Knowledge-Based Development has looked at whether what we might refer to as brand addiction leads to compulsive buying of fast-moving consumer goods. By brand addiction in this context the researchers imply a blindness to other brands that might be available on the market.

D. Chitra, V. Mahalakshmi, B. Lakshmi, and Yabesh Abraham Durairaj Isravel of the Department of Management Studies at Panimalar Engineering College in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India used a descriptive research design to carry out their investigation gathering data from almost 400 buyers through random sampling questionnaire. The team used Pearson Correlation and Regression analysis to analyse the data.

The team found that most customers in this grouping were female and aged 30–45, and working in the private sector. The team suggests that having a favourite, prestigious brand and previous experience with that brand nudges respondents towards brand addiction. In addition, they found that obsessive buying behaviour is driven by price, low maintenance costs, and product quality.

Shopping is usually a necessity when it comes to food and clothing, but it can also be a release from stress and we often talk of "retail therapy" as a euphemism for buying what we want rather than what we need. Shopping in the extreme can become a compulsion for many people in the same way that they become dependent on other behaviour, such as hobbies, exercise, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco. The team points out that shopping addiction can have as devastating effect on people's lives as any other kind of compulsive behaviour including general mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, damage to relationships, and even legal problems.

New insights into how brand addiction and compulsive shopping arise, such as the present, work could help guide counselling and even treatments for people who have a problem with this form of addiction. They discuss the problem cycle where by the emotional urge to shop arises, the excitement of anticipation, followed by preparation and then the purchase, and finally buyer's remorse or guilt where the shopper perceives a problem and ultimately feels the need to shop again after coming down from the shopping high and experiencing the negative emotions.

Chitra, D., Mahalakshmi, V., Lakshmi, B. and Isravel, Y.A.D. (2022) 'Innovation comorbidity of compulsive buying and brand addiction among the younger generation', Int. J. Knowledge-Based Development, Vol. 12, Nos. 3/4, pp.475–493.
DOI: 10.1504/IJKBD.2022.10052991

Research in the International Journal of Higher Education and Sustainability looks at the efficiency of working and learning online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reeta Tomar and Schifra Daruwala of the CHRIST (Deemed to be University) in Ghaziabad, India, have taken an empirical approach to understanding the benefits of going online during this period while recognising the problems, stresses, and tragedies that arose.

The researchers found that the benefits of working from home for professionals including greater job satisfaction, working flexibility, less time commuting and overall improved efficiency. However, this was not the case for students attempting to learn online who experience lower efficacy than they would have during conventional classes. That said, many did enjoy the additional flexibility offered from learning online.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought us a "new normal" of lockdowns, quarantines, and border controls. For extended periods people had to work and learn from home to reduce the risk of spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus. While at the time of writing the pandemic is very much still with us, the work also offers insights into how the new normal might evolve when we ultimately leave the pandemic.

New working and learning paradigms might offer efficiency improvements as well as helping us to reduce congestion and pollution in our cities. The team suggests that governments must improve policies in terms of educating workers and students and put in place infrastructure, such as inexpensive internet connectivity, to facilitate the work and learn-at-home paradigms. There is also a need to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises to improve their prospects. It is hoped that research insights into the impact of changes implemented during this pandemic might help us cope better with the next.

Tomar, R. and Daruwala, S. (2022) 'Is going online efficient? A comparative study of offline and online mode of working and learning during COVID-19', Int. J. Higher Education and Sustainability, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp.81–96.
DOI: 10.1504/IJHES.2022.10050602

A team from the University of Zagreb in Croatia has surveyed the various ways in which national governments attempted to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, SARS-CoV-2. Writing in the International Journal of Student Project Reporting, Karla Baricevic and Marina Bagic Babac explain how different countries implemented a range of social and economic policies to this end. Their work tracks the epidemiology and shows how the pandemic was affected by the measures put in place. The findings could have implications for controlling the next emergent pathogen with the potential to cause a global pandemic.

The response of different nations to the COVID-19 pandemic was not uniform. Some countries implemented tight lockdowns, border controls, and quarantine arrangements very early in the evolution of the pandemic. Others took a different approach hoping for so-called "herd immunity" rather than social measures to control the virus. Unfortunately, the notion of herd immunity never arose and the emergence of many different variants of the disease represented an ongoing problem throughout the pandemic. Control was at least seen once vaccination became available. That has not been universally available and the World Health Organisation is not yet in a position to sign off on the end of the pandemic. The new normal means COVID-19 is perhaps here to stay.

The team has simulated and analysed different epidemiological factors, including the reproduction number, R, as well as epidemic growth and decay. The aim being to identify the combination and timing of countermeasures that best controlled the spread of COVID-19 reduced morbidity and mortality and also had the least detrimental impact on society and the economy.

Baricevic, K. and Bagic Babac, M. (2022) 'Exploratory analysis of the effectiveness of measures against the COVID-19 disease', Int. J. Student Project Reporting, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp.188–202.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSPR.2022.10053180

The development and deployment of various internet of things (IoT) devices in homes has increased the risks to home networks with such devices inadvertently opening loopholes that could allow fraudsters and others to gain access to the devices themselves, but more worryingly to other devices such as tablet and desktop computers, smartphones, and smart media devices connected to the same home network.

The problem is discussed by a team from India in the International Journal of Sensor Networks. N.D. Patel and B.M. Mehtre of the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) and Rajeev Wankar of the University of Hyderabad, India, explain how cybercrime is on the rise and to some degree this is being driven by the advent of the IoT.

The team cites the Mirai-BotNet, which infected and took control of many IoT devices and routers, creating a network of robots that can be controlled remotely. Such a botnet of zombie computers and devices can be used to cause problems for other systems, such as distributed denial of service (dDoS) attacks. dDoS attacks in turn can be used to overwhelm a network and its security systems allowing a malicious third party to wheedle their way into the system and steal data or tamper with the systems that depend on the network.

To address the issue of the growing security threat to IoT devices, the researchers have proposed a new type of router called a Snort-based secure edge router for the smart home. The team has designed this router to resist and repel many different types of cyberattacks. The team explains how their system uses Snort software to automatically generate rules to protect against attacks. The rules are generated by combining information about the type of data being sent to the device, perhaps from a malicious third party, its location, the header information (the to and from details), and the patterns present in the data being sent to the device.

The researchers tested the SERfSH using a setup that included a Raspberry Pi 4 computer, an ESP32 microcontroller, six IoT devices, and a computer set up to simulate an attack, a so-called "malicious actor machine". They tested the system against 15 different types of attack. Deauthentication, fake-authentication, sybil attacks, broken-authentication, MAC spoofing, sink hole attacks, DoS, distributed-DoS, port-scanning, WiFi-cracking, ARP-poisoning, DNS-spoofing, malware-based DoS, RPL attacks (flooding), and firmware vulnerability.

The results showed that 14 of these attacks were readily detected although firmware vulnerability was not. 12 of the attacks were blocked and caused no harm with the exception of firmware vulnerability, obviously, as it was not detected and DNS spoofing. The team suggests that the system is scalable and is now planning to use unsupervised machine learning to improve attack detection and ultimately protect against them all.

Patel, N.D., Mehtre, B.M. and Wankar, R. (2023) 'A Snort-based secure edge router for smart home', Int. J. Sensor Networks, Vol. 41, No. 1, pp.42–59.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSNET.2022.10051521

A new study published in the International Journal of Work Innovation, has revealed some interesting insights into creativity among employees of Pakistan's private real estate sector. The research could have important implications for both theory and practice in work innovations in this sector and beyond. The team offers several recommendations for the next steps to be taken in this area of research and suggests similar studies might be fruitful in other regions and in sectors such as the information technology sector as well as in education.

Muhammad Bilal Kayani, Komal Shafique, and Maryam Ali of the National University of Modern Languages in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, have carried out a mediation and moderation analysis with a view to understanding the relationship between creativity and leadership in an import sector within the commercial and business worlds, real estate.

The team looked at the effects of two distinct styles of leadership – inclusive and transformational – and how these influence or employee creativity. They surveyed some 250 employees in the real estate sector and had a response rate of 74 percent. The results showed that while inclusive leadership may well see greater employee confidence in terms of an individual's perception of their own abilities, it ultimately had no impact on that individual's creativity. The effect of transformational leadership, which generally brings in new ideas to a workplace, however, was different, it very much had a positive effect on employee creativity.

The team also revealed two other characteristics of employees in this sector in that they could see that psychological empowerment had a significant role to play, but an organizational learning culture had negligible effect.

Kayani, M.B., Shafique, K. and Ali, M. (2023) 'How does leadership bring individual creativity? A mediation and moderation analysis', Int. J. Work Innovation, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp.382–402.
DOI: 10.1504/IJWI.2022.10052799

A deep learning-based intelligent regulation system for indoor lighting intensity is described in the International Journal of Industrial and Systems Engineering. The novel system improves the accuracy and efficiency of conventional lighting-regulation systems by exploiting artificial intelligence, or deep learning, trained with on sensor output and historical data. The approach allows natural light levels to be taken into account and calculates the requisite power needed to maintain consistent brightness indoors with a high adjustment accuracy of between 95.0 and 98.5 percent.

Chen Qun Wu of the College of Art and Design at the Yellow River Conservancy Technical Institute in Kaifeng, China, explains that intelligent, or smart, lighting systems could, in the ongoing energy and climate crises, improve efficiency, reduce costs, and lower emissions. Standard lighting systems waste a lot of resources and there is an urgent need to usurp them with an approach to lighting that takes into account various factors rather than always-on lighting at full power to illuminate a space regardless of use or ambient light.

Indeed, lighting currently accounts for about one-third of the power used by a building, intelligent systems could lower that considerably. Wu adds that there is the potential not only for saving power but also for improving working conditions in offices and other buildings where conventional lighting systems can often be too bright for comfortable working.

Wu's approach takes into account lighting requirements, the movement of the sun, and other factors. It builds on a feedforward neural network structure that controls the lighting far more effectively than a simple on-off switch.

He adds that in subsequent research, he hopes to make improvements in the multi-sensor data fusion method, enhance still further the accuracy of the adjustment results, and integrate the wireless positioning functionality into the system to allow fixed-point adjustment of indoor illumination.

Wu, C.Q. (2023) 'Design of intelligent system for indoor illumination adjustment based on deep learning', Int. J. Industrial and Systems Engineering, Vol. 43, No. 2, pp.137–152.
DOI: 10.1504/IJISE.2021.10051759

Researchers who present radical new theories are often ridiculed and their work rejected despite the evidence they provide because the new theory upsets the received wisdom or is so outside what is considered to be the accepted paradigm. But there is a third way forward that could allow radical new thinking to emerge without it being lambasted unnecessarily so that it can be judged wholly on its merits.

Writing in the International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, a team from Australia and the UK discuss two well-known theories that too many years to be accepted into the mainstream. The first was the medical discovery that peptic ulcers and stomach cancer are not generally caused by stress but by infection with a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori. The second was the social theory in management research that looked at how toxicity in the workplace can arise because of the presence of corporate psychopaths. Both "new" theories took many years to be accepted, both are now widely acknowledged.

Clive R. Boddy of Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK, Sharyn Curran of Curtin University in Bentley, Western Australia, and Fiona Girkin of the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia, have viewed these two discoveries through the lens of Kuhn's ideas of scientific paradigms. American philosopher of science Thomas Samuel Kuhn (1922-1996) used the word "paradigm" in his 1962 work "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" and described it as a perspective on reality For instance, Galileo's heliocentric view of the solar system, which was initially rejected when the paradigm shift in understanding broke through the common culture and of the day.

The team re-emphasises that paradigms are not merely abstractions, but are embodied in people, in their relationships and interactions, in institutions and in their culture. Kuhn's insight was that academic inquiry is never merely academic but is embedded within academic society and society as a whole. The critical point is that an established paradigm is just that, it is established, entrenched, embedded, and can thus preclude the development and acceptance of a new paradigm in a given field irrespective of how compelling that new paradigm might be should the old school deign to even consider it.

A new paradigm must traverse five stages. Almost as with psychological changes in the five stages of grief The new paradigm must transcend initial ridicule, methodological innovations, rejection of evidence, attempts to disprove it, and then to final acceptance, recognition, until we see the paradigm shift.

Boddy, C.R., Curran, S. and Girkin, F. (2023) 'Paradigm busters: researchers into stomach ulcers and corporate psychopaths', Int. J. Management Concepts and Philosophy, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp.11–29.
DOI: 10.1504/IJMCP.2022.10053030

Research in the International Journal of Business Excellence has investigated how a company's human resource management practices can affect the way in which employees balance two different types of behaviour at work: exploitation, where they focus on the effective use of existing resources effectively and exploration where the employee tries out new ideas and takes risks in their job with a view to improvement. The researchers also considered the notion of psychological capital in this context.

Sirikul Cheewakoset, Patchara Popaitoon, and Pasu Decharin of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand surveyed 419 employees in large banking organisations in Thailand and looked at the relationships between exploitation and exploration and flexibility-oriented human resource management (FHRM) systems.

The researchers found that different aspects of FHRM had different effects on employee behaviour. Moreover, their findings suggest that appropriate human resource practices could have a strong impact on employees, particularly those with psychological capital – a positive attitude and confidence. Indeed, the right combination allowed employees to balance exploitation and exploration most effectively with a positive effect on their work and ultimately, by implication, with the company's targets.

The team points out that independent research has often suggested that successful companies must excel at both exploitation and exploration. However, historically these two seemingly contrary approaches have been kept separate within the corporate ethos. Both perhaps driving the company but without a direct connection to each other. The new findings suggest that bringing the two approaches together and ensuring a positive balance within the company could have a synergistic effect overall. Allowing employees to strengthen the core activities but also to generate new business, improve the service offered to customers, devise new products, and seek out and target new market segments.

The team concedes that the current study relates directly only to the banking sector in terms of the data they have obtained. Future studies might be extended into other sectors to develop a sense of whether or not the same human resource tools can be used elsewhere in order to improve the balance between exploitation and exploration.

Cheewakoset, S., Popaitoon, P. and Decharin, P. (2023) 'Flexibility-oriented human resource management system and employee ambidexterity: a moderating role of psychological capital', Int. J. Business Excellence, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp.288–308.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBEX.2022.10050300

An automatic detection system that can scan people entering a public or private space and determine whether they are wearing a protective face covering or not and whether that face covering is being worn correctly is discussed in the International Journal of Ad Hoc and Ubiquitous Computing. Such a detection system could hook into an alert system on the smartphones of visitors to a space or allow stewards to offer guidance to those entering the space who need to be advised on the wearing of a face covering.

Despite the fact COVID-19 remains an ongoing health threat to people, many public and private spaces have, at the time of writing, forsaken the need for visitors and employees to wear a face covering in order to reduce the spread of infection. However, given that the virus undergoes constant evolutionary change, there may well be an urgent need once again to "mask up". Notwithstanding the emergence of another airborne pathogen in the future.

Vishnu Kumar Kaliappan and Dugki Min of Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea, and Rajasekaran Thangaraj, P. Pandiyan, and K. Mohanasundaram of the KPR Institute of Engineering and Technology, S. Anandamurugan of Kongu Engineering College in Tamil Nadu, India, point out that wearing a face mask in public places, particularly enclosed spaces, is one of the most effective strategies for protecting individuals from this disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO is yet to lower the status of COVID-19 from pandemic. At the time of writing, there were around 1.4 million new cases in the previous seven days and almost 10000 deaths reported in that time.

The team's algorithmic approach can determine whether a person is wearing a mask and whether or not that mask is in place correctly (not below the nose or chin, for instance). It is based on an object detection model known as YOLO version 5. YOLO is an abbreviation in this context for "you only look once". It has an accuracy of 99.4 percent. Such precision would make much easier the job of stewards or ushers in a space there to ensure correct mask wearing. The system copes with masks of different sizes, shapes, and colours.

Kaliappan, V.K., Thangaraj, R., Pandiyan, P., Mohanasundaram, K., Anandamurugan, S. and Min, D. (2023) 'Real-time face mask position recognition system using YOLO models for preventing COVID-19 disease spread in public places', Int. J. Ad Hoc and Ubiquitous Computing, Vol. 42, No. 2, pp.73–82.
DOI: 10.1504/IJAHUC.2023.10053539

It has often been suggested that search engines are making us stupid. With so much information, and disinformation, at our fingertips, are we inclined to simply seek and search rather than analyse and learn? Researchers in the have flipped this notion, with a particular focus on personal healthcare and the academic wing of the most well-known search engine, Google Scholar. Writing in the International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, the team suggests that by bringing artificial intelligence tools into the frame, search engines could actually help make us smarter not dumber.

Luuk P.A. Simons, Mark A. Neerincx, and Catholijn M. Jonker of the Faculty of Computer Science at Delft University of Technology in Delft, Netherlands, refer to an infamous article from 2008 in The Atlantic magazine entitled "Is Google making us stupid?". In it, the technology, business, and culture writer Nicholas Carr, provocatively suggested that browsing for information was a suboptimal approach to reading and acquiring knowledge. Opinion has waxed and waned in the many years since.

Now, the Delft team hopes that we are mature enough to recognise that there are problems with blithely relying on search engine results without applying the skills of critical thinking. They also suggest that the use of hybrid AI in combination with a search engine such as Google Scholar might empower us. The researchers have focused on the notion of health self-management for employees that offers empowerment over medicalisation of illness. They suggest that for high-performance companies seeking the best from their employees, such an approach to healthcare might, in many cases, lead to increased productivity, resilience, and agility in the organisation's teams. The approach might also improve the health of the workforce, especially when one considers the rising average age of employees in many sectors.

The hybrid AI approach to using Google Scholar for personal healthcare might, the team suggests, help users cope with the more than half a million new health-related documents published every year. They have home in on two particularly common health problems – high blood pressure (hypertension) and type-2 diabetes – both of which can be managed and even reversed to some degree with lifestyle changes. Earlier research has often shown that many people value the potential to have more control over their own health especially when faced with potentially debilitating health conditions.

"For diseases of affluence, if 'health is what happens between doctors' visits', the AI support system proposed here may offer us a cheaper, more effective channel to deliver future healthcare," the team concludes.

Simons, L.P.A., Neerincx, M.A. and Jonker, C.M. (2022) 'Is Google making us smart? Health self-management for high performance employees and organisations', Int. J. Networking and Virtual Organisations, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp.200–216.
DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2022.10053605

New research in the International Journal of Migration and Border Studies has looked at how comparative international law (CIL) can be used to better understand international migration law (IML). CIL is a research area that compares and analyses the laws and legal systems of different countries and regions. It can be used to show the similarities and reveal the differences in legal systems with a view to identifying best practices and emerging trends and how these might affect legal systems at the national level.

In the new work, Gillian Kane of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the University of Galway, Ireland, has shown how CIL could enhance the analysis of international migration law by offering insights into the interaction between different migration regimes within states. The work also reveals the limitations of CIL, but suggests that CIL should become the focus of increased attention with implications for policymakers and stakeholders.

Migration is, of course, nothing new, but ever-increasing global mobility driven by a wide range of factors means there are new contexts for understanding migration and its governance. There is now a pressing need to understand the legal world with respect to migrant workers, refugees, and trafficked persons among others. "Given that migration, by its very nature, often transcends state borders, international law's central role in migration governance is unsurprising," Kane writes. She points out that the research perhaps raises more questions than it answers, such as "where to from here?" but might also point to how to answer such questions.

It could be time for scholars in this research area to reflect on how CIL, either alone or used in parallel with other approaches, could boost their research. "As IML scholars begin to explicitly adopt CIL frameworks, where appropriate, and engage in reflection about the insight and understanding which CIL can provide, the answer to the question of 'where to from here?' will emerge in practice," Kane explains.

Kane, G. (2023) 'Comparative international law: enhancing migration law enquiry?', Int. J. Migration and Border Studies, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp.149–165.
DOI: 10.1504/IJMBS.2022.10051275

There are significant privacy concerns surrounding the use of smart phones with camera-based assistive technology. The primary concern being that visually impaired users relying on such technology for facial recognition and object identification purposes may be exposing themselves and others to compromise through liberal software permissions on their device or should their device, connections, or the software be breached in some way by third parties.

There are significant privacy concerns surrounding the use of smart phones with camera-based assistive technology. The primary concern being that visually impaired users relying on such technology for facial recognition and object identification purposes may be exposing themselves and others to compromise through liberal software permissions on their device or should their device, connections, or the software be breached in some way by third parties.

AI representation of someone using assistive tecnhology on their phone

Writing in the International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, Hyung Nam Kim of North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA, discusses user perspectives and the state of digital privacy issues in this realm. He has carried out a small-scale survey of users with visual impairments who use this technology and associated software.

The survey revealed that very few users had much knowledge of the privacy policies and potential risks of using assistive technology and were generally unaware of the potential issues that might arise with privacy and security breaches of personal information. Kim has developed the research to help form a conceptual framework that could be used to help researchers and professionals in this field to provide better support and education for those with visual impairment relying on this technology in their everyday lives, whether at work, in public, or even in the home.

Given that a significant proportion of people with visual impairments in the USA are just as likely as fully sighted people to use and engage with social media sites such as Facebook, there is a pressing need to improve and enhance their privacy awareness given the additional layer of risk they must face in using extra software to interact and engage online and so remain independent.

Kim, H.N. (2023) 'Digital privacy of smartphone camera-based assistive technology for users with visual disabilities', Int. J. Human Factors and Ergonomics, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp.66–84.
DOI: 10.1504/IJHFE.2022.10051733

Research in the International Journal of Arts and Technology has looked at how generative adversarial networks (GANs) might be used to transform an artistic image with a given style into a similar image with a different style. For example, a Western abstract transformed into a Chinese figurative image. Tests with this type of artificial intelligence, AI, and the results of questionnaires about the generated art reveal how people in the East and West might perceive artistic style differently when presented with such images. The work might also help us understand art appreciation, concept of beauty and whether or not AI can somehow "understand" art in a parallel manner.

Mai Cong Hung of Osaka University and Ryohei Nakatsu, Naoko Tosa, and Takashi Kusumi of Kyoto University, Japan, explain how a new paradigm in AI – big data + deep learning – has emerged. This approach to AI is developing rapidly with many positive results and benefits to those in the field and beyond. There is always the underlying notion that given that the neural networks used in AI are based on our brains there might be some parallels with how these networks function with our own thought processes. Indeed, AI has surpassed human ability in some areas, for instance in playing Shogi (Japanese chess) and Go. These are games of logic and planning but the question arises as to whether AI can compare in terms of creativity and art.

The team found that by converting one artistic image into the style of another artist there were able to anonymise the image so that the viewers' perception of the image was not coloured by preconceived notions about the artist. They found that volunteers perceived an original abstract artwork by Kandinsky transformed to look like a new abstract painting by one of the authors to be similar in characteristics. They suggest that this might suggest that Western abstract art and Eastern figurative art have very close parallels. It may be that they are essentially interchangeable semantically. They do concede that at this point it is not possible to automatically determine the origins of the original artwork as being from the Western tradition or the Eastern.

Hung, M.C., Nakatsu, R., Tosa, N. and Kusumi, T. (2022) 'Learning of art style using AI and its evaluation based on psychological experiments', Int. J. Arts and Technology, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp.171–191.
DOI: 10.1504/IJART.2022.10045168

We know that bees are important to natural ecosystems and also to human agriculture and horticulture. They are great pollinators of so plant flowering plant species and are also a source of food and materials we have used for thousands of years, namely honey, honeycomb, and beeswax.

Here's the sting in the tale though. Bees are in decline. The problem is partly due to habitat and climate change but also because of our growing reliance on pesticides for food production. Conservation and rewilding efforts are often stymied by building construction. So, what if we could incorporate bee-friendly habitats into those very buildings?

Writing in the International Journal of Sustainable Design, a UK research team discusses the design of a bee brick, which can be incorporated into the stonework of a new building, or perhaps even replace some bricks in older buildings. The bee brick is aimed at providing habitat for solitary bees, which are far more common pollinators than the more familiar honeybee.

Kate Christman and Laura Hodsdon of Falmouth University's Penryn Campus and Rosalind Shaw of the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall, explain that there are some 250 species of bee in the UK. 9 out of every 10 of these species is a solitary bee species, one that does not congregate and swarm with its own kind to build and maintain a hive. And, of the solitary bees around one in twenty makes its nest in a cavity. Creating suitable habitats for these master pollinators should be a priority in construction, especially given that the incorporation of suitable cavities in a number of bricks used in a building could be done relatively easily.

The team's bee brick is a "fit and forget" component of construction. There is no ongoing maintenance and the solitary bees will find the bricks, use them to test and represent no threat to the occupants of the building. The team's design has to be durable and strong enough, of course, to substitute for a standard building brick. It would benefit from being low-cost and made from recycled materials.

As such, china clay waste found in abundance in Cornwall is the material of choice the team suggests. Add some granite aggregate and cement as a binder, and the team had the right recipe for their bee brick. Each bee brick has 18 cavities moulded part-way into the otherwise solid structure. There is the potential to have different colours to fit more aesthetically with a given construction project or even to highlight the presence of the bee bricks in a site.

The team explains that "The Bee Brick provides a nesting site for solitary bees, adapting and rethinking how existing building components are used. Made using locally sourced recycled materials, it offers the dual function of being a construction material that also promotes biodiversity."

Christman, K., Shaw, R. and Hodsdon, L. (2022) 'The Bee Brick: building habitat for solitary bees', Int. J. Sustainable Design, Vol. 4, Nos. 3/4, pp.285–304.
DOI: 10.1504/IJSDES.2022.10052860

As we sit once more on the cusp of major change in our world with the advent of machine learning, algorithm-driven decision-making, and so-called artificial intelligence, it is time once again to ask a question that piqued commentators during the industrial revolution of the 19th Century: Does social change drive technological innovation or is the path taken by society determined by new technology.

Writing in the European Journal of International Management, Fred Phillips of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, USA, suggests that there is no need to answer such a question. Indeed, given that it can be argued perfectly well that both perspectives are true and that both perspectives are false, it is time for us to recognise that society and technology form a continuous feedback loop with each other. A nudge from one, leads to a change in the other, but that change then drives additional in the other and so on. We can thus say goodbye to determinism and welcome the circle of innovation.

The nuances of each deterministic viewpoint – society driving technological change and technology leading to societal change – were noticed by Schumpeter in 1943 who argued for a feedback cycle to explain change. However, most research since has been divisive talking of a social determinism or technological determinism as if the two paradigms could somehow exist in isolation. Phillips argues that we must now recognise the feedback loops as underpinning change and innovation. Such recognition could provide a clearer vision for innovators and technologists, policymakers and economists, businesses and society.

Phillips points out that our current technology and the nature of society today allow us to see more clearly the feedback cycles that underpin both and to override the linguistic biases that lead us into deterministic deadends when we could instead be rolling forward.

Phillips, F. (2023) 'Goodbye to determinism: the circle of innovation', European J. International Management, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp.295–306.
DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2020.10021762

There are many different forms of autoimmune disease, but by definition they all have one thing in common – they arise when the body's immunological defences go awry and attack our cells or trigger biochemical changes that lead to inflammation and other responses that can be detrimental to our health. There are at least 150 different autoimmune diseases, some of them have the status of rare disease while others, such as Type I diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease are quite common.

Research in the International Journal of Bioinformatics Research and Applications has looked at several autoimmune diseases using bioinformatics to help improve our understanding of these important diseases.

Durbadal Chatterjee, Jyoti Parkash, and Arti Sharma of the Central University of Punjab in Bathinda, India, have focused on eight autoimmune diseases: Addison's disease, Graves' disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, myasthenia gravis, pernicious anaemia, psoriatic arthritis, systematic lupus erythematosus, and vasculitis. They explain that science is yet to determine the genetic and biochemical pathways that give rise to these diseases.

The researchers point out that some autoimmune diseases don't tend to become apparent clinically at a single moment but symptoms gradually emerge in the patient ultimately leading to a diagnosis. Unfortunately, the problems are difficult to disentangle from the observations of autoimmune disease as some run in families, some are triggered by infection, and others arise because of environmental factors. It is possible that a combination of factors underpins the emergence of some diseases and that the specifics might be different from patient to patient. It is worth noting that genetics will inevitably have some role to play even if it is not the entire explanation.

The team has probed the US National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database of genetic information surrounding these conditions and identified 668 genes associated with this group of diseases. The team found that most of these genes are involved in processes related to the activity of the immune system, intracellular signalling, and metabolism. However, while these genes are expressed and active in healthy people, they are silenced or have altered activity levels in people with these various autoimmune diseases.

The researchers found that one gene in particular, PTPN22, was present in seven of the eight diseases we studied. PTPN22, or protein tyrosine phosphatase non-receptor type 22 is a member of the so-called PEST family of protein tyrosine phosphatases. It acts to lower T cell receptor (TCR) signalling, which keeps activity and biochemistry steady, it maintains homeostasis, in T cells until they are needed by the immune system to fight disease.

The findings open up the possibility of finding pharmaceuticals that might be used to control errant behaviour of the proteins associated with the given gene and so perhaps modulate the problematic autoimmune response in patients. The work might also provide useful clues as to how more targeted immunotherapy and stem cell treatments might be developed, that would again allow medicine to control the harmful immune response in these diseases.

"With the development of proteomics, genomics, and metabolomics, far more sensitive and specific methodologies will be developed in the future. Improved understanding of protein-protein interactions and specific targets anticipate further improvements in challenges of autoimmune diseases," the team concludes.

Chatterjee, D., Parkash, J. and Sharma, A. (2022) 'A bioinformatics approach to solving the puzzle of autoimmune diseases', Int. J. Bioinformatics Research and Applications, Vol. 18, No. 5, pp.415–459.
DOI: 10.1504/IJBRA.2022.10052770

A significant amount of electrical energy could be generated from municipal solid waste in the Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi metropolitan areas of Indonesia, collectively known as Jabodetabek.

Research published in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management used historical data on municipal waste available from the Regional Environmental Agency and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, to build a model of the electrical potential for the period 2020-2030 based on energy generation estimates from an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) model.

Moh. Hadianto Ismangoen, Leopold Oscar Nelwan, I. Wayan Budiastra, and Kudang Boro Seminar of the IPB University in Bogor, and Muhammad Achirul Nanda of the Universitas Padjadjaran in Jatinangor estimate that during 2020 more than 800 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity might have been generated from waste and that by 2030, the figure could be well over 1000 GWh given appropriate infrastructure development. The team says such figures should be sufficient incentive for policymakers to develop an integrated waste management system in the Jabodetabek metropolitan area to utilise the vast quantities of solid waste – more than 8 million tonnes annually – and to produce biogas from the "organic" part for electricity generation.

Such a solution will help a developing region cope with its solid waste but does raise the issue of pollution and carbon emissions, which are inescapable as the biogas must be burned to heat water to generate steam to turn the turbines. Of course, there can be enormous net benefits when compared to burning fossil fuels in the absence of solar, wind, tidal, hydroelectric, or other alternatives.

Ismangoen, M.H., Nanda, M.A., Nelwan, L.O., Budiastra, I.W. and Seminar, K.B. (2022) 'Estimation of energy generation from municipal solid waste in the Jabodetabek Metropolitan Area, Indonesia', Int. J. Environment and Waste Management, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp.453–471.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEWM.2022.10034017

The role of technology in healthcare is high on the agenda especially in the face of rising costs, but also more positively in terms of how providers can improve the outcomes for patients with improvements in technology. Indeed, technology is critical to patient outcomes and the overall performance of healthcare systems. A literature review published in the International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management would suggest that current research in the field has not fully explored just how far we might take the deployment of technology in improving the performance of healthcare provision.

Amia Enam, Heidi Carin Dreyer, Jonas A. Ingvaldsen, and Luitzen De Boer of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim conducted a systematic literature review to come to this conclusion. They identified three key limitations in the published research. First, there is an apparent lack of understanding of the connection between technology and healthcare performance. Secondly, existing theories are not being used effectively in many studies. Thirdly, there is a lack of understanding of the context in which technology is deployed.

The team has developed a framework that could be used to help address these limitations in the research literature. The researchers suggest that future work might focus on conceptualizing technology in terms of its functionalities, clearly identify and explain the choice of performance attributes, and identify and explain the mechanisms by which technology, and specifically information technology serves healthcare operations.

Ultimately, by highlighting the importance of a clearer understanding of how technology is used to improve healthcare performance, the team hopes that the next tranche of research papers to enter the literature might more effectively fill the gaps in current knowledge. The team adds that their framework could help researchers produce the research to support healthcare providers and policymakers in making informed decisions about technology deployment, ultimately to the benefit of patient and perhaps even the bottom line.

Enam, A., Dreyer, H.C., Ingvaldsen, J.A. and De Boer, L. (2022) 'Improving healthcare operations with IT deployment: a critical assessment of literature and a framework for future research', Int. J. Healthcare Technology and Management, Vol.19 No.3/4, pp.185 - 217.
DOI: 10.1504/IJHTM.2022.10051288

The reliability and security of power distribution systems is a critical infrastructure issue that can affect the lives of many people when compromised. Research in the International Journal of Power and Energy Conversion looks at how the gSpan method for screening data sets can be used to ensure power security.

Keyan Liu of the China Electric Power Research Institute and Hui Zhou of the School of Electrical Engineering at Beijing Jiaotong University both in Haidian District, Beijing, China, have proposed a new method for detecting abnormal data in digital power distribution devices. Their approach utilises the gSpan algorithm and a cloud computing platform. By combining fuzzy association rules to collect abnormal data and wavelet threshold denoising to clean and prepare the data. The researchers explain that they then use the gSpan algorithm to screen the processed data and to extract strong correlations for secondary screening to give them the final results.

The gSpan algorithm is a graph-based algorithm commonly used in pattern mining and structured data analysis. It can detect irregular, unexpected, and incomplete patterns in a data set. Fuzzy association rules allow uncertain and imprecise information to be processed, while wavelet threshold denoising improves data accuracy by boosting the signal-to-noise ratio.

Proof of principle tests have shown the approach to have a minimum screening time of 6.2 seconds and an error rate of less than 0.2%, it also demonstrates a low rate of missing data. Overall, the team suggests that their approach offers a faster and more accurate means of detecting abnormal data in power distribution devices. The approach improves on the length of time that is often needed with traditional methods to screen for abnormal data, it reduces the number of errors, and cuts the rate of missed data. The next step will be to improve the data-processing capacity of the approach while ensuring data-screening efficiency is maintained.

Liu, K. and Zhou, H. (2022) 'An abnormal data screening method of digital power distribution device based on gSpan', Int. J. Power and Energy Conversion, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp.170–181.
DOI: 10.1504/IJPEC.2022.10052104

Research published in the International Journal of Management and Enterprise Development has shed new light on what makes young people in Ghana more likely to start their own businesses.

Victoria Mann, Ernest Yaw Tweneboah-Koduah, Stephen Mahamah Braimah, and Kwame Adom of the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship at the University of Ghana Business School in Legon-Accra surveyed 600 unemployed young adults to help them understand entrepreneurial motivations. They found through an analysis of the survey results using structural equation modelling that having a positive attitude and feeling in control of one's actions were the biggest factors influencing whether a respondent had the desire to become an entrepreneur. The team also found that when the same young people had the support of those around them and a strong desire to start a business they were more likely to actually go through with it.

Interestingly, and in some ways paradoxically, the researchers also showed that despite these various factors encouraging entrepreneurialism in young people, most of the young adults surveyed said they were unsure of themselves, self-doubt was common. They often reported that they needed more help and guidance in order to feel truly confident in their business aspirations and ventures.

The researchers suggest that their findings could help policymakers in Ghana devise new approaches to better support and encourage young entrepreneurs and so help this developing nation thrive. They add that by understanding the perceived and real problems that are holding back young people and preventing them from from starting their own businesses, they could devise ways to give them the boost they need to succeed.

It is worth adding that their analysis explained only 38% of the variance in the actual entrepreneurship behaviour of those surveyed. The team suggests that future studies need to investigate the mediation or moderation roles of other environmental factors to explain that variance more completely. Policies that reduce barriers to entrepreneurialism due to costs and taxes might also be looked at and the issues addressed at the governmental level to encourage new businesses where enthusiasm among young entrepreneurs is stifled by limiting financial pressures.

Mann, V., Tweneboah-Koduah, E.Y., Braimah, S.M. and Adom, K. (2023) 'Understanding entrepreneurship behaviour among the youth: a behavioural change theory perspective', Int. J. Management and Enterprise Development, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp.1–24.
DOI: 10.1504/IJMED.2023.10051374

Research in the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising has investigated how online social networks can influence our choice of holiday destination. The team found that about two-thirds of people interviewed use sites such as Instagram and Facebook to help them decide on the places they would like to visit. LinkedIn had a lot less influence on such decisions, the team found. The study has implications for those working in tourism marketing and management.

Bruno Miguel Vieira, Ana Pinto Borges, and Elvira Pacheco Vieira of the ISAG – European Business School and Research Centre in Business Sciences and Tourism (CICET – FCVC), in Porto, Portugal suggest that it is beyond doubt that social networks are important hubs of information and opinion that influence our choices with regard to so many aspects of our lives including the products and services on which we choose to spend our money.

The researchers have used various approaches to examine this notion. They extend the technology acceptance model (TAM), a widely used framework for understanding how and why people adopt new technologies, and looked at perceived usefulness, perceived ease-of-use, attitude towards use, and perceived enjoyment. They also consider the effects of electronic word-of-mouth recommendations and previous influence factors and how all of those feed the decision-making process for putative tourists and their behavioural intention with regard to using social networking to help them decide on their next destination.

The answers from their survey of tourists were analysed using quantitative research methods, including confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling. These tools allowed the team to test their hypotheses rigorously. The use of logistic regression helped home in on an explanation of the influence of social networking on finding information about a destination and on making the final choice to visit that place.

"Our results show that businesses need to consider this mean as one of the most cost-effective way to reach potential consumers," the team writes. "The conclusions of our study provide important inputs for decision-makers to define strategies to make the best advantages of these powerful new tools."

Vieira, B.M., Pinto Borges, A. and Pacheco Vieira, E. (2023) 'The role of social networks for decision-making about tourism destinations', Int. J. Internet Marketing and Advertising, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp.1–27.
DOI: 10.1504/IJIMA.2023.10053065

According to the World Health Organisation, tens of thousands of tonnes of extra medical waste from the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to put incredible strain on healthcare waste-management systems particularly where infrastructure was already limited in the developing nations. Plastic waste, needles, test kits, masks, and liquid waste represent a significant disposal problem but also a direct risk to individuals required to handle and process such waste in terms of potential needle stick injuries, burns from corrosive chemicals, and exposure to pathogens, including the causative agent of SARS-CoV-2.

Researchers from the University of Benin, Nigeria writing in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management point out that at the height of the pandemic and to this day was not being appropriately handled and contaminated materials were often seen to be overflowing from bins outside hospitals and simply accumulating untreated piles representing a health risk to staff, patients, and the general public should they come into contact with these materials.

The team of Efosa Bolaji Odigie, Osaze Blessing Airiagbonbu, Joyce Osarogie Odigie, and Adiru Afolabi Adegboye suggest that the mishandling of healthcare waste could represent a serious risk of pathogens recirculating and reinfecting. A lack of awareness, negligence, ignorance, and inept infrastructure are all to blame for the problem, the team suggests. They suggest that disinfection followed by incineration is critical to reducing the ongoing risk from healthcare materials.

In their summary, the team offers a six-point approach to dealing with medical waste to reduce the potential risks.

First, they suggest that waste generated from management of COVID-19 should be collected, handled, and disposed of aseptically before management by trained waste collectors. The materials must not be recycled. Secondly, such waste should be stored for as short a period as possible before disposal. Their third point suggests that hospital administrators must ensure waste does not enter the environment. Fourthly, that same administration must work with professional waste mangers to ensure policies are in place to monitor the management and disposal of COVID-19 generated waste.

The team's final two points address regulatory and governmental issues and they suggest that there needs to be raised awareness of the dangers and risks associated with improper healthcare waste management in this pandemic era particularly with the relevant authorities and that governments in developing and under-developed countries should urgently put into law the necessary regulations to ensure that waste disposal standards are in place and upheld.

This work should help guide us with respect to COVID-19 healthcare waste disposal but will also stand us in good stead in terms of addressing similar issues when we face subsequent pandemics.

Odigie, E.B., Airiagbonbu, O.B., Odigie, J.O. and Adegboye, A.A. (2022) 'Environmental pollution from COVID-19 generated wastes result in widespread recycling of SARS-CoV-2 infection', Int. J. Environment and Waste Management, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp.1–13.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEWM.2022.10048096

They say an army marches on its stomach, but an army of soldier fly larvae mashes food waste into compost. New work in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management could help in the fight to mitigate the growing problem of food waste from restaurants, fast food establishments, and other eateries.

It is difficult to obtain precise figures on the generation of food waste worldwide, but it is estimated that the global food service industry generates billions of tons of food waste each year. Much of this waste is fed into landfills, where it simply contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems.

Ideally, reducing food waste across the industry would be an important step in addressing global food insecurity and reducing the environmental impact of food production. However, there will always be some food waste regardless of our best efforts to minimise waste. Some might be suitable for conversion into raw materials for biofuel production, but much of the waste could benefit from efficient processing into compost for farming and gardening.

A. Jamilah, K.A. Irfana, A.J. Nurul Ain, N.M. Nur Aimi, A.B. Noor Ezlin, and A. Mohd Reza of the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Selangor have investigated the potential of larvae of the Black Soldier Fly, Hermetia illucens, to break down food waste from cafeterias into useful compost for agriculture. The team carried out studies on uncooked food waste, cooked general food waste, and cooked vegetable-only food waste. They found that the larvae could convert all of the available food waste offered to them within twelve days at which point they enter the pre-pupation state and stop feeding. The raw vegetable-only waste led to the greatest growth of the larvae compared with the other two classifications of food waste. However, the team found that larval growth in these scenarios was slower and less than that seen with this species raised on chicken guano. Nevertheless, there is potential for the efficient processing of vegetable waste into compost materials by this species.

Jamilah, A., Irfana, K.A., Nurul Ain, A.J., Nur Aimi, N.M., Noor Ezlin, A.B. and Mohd Reza, A. (2022) 'Composting of food wastes by using black soldier fly larvae', Int. J. Environment and Waste Management, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp.55–68.
DOI: 10.1504/IJEWM.2022.10037272

There are many sources of heavy metal pollutants, including vehicle exhausts, various industries, mines, thermal plants, and other combustion processes, and even volcanic activity. The presence of heavy metals in the environment represent a health risk to people and other living things. A review of approaches to biomonitoring of heavy metals, and specifically the use of plants, so-called phytomonitoring has now been published in the journal Interdisciplinary Environmental Review.

Heavy metals are defined as metallic chemical elements that have a high atomic mass and a density at least five times greater than that of water. They are generally toxic to living organisms and can have harmful effects on human health if they accumulate in the body.

The review concludes that phytomonitoring represents an economical method of monitoring and so potentially controlling hazardous airborne heavy metal emissions. It is thought that more than 90 percent of the world's population lives in a place where atmospheric pollutant levels exceed the safe limits set by the World Health Organisation.

New insights into the distribution of heavy metal pollutants are critical to the identification of sources and finding ways to reduce emissions and ameliorate their impact on the environment. Plants can not only be used in the monitoring process but because they can trap atmospheric pollutants, and perhaps pollutants that have entered the soil in which they grow, there is also the potential to use them to remove the pollutants from the environment. Contaminated plants would need to be processed to extract the heavy metals they have trapped prior to composting or other means of disposal.

"Information obtained by biomonitoring provides an invaluable resource for the government and industries to focus on regulatory and management efforts, reduce exposure and identify opportunities for making the environment clean and healthy," the team writes.

Sweta Tiwari, Ankesh Tiwari, Mohineeta Pandey, Astha Tirkey, Roshan Lal Sahu, and Sudhir Kumar Pandey of Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya (A Central University) in Chhattisgarh, and Triratnesh Gajbhiye of Government Shankar Sao Patel College Waraseoni, Balaghat, India, have looked at how heavy metal content of particulate deposits on plant surfaces is determined and used assess local air quality where the plants are growing.

Tiwari, S., Gajbhiye, T., Tiwari, A., Pandey, M., Tirkey, A., Sahu, R.L. and Pandey, S.K. (2022) 'Phytomonitoring of hazardous metals in air', Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, Vol. 22, Nos. 3/4, pp.232–256.
DOI: 10.1504/IER.2022.10050493

Research in the International Journal of Tourism Policy on sustainable ecotourism has new insights from the case of Kakum National Park and Bobiri Forest and Butterfly Sanctuary with implications for the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that run such sites.

Ecotourism and sustainable visitor attractions are moving higher up the environmental agenda as external and internal pressures on regions increases. Understanding the needs of different groups, or stakeholders, with a vested interest in tourism, and ensuring sustainability of their activities, is key to moving forward in this area without compromising targets on emissions, recycling, and other efforts.

The work, carried out by Fatima Eshun of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development in PMB Somanya, Eastern Region, Ghana, focuses on the position of NGOs as research in this area has so far been lacking. Given that many such sites are generally run by government organisations in the developing world, this is perhaps not surprising.

Sustainable ecotourism is important to the developing world. Fundamentally, it will provide economic benefits to the local communities supporting the visitor attraction in question, create employment opportunities, and generate income for local residents, such income could come direct from activities such as guiding, transport, and accommodation, but also indirectly from the owners and employers of a particular visitor attraction.

Looking to a sustainable future also means the conservation of natural and cultural resources become a priority and promoting an understanding and appreciation of those natural and cultural resources will feed into their wider appreciation among tourists and visitors and perhaps even the local communities themselves. This can underpin wider development goals in a region and contribute to poverty reduction and social inclusion.

Eshun's study has its own specific implications for sustainable ecotourism. She recommends that the public sector enact policies, strategies, and frameworks to drive institutions to empower residents to ensure ecotourism sustainability. By contributing to ecotourism knowledge her study has practical policy implications for the empowerment of residents towards sustainable ecotourism.

There will be many individuals and other organizations that could benefit from Eshun's findings. For example, other researchers and academics in Eshun's field as well as tourism, sustainability, and environmental studies.

It could be that ecotourism eschews the mass tourism of previous generations of holidaymakers so that the focus is on small-scale, low-impact tourism, wherein the negative impacts of overcrowding and any resulting environmental degradation are minimised. Indeed, its aim should be not simply to reduce the detrimental effects of tourism, but if it is to be truly sustainable it should improve conservation.

Eshun, F. (2022) 'Roles of institutions in empowering residents towards sustainable ecotourism in Ghana: insights from Kakum National Park and Bobiri Forest and Butterfly Sanctuary', Int. J. Tourism Policy, Vol.12 No.4, pp.357 – 371.
DOI: 10.1504/IJTP.2022.10053171

Research in the International Journal of Advanced Intelligence Paradigms, discusses the potential of bagging and boosting of machine learning classifiers for the accurate detection of email spam. Bagging and boosting are two popular methods used to improve the performance of machine learning classifiers. They are used to improve the output from machine learning algorithms, such as decision trees, logistic regression tools, and support vector machines.

Bagging, or bootstrap aggregating, is a technique used to reduce variance of results given by a machine learning model. The approach works by training several models independently on different random subsets of the training data. The predictions from those models are then averaged, this effectively smooths out the different mistakes made by each individual model so that the overall degree of error in the final output is lower than it would be for any single model.

Boosting, on the other hand, involves training a series of models one after the other so that each model can attempt to correct the mistakes made by the previous model in the sequence. Ultimately, the predictions of these models are then combined so that once again the overall error of the holistic model is lower than any one model within the approach. The boosting happens when the algorithms give more weight to examples in the training set that were misclassified by previous models.

Uma Bhardwaj and Priti Sharma of the Department of Computer Science and Applications at Maharshi Dayanand University in Rohtak, Haryana, India, have used both bagging and boosting to demonstrate how email spam might be more effectively detected to improve the lot of users. Their approach detects email spam by first "bagging" the machine learning-based multinomial Naïve Bayes (MNB) and J48 decision tree classifiers and then "boosting" the weak classifiers using the Adaboost algorithm to make them strong.

The team did experiments to compare their approach to results obtained by using individual classifiers, the bagging approach alone, and the boosting approach by itself. They were able to demonstrate an evaluation accuracy of 98.79% with a precision of 100% and a recall of 92.78%. The researchers explain that this indicates that the boosting concept has classified all the legitimate emails as true values and spam emails also have a lesser error rate of 7.22%.

In terms of future development, bagging and boosting might also be used to detect fake news, reveal suspicious activity on social media, and spot unsubstantiated rumours.

Bhardwaj, U. and Sharma, P. (2023) 'Email spam detection using bagging and boosting of machine learning classifiers', I Int. J. Advanced Intelligence Paradigms, Vol. 24, Nos. 1/2, pp.229–253.
DOI: 10.1504/IJAIP.2023.10052961

The concept of socio-cultural integration refers to the processes through which individuals from different cultural backgrounds come to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance within a new society having migrated from their homeland to somewhere new. Such integration might involve learning the language and customs of that new society, participating in social and community activities, and developing relationships with the members of that society.

There is perhaps a suggestion that individuals who become more integrated tend to have better mental health, higher levels of social support, and a greater sense of belonging and purpose in their new community. Research in the International Journal of Happiness and Development has investigated whether or not this is true in the European context with regard to new migrants and the natives.

Eleftherios Giovanis of the Nazilli Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences at Adnan Menderes University in Cumhuriyet and Sacit Hadi Akdede of Izmir Bakircay University in Izmir, Turkey, first looked at the degree of integration between first-generation and second-generation immigrants and the natives and then how this affected well-being. The study was based on an analysis of panel data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe across the period 2004–2017 for 29 countries. The team used seemingly unrelated regressions (SURE) to explore whether there is in fact a relationship between socio-cultural integration and well-being.

The researchers found that first-generation immigrants represented in the data were less likely to participate in the socio-cultural activities that might lead to greater integration. However, they add that those who did engage in such activities, commonly participated more frequently than the natives. In addition, the team found that even though immigrants tended to report lower levels of subjective well-being, this is in fact greatly enhanced through socio-cultural integration.

This beggars the question as to whether proactive immigrants see the value of socio-cultural integration and so are motivated to participate in such activities that can help them feel more connected with their new community. Of course, this might come at a price for some individuals in terms of losing their own social and cultural identity but there are ways in which the pros and cons of integration might be more equitably balanced.

It is worth adding that while socio-cultural integration does seem to have a positive impact on well-being, it is not likely to be the sole factor that can affect the well-being of immigrants. Economic status and opportunities as well as access to healthcare and education will also affect well-being. There is also the question of discrimination to be taken into account with regard to socio-cultural integration and how this affects an individual's overall well-being. Indeed, there is evidence from other sources that discrimination might push those who might benefit away from activities that lead to greater integration.

Giovanis, E. and Akdede, S.H. (2022) 'Well-being of old natives and immigrants in Europe: does the socio-cultural integration matter?', Int. J. Happiness and Development, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp.291–330.
DOI: 10.1504/IJHD.2022.10053068

There are many factors that can contribute to the success of an entrepreneur and their enterprises. Most commonly, one might cite passion and drive as these are what helps turn ideas into reality. Entrepreneurs also need to be adaptable, not averse to taking risks, persistent, and creative. All such factors allow them to respond to changing market conditions, to innovate, and to make tough decisions in a timely manner.

An entrepreneur must also have leadership and communication skills to allow them to direct a team to achieve a common goal and encourage financial backing and other kinds of support as needed from third parties. Often a strong work ethic is critical to entrepreneurial success, An entrepreneur that is not willing to put in the hard work and the long hours will rarely build a successful business.

Writing in the Journal for Global Business Advancement, a team from Thailand has looked deeper into what makes for a successful entrepreneur, specifically in Northeast Thailand. The team analysed interviews with 350 successful entrepreneurs from the region using Atlas.ti software, frequency-weighted average scores (FWA), the Pareto method, and Venn diagrams. This allowed them to determine five important categories of characteristics that pointed to success.

Some of the characteristics that emerged were closely related to or overlapped with those mentioned above, including "striving/diligence/energy", which one might suggest connects passion, drive, and work ethic. The joy of developing the business was also perhaps linked to drive and passion, but also hints at perception of reward and personal mental well-being in becoming successful. Another characteristic revealed by the study is "integrity". In many ways, integrity must overlap with the more obvious personal traits, without integrity the entrepreneur could be said to be faking it and regardless of the maxim "fake it till you make it", that's rarely a tasty recipe for success.

The team found that differences regarding gender, age, level of education, type of business, and length of time in business also all affected the characteristics associated with success.

The bottom line for business students hoping to follow in the footsteps of the successful entrepreneurs discussed in this research is that honesty, hard work, and a love of what you're doing are the key ingredients that must be baked into the psyche of the budding entrepreneur.

Rangkoon, A., Wongsurawat, W. and Igel, B. (2022) 'The traits of success according to those who made it: a survey of successful entrepreneurs in northeastern Thailand', J. Global Business Advancement, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp.196–225.
DOI: 10.1504/JGBA.2022.127993

The main drive towards electric vehicles comes from the environmental urgency of eradicating our dependence on fossil fuels, reducing local pollution levels, and cutting greenhouse gas emissions by turning to sustainable and renewable power. However, there are some perceived obstacles on the road that are putting the brakes on the transition for many drivers. One of those is the range that a vehicle can achieve on a single charge. This is especially critical for long-distance journeys through places with limited fast-charging infrastructure.

Research in the International Journal of Vehicle Performance discusses a novel approach to determining the range of an electric vehicle under real driving conditions. Carlos Armenta-Déu of the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, and Erwan Cattin of the Université Clermont Auvergne in Aubière, France, suggest that their approach has the potential to give drivers of electric vehicles the most accurate prediction of range. In their simulations, road characteristics and five different driving modes are assessed.

The team explains that their software, in taking into account all relevant parameters, driving conditions, road characteristics, and driver style (braking and acceleration) allows them to give the driver that vital piece of information when they are out on the road – how far they can go before needing a battery recharge. At the end of the driving day, the system also tells the driver how much charge is needed in their battery and indicates the putative range for the next day's driving.

The approach, the researchers say, is more accurate than other methods for range prediction and can work for disparate driving conditions and driving style as well as the degree of "aging" in the vehicle's battery.

Armenta-Déu and Cattin explain that although driving range has been improved in the last few years, it continues to be the most important challenge researchers and the industry have to face to make electric vehicles competitive. When considering the range of conventional internal combustion engine vehicles, electric vehicles often fall short, especially in inter-urban driving, the team adds. Understanding the performance and how it changes with conditions so that drivers have a clearer view of the road ahead will help bump start the skeptics in the transition period while electric charging infrastructure is being topped up.

Armenta-Déu, C. and Cattin, E. (2023) 'A new method to determine electric vehicle range in real driving conditions', Int. J. Vehicle Performance, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp.91–107.
DOI: 10.1504/IJVP.2023.128067