ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201904.0114.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: International development, urban planning culture, social maladies, local authority, Chipata District, Zambia
Online: 9 April 2019 (12:53:50 CEST)
Since the public inauguration of the URP (Urban and Regional Planning) Bill in 2009, which is now law (The Urban and Regional Planning Act No. 3 of 2015), urban planning in Zambia has undergone changes. In partnership with the Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO) Federation, the Zambian parliament put into effect pilot urban planning assistance programs to assist districts around the country, including Chipata District in 2011, transition to a more decentralized, integrated and locally-defined approach to urban planning. However, the presence of discrimination, corruption, and negative attitudes towards urban planning engagement, social maladies prominently displayed in Zambian society, pose challenges to implementing the ideal goals of the 2009 URP Bill. The extreme, widespread poverty in Zambia merely exacerbates the propensity towards corrupt and discriminatory behavior, and influences poor attitudes toward urban planning engagement. This paper describes the projects undertaken by the VSO volunteer from the USA between 2011 and 2012 in the light of the specific urban problems facing Chipata District, and discusses the ways the social maladies play out in Zambian society to pose challenges to implementing the recommended changes to the planning system scribed in the 2009 URP Bill.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0146.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Microeconomics And Decision Sciences Keywords: International Online Shopping; Countries' Level of Economic Development; International Online Consumers; Chinese mobile brands
Online: 8 August 2022 (10:23:07 CEST)
Until now, the literature on Chinese International Online Shopping (CIOS) (B2C export from China) mainly concentrated on the potential income that it constitutes for Chinese international trade. However, regarding International Online Consumers' (IOCs) purchase behaviors, research does not provide insight into the impact of Countries' Level of Economic Development (CLED) on the IOCs' preferences and choices about Chinese brands. Based on 9971 purchases about Chinese mobile phone brands, countries' macroeconomic data, and a multinomial logistics model (MLM), we examined IOCs' preferences and choices about Chinese brands. The result shows that the CLED influences IOCs' preferences and choices. Consequently, accounting of CLED in consumers’ preferences and choices introduces a new dimension in understanding IOCs' behaviors and attitudes towards Chinese mobile phone brands. This work contributes to Chinese brands' globalization research from the perspective of CLED. Such a model can be used to guide e-retailers and brand managers.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0149.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Psychiatry & Mental Health Studies Keywords: international students, social support, depression, vital exhaustion
Online: 8 December 2022 (08:51:35 CET)
Background: Our study aimed to assess the differences between domestic and international students in terms of social support, vital exhaustion, and depression during the time of COVID-19. Methods: The online cross-sectional survey was conducted via Google Forms® at three time intervals during the pandemic. Results: Respectively 1320, 246, and 139 students completed our questionnaires in the different time intervals. International students reported significantly lower values of perceived social support. Women reached higher scores regarding vital exhaustion in both samples. Concerning depression, international female students had higher values than their male counterparts but the difference diminished with time. No differences could be found in the comparison of depression between domestic female and male students. Significant correlations were found between depression, perceived social support, and vital exhaustion. Discussion: International students perceive diminished social support just when they need more. Decreased levels of perceived social support may contribute to the development of their psychological problems.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201812.0283.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Education Studies Keywords: depression; acculturation stress; social connectedness; international students, university students, ASSIS, suicidal ideation
Online: 24 December 2018 (14:52:30 CET)
(1) This study aimed to examine the prevalence of depression and its correlation with acculturative Stress and Social Connectedness among domestic and overseas students in Japan International University. (2) Methods: A Web-based survey was distributed among students of International University, which resulted in 263 responses. On the survey together with socio-demographic data, a nine-item tool from the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), was used to measure the prevalence of Depression and its relationship with socio-demographic data, Social Connectedness Scale was used to measure Social Connectedness, and Acculturative Stress Scale for International Students (ASSIS) was used to measured acculturative stress. (3) Results: Depression was significantly high in international and domestic students (37.81% and 29.85% respectively). English language proficiency and students age (20 years old) showed a significant correlation with depression among domestic students (β=-1.63, p=0.038 and β=2.24, p=0.048). Stay length (third year) also displayed a significant correlation with depression among international students (β=1.08, p=0.032). Among international and domestic students statistically significant positive correlation between depression and acculturative stress, negative associations of social connectedness with depression and acculturative stress were also found. Suicidal or self-hurting ideation thoughts are found among around 20% of all students. (4) Conclusions: These findings indicate a relatively high prevalence of depression among students of International University, and overseas students are more affected. Depression, Acculturation stress and Social Connectedness show statistically strong intercorrelation, which highlights the need of host University to recognise the role of Acculturation and Social Connectedness in the development of Depression among students.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0014.v1
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: Pavement Monitoring; Inertial Measurement Unit; Urban Road; International Roughness Index; Ride Number; Ride Comfort.
Online: 1 April 2021 (11:38:37 CEST)
Road networks are monitored to evaluate their decay level and the performances regarding ride comfort, vehicle rolling noise, fuel consumption, etc. In this study, an Inertial Measurement Unit is proposed by using a low-cost three-axis Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems accelerometer and a GPS instrument, which are connected to a Raspberry Pi Zero W board and embedded inside a vehicle to monitor indirectly the road condition. To assess the level of pavement decay, the comfort index awz defined by the ISO 2631 standard was considered. Considering 21 km of roads, with different levels of pavement decay, validation measures made using the proposed IMU, another pre-assembled IMU, and a Road Surface Profiler were performed. Therefore, comparisons between awz determined with accelerations measured on the two different IMU are made; in addition, also correlations between awz, International Roughness Index (IRI), and Ride Number (RN) were performed. The results were shown very good correlations between the awz calculated with the proposed IMU and ones in the other IMU. In addition, the correlations between awz and IRI and RN were showed promising results, considering the use and the costs of the proposed IMU as a reliable method to assess the pavements decay in road networks where the use of traditional systems is difficult and/or not cheap.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0270.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: environmental management; deep-seabed mining; International Seabed Authority; management thresholds; regulation; precaution
Online: 18 July 2022 (11:07:25 CEST)
The establishment of thresholds is integral to environmental management. This paper introduces the use of thresholds in the context of deep-seabed mining, a nascent industry for which an exploitation regime of regulations, standards and guidelines is still in the process of being developed, and for which the roles and values of thresholds have yet to be finalised. There are several options for integrating thresholds into the International Seabed Authority’s regulatory regime, from being stipulated in regulations to being part of a mining contract, each option having its own advantages and disadvantages. Here we explore the range of ways that thresholds can be derived, set out the challenges in translating ecological and management data into thresholds, highlight factors for acceptance and operationalisation of thresholds in deep-seabed mining, and explain the necessity of refining thresholds as knowledge on impacts to features improves. Some comparable marine industries already use thresholds and these could potentially be used as starting points for the development of thresholds for deep-seabed mining. In order to be acceptable to the wide range of deep-seabed mining stakeholders, thresholds need to strike a balance among levels of harm acceptable by society, levels of environmental precaution justifiable by governments, scientific robustness, and operational practicality.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0382.v1
Subject: Keywords: COVID-19; India; Indian states; International travels; Local transmission; Community transmission; Delhi religious conference
Online: 24 May 2020 (15:56:44 CEST)
Social network analysis is an essential means to uncover and examine infectious contact relations between individuals. This paper aims to investigate the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from international to the national level and find a few super spreaders which played a central role in the transmission of disease in India. Our network metrics calculated from 30 January to 6 April 2020 revealed that the maximum numbers of connections were established from Dubai (degree-144) and UK (degree-64). These two countries played a crucial role in diffusing the disease in Indian states. The eigenvector centrality of Dubai is found to be the highest, and this marked it the most influential node. However, based on the modularity class, we found that the different clusters were formed across Indian states which demonstrated the forming of a multi-layered social network structure.A significant increase in the confirmed cases was reported during the first lockdown 1.0 (22 March 2020) primarily attributed to a gathering in Delhi Religious Conference (DRC) known as Tabliqui Jamaat. As of 6 April 2020, the overall structure of the network has encompassed local transmission, and it was significantly seen in the states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Karnataka. An important conclusion drawn from the presented social network reveals that the COVID-19 spread till 6 April was mainly due to the local transmission across Indian states. The timely quarantine of infected cases in DRC has not led it to spread at the level of community transmission.
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: physical activity; exercise; green cover; open space; Metabolic Equivalent of Task; International Physical Activity Questionnaire; health promotion
Online: 20 March 2019 (10:46:23 CET)
1) Background: A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted to understand how green cover and accessibility of common public open spaces in compact urban areas affect physical activeness of resident. 2) Methods: A total of 554 residents completed a structured questionnaire on quality-of-life, physical activity level, and healthy eating practice. 3) Results: The sampled population lived with green cover averaged 10.11 ± 7.95% (ranged 1.56–9.88), whereas majority (90%) of the residents performed physical activities at medium and high levels. Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET)-minutes/week was associated with the green cover percentage (Pearson r = 0.092; p < 0.05). Irrespective of age and physical activity level, active residents commonly used public open spaces within district for performing exercise, especially parks and promenade were mostly used by older residents while sports facilities by the younger groups. 4) Conclusions: Current findings suggested promotion of exercise could be achieved by the design or redesign of built environment to include more parks accessible to the residents with the increase of vegetation.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0497.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Education Studies Keywords: higher education; international students; leadership and governance; SEM; STEM; sustainable development; sustainability
Online: 31 December 2021 (09:39:26 CET)
Attracting and retaining international students has been widely discussed in higher education settings. Increasing the number of international students has become an indispensable strategy for national and global competition. This study focuses on effective strategies and international students' issues regarding satisfaction in the most popular STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs. We designed a structural equation modeling (SEM) method to determine the effect of institutional mediation between push factors and satisfaction factors for the development of better strategies by which to attract and retain international students. Taking Taiwan as an example, this study employed a self-designed questionnaire to collect data: 485 degree-seeking international students in STEM programs were invited and successfully participated in this study during spring 2021. IBM SPSS 26 and AMOS 26 (Analysis of Moment Structure) were used to carry out the data analysis. We employed reliability, factor, and SEM analyses. This study assumed that the impact of push factors can be modified by institutional situations and result in international students’ satisfaction with their learning and environment and regarding migration policy. The results revealed that the predictors, mediation, and criteria were significant at the 0.05 or 0.01 levels. The findings suggest that push factors impact international students’ satisfaction when using institutional leadership and international strategy. The results of the bootstrap with a generalized least square method showed that the SEM model fit in 2000 bootstrap samples. The effect of institutional mediation can provide useful information for STEM programs to boost their future recruitment and retention strategies. This study provides an innovative approach to the detection of issues among international students in specific programs. These findings can enrich our knowledge regarding attracting and retaining global students in higher education settings.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints201811.0157.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Other Keywords: Disaster Risk Reduction; EO4SD; Official Development Assistance; Actionable Information; World Bank; International Financial Institutions
Online: 7 November 2018 (09:53:46 CET)
Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is a high priority on the agenda of main stakeholders involved in sustainable development and Earth Observation (EO) can provide useful, timely and economical information in this context. This short communication outlines the European Space Agency’s (ESA) specific initiative to promote the use and uptake of satellite data in the global development community: ‘Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD)’. One activity area under EO4SD is devoted to Disaster Risk Reduction: EO4SD DRR. Within this project, a team of European companies and institutions are tasked to develop EO services for supporting the implementation of DRR in International Financial Institutions’ (IFI) projects. Integration of satellite-borne data and ancillary data to generate insight and actionable information is thereby considered a key factor for improved decision making. To understand and fully account for the essential user requirements (IFI & Client States), engagement with technical leaders is crucial. Fit-for-purpose use of data and comprehensive capacity building eventually ensure scalability and long-term transferability. Future perspectives of EO4SD and DRR regarding mainstreaming are also highlighted.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0316.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: Anthropocene; chronostratigraphy; stratotype; Anthropocene Working Group; International Stratigraphy Commission; International Union of Geological Sciences
Online: 23 February 2020 (10:38:38 CET)
The growing interest related to the proposal of formal definition of a new geological period that has being called “Anthropocene” has introduced a buzzing dynamics in the scientific community, but its conduct is perhaps due to various interests involved in a discussion that has long surpassed the contours of the so-called “Geosciences”. Themes such as “Climate Change or Drift”, “Global Warming”, “Massive Extinction of Species” and “Loss of bio and geodiversity”, among others, are the wheel of a geomorphogenetic dynamics of anthropocentric origin, which leads the debate. But are the conditions for the formal establishment of a new morphosedimentary cycle following the Meghalayanian (Upper Holocene) Age? This work pursues a line of thought that seeks to answer these and other questions, based on the official position of the institutes that have the scientific competence for the formalization under consideration, and the formal criteria that should be considered for this purpose.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0012.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Other Keywords: International Online Shopping; One Belt One Road Initiative; Chinese Bands; Brand Preference; International Online Consumers
Online: 1 August 2022 (08:41:02 CEST)
Since the advent of the OBORI, it was subjected to numerous studies. However, most previous studies investigated only the potential impact of the OBORI on the Chinese economy and geopolitics. Therefore, its real effect on Chinese international commerce in OBORI countries is not evaluated yet. Accordingly, this study intends to model the OBORI effect on Chinese product brand purchases across country members. The assessment is made on 18362 purchases of the International Online Consumers (IOCs) from a Chinese international online selling platform. The Data was obtained from a programming language and the octopus software. The OBORI policy's effect on Chinese brands' purchases was examined through a Different In Different Model (DIDM). Results show that the impact of OBORI is weak in the real market. However, it could be significant if OBORI includes more developed and economically strong countries. To Chinese brands and policymakers, we show how the inclusion in the OBORI project of developed countries could contribute more to Chinese product brands' purchases. Thus, the study enables decision-makers to understand the current impact of OBORI on the real market and its potential effect if more developed and economically strong countries are included.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0551.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Economics Keywords: international remittances; household welfare index; welfare; poverty; Bangladesh
Online: 24 May 2021 (10:12:34 CEST)
This paper mainly focuses on the construction of a household welfare index to examine the welfare impact of international remittances in rural Bangladesh. This paper, in achieving this objective, uses primary data and several methods. This paper constructs a household welfare index newly to measure the level of household welfare. Besides, a linear regression and Chi-square test is used to examine the welfare and poverty impact of international remittances, respectively. Remittance receiving households enjoy the higher level of welfare more than non-recipient households in the study area. Household welfare is augmented by 0.116 if the household is under the shade of international remittances. A significant impact of international remittances on the reduction of household poverty is also found in this study. Therefore, this paper suggests policymakers for utilizing international remittances as a significant tool to enhance household welfare and to reduce household poverty.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0093.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: International student; Depression; Bangladesh; Dental; CES-D; Undergraduate
Online: 5 April 2021 (10:34:16 CEST)
Background Bangladesh has been attracting international students on various subjects in recent times. Every year students from different parts of the world come to study undergraduate and postgraduate courses, mostly at private universities in Bangladesh. This study evaluates the depression status among international students who are studying dentistry in Bangladesh. Methods This cross-sectional survey was conducted among International undergraduate dental students who enrolled in the Bachelor of Dental Surgery program in nine public and private dental colleges in Bangladesh. A total of 206 students completed the survey, and CES-D 10 items Likert scale questionnaire was used for data collection. The Cronbach alpha for CES-D 10 scale items for this population is 0.812. Results The majority of the students (79.5%) are below 24 years of age, and students who cannot communicate well in Bengali (Bangla), about 60% of them have experienced depression. About 77.3% (p< 0.00) of the international students having financial difficulties exhibited depression. The international students who went through financial problems were two times more likely to suffer from depression (OR=2.38; p-value <0.01). Conclusion This study tried to highlight the struggles faced by international students in Bangladesh studying dentistry. It is evident from the findings that several factors influence students' mental well-being during demanding dental education years.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0156.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Law Keywords: International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh; crimes against humanity; genocide; treaty and customary law obligations to define international crimes; jus cogens norm
Online: 11 October 2021 (11:14:07 CEST)
Bangladesh is recently prosecuting and punishing the perpetrators of crimes against humanity and genocide committed in the Liberation War of 1971 via a domestically operated International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (‘ICTB’). Though the Tribunal is preceded under the municipal law, it's material jurisdiction, i.e., crimes against humanity and genocide are originated from international criminal law. Therefore, this study purposes to examine several legal obligations of the ICTB in defining crimes against humanity and genocide as the core international crimes. Firstly, I scrutinize what is the legal status of international law (treaty and customary law) in Bangladesh's legal system? Secondly, by applying international criminal law standards, I focus on that is it one of the obligations of Bangladesh to apply international criminal law definitions of genocide under the treaty obligation as the contracting parties to Genocide Convention 1948, and the ICC Statute 1998? Thirdly, I also discuss whether Bangladesh has any obligation to apply customary international law definitions of crimes against humanity because crimes against humanity are considered as jus cogens offense in general international law, from which no derogation is permitted. Lastly, after a critical evaluation of domestic and international criminal law instruments, I conclude that Bangladesh certainly failed to fulfill its legal obligation to define international crimes under a treaty and customary laws, which is one of the fatal errors of the ICTB, a government-sponsored criminal tribunal, to secure criminal justice to the accused.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202206.0297.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Education Studies Keywords: internationalization; international faculty; higher education; job satisfaction; PLS-SEM
Online: 21 June 2022 (12:38:03 CEST)
Building sustainable campuses has become a priority for various higher education institutes (HEIs). Internalization is one of the important tasks in the progress. Therefore, attracting and maintaining international faculty has converted to action for various internationalized campuses. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has impacted most of the citizens’ life, while the international faculty members’ life might be tight during this period. The purpose of this study is to explore the perspectives of international faculty members on their life in higher education institutes by using partial least square structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM). Using a self-compiled online survey, we invited 80 international faculty members of HEIs in Taiwan to investigate this issue. The survey covers career and professional status, teaching and research status, and demographics of the faculty. This study proposes a novel conceptual framework for addressing international faculty’s campus life, the design will examine the relationships among working conditions, views of institutions, views of government’s measures, and levels of satisfaction through PLS-SEM. The demographic profile of the participants revealed (a) most international faculty are employed full-time as lecturers or assistant professors in most public universities; (b) most international faculty members earned their first degree outside of Taiwan; however, 66% of them earned their post-doctoral degrees in Taiwan. The results of PLS-SEM suggest that the international faculty perspective of government is more directly related to their current work satisfaction and overall satisfaction. The designed model has shown work well to assess this issue. This can be extended to other higher education settings to tackle similar issues.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0109.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: coagulation impairment; international normalised ratio; mortality; pulmonary embolism; thrombosis
Online: 5 July 2021 (15:36:32 CEST)
Pulmonary embolism (PE) is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular mortality, therefore new parameters regarding risk stratification are sought after. In patients admitted for acute PE we investigated associations between the initial coagulation impairment, expressed by prothrombin time international normalised ratio (INR), and parameters reflecting PE severity. Furthermore, in-hospital, 30-day and long-term mortality were also evaluated. The analysis included 848 patients who were divided into two groups: with normal INR≤1.2, and elevated INR>1.2 (252 patients, 29.7%). The group with elevated INR presented higher incidence of tachycardia and lower systolic blood pressure, higher CRP, d-dimer, and NT-proBNP. This group presented higher estimated systolic pulmonary artery pressure (49 IQR39-62mmHg vs 43 IQR32-53mmHg, p<0.001) and shorter pulmonary artery acceleration time (65 IQR55-85ms vs 81 IQR63-102ms; p<0.001). Patients with elevated INR had more often a sPESI of 1 or higher (78%vs60%, p=0.003). Cox regression model revealed that age, leukocyte level, SBP, neoplasm, and INR are associated with higher risk of death (p<0.001). Finally, elevated INR was associated with higher in-hospital (13%vs3%; p<0.001), 30-day (19%vs6%; p<0.001), and long-term mortality (p<0.001). Summing up, elevated INR on admission is frequent in patients with PE, reflects worse clinical condition and is related to PE severity and prognosis.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0684.v2
Subject: Social Sciences, Economics Keywords: GNI; GDP; GNIpc; International Economy; Export; Import; Circle; Model
Online: 4 May 2021 (14:23:16 CEST)
In the book “Everyhing Is A Circle: A New Model For Orbits Of Bodies In The Universe”, and further in the Article “Distance Between Two Circles in Any Number of Dimensions is a Vector Ellipse”, it has been mathematically demonstrated that “distance between points on any two different circles in any number of multiple dimensions” is equivalent to “distance of points on a vector ellipse from another fixed or moving point”. Using this mathematical methodology, a method is provided in this Article as a measure for the amount of interaction between two international economies, which are two countries or economic zones, by modelling each economy in terms of a “circle in four dimensions”. Based on this method, the proximity of the two economies at the end of each fiscal period, which is generally a fiscal year, is then measured by the distance between points at the end of the given period on the two circles in four dimensions, associated with these two economies in our model.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0061.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: data; indicator; Utstein; consensus; report; health; meeting; anaesthesia; international
Online: 2 April 2021 (12:03:58 CEST)
Background Indicators to evaluate progress towards timely access to safe surgical, anaesthesia, and obstetric (SAO) care were proposed in 2015 by the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery. Despite being rapidly taken up by practitioners, datapoints from which to derive them were not defined, limiting comparability across time or settings. We convened global experts to evaluate and explicitly define - for the first time - the indicators to improve comparability and support achievement of 2030 goals to improve access to safe affordable surgical and anaesthesia care. Methods and findings The Utstein process for developing and reporting guidelines through a consensus building process was followed. In-person discussions at a two day meeting were followed by an iterative process conducted by email and virtual group meetings until consensus was reached. Participants consisted of experts in surgery, anaesthesia, and obstetric care, data science, and health indicators from high, middle, and low income countries. Considering each of the six indicators in turn, we refined overarching descriptions and agreed upon data points needed for construction of each indicator at current time (basic data points), and as each evolves over 2-5 (intermediate) and >5 year (full) timeframes. We removed one of the original six indicators (one of two financial risk protection indicators was eliminated) and refined descriptions and defined data points required to construct the 5 remaining indicators: geospatial access, workforce, surgical volume, perioperative mortality, and catastrophic expenditure. Conclusions To track global progress toward timely access to quality SAO care, these indicators – at the basic level - should be implemented universally. Intermediate and full evolutions will assist in developing national surgical plans, and collecting data for research studies.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0532.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science Keywords: Protected area; tropical deforestation; international aid; conservation; remote sensing
Online: 21 December 2020 (15:35:25 CET)
Evaluation of the effectiveness of protected areas is critical for forest conservation policies and priorities. To evaluate their effectiveness, we used 30-m resolution forest cover change data between 1990 and 2010 for ~4,000 protected areas and analyzed the relationships of the effectiveness of protected areas with socio-economic variables. Our results show that protected areas in the Tropics avoided 83,500 ± 21,200 km2 of deforestation during the 2000s. Brazil’s protected areas have the largest amount of avoided deforestation of 50,000 km2. We also show the amount of international aid received by tropical countries compared to the effectiveness of protected areas. International aid had major benefits in Latin America led by Brazil while tropical Asian countries used the resource ineffectively. Our results demonstrate that protected areas have been relatively more efficient in countries where deforestation pressures were increasing, and governance and forest change monitoring capacity are important factors for enhancing the efficacy of international aid.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202010.0509.v1
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: pavement smoothness; international roughness index; urban road; road rehabilitation
Online: 26 October 2020 (10:19:41 CET)
The International Roughness Index (IRI) is the standard scale for evaluating road roughness in many countries in the world. The Taipei City government actively promotes a Road Smoothing Project and plans to complete the rehabilitation of the main and minor roads within its jurisdiction. This study aims to detect the road surface roughness in Taipei City and recommend appropriate IRI thresholds for road rehabilitation. A total of 171 asphalt concrete pavement sections in Taipei City with a total length of 803.49 km were analyzed and compared by IRI. The longitudinal profile of the detected road sections was measured using an inertial profiler. The statistical analysis showed that the IRI value prior to road leveling was mainly distributed between 5 and 8 m/km, while the IRI value after road leveling was mainly distributed between 3 and 4.5 m/km. This confirms that the implementation of the Road Smoothing Project has a significant effect on improving road smoothness. Moreover, based on the analysis results, it is recommended that the IRI threshold value for road rehabilitation in Taipei City be set at 4.50 m/km.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202010.0385.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Accounting Keywords: Internet use; Participation in international trade; Tax revenue instability
Online: 19 October 2020 (14:36:10 CEST)
This paper investigates the effect of the Internet on tax revenue instability, notably through the international trade channel. It has used a sample of 142 countries over the period 1995-2017, and relied primarily on the two-step system Generalized Methods of Moments (GMM) estimators (but also incidentally on the Error Component Two-Stage Least Squares estimator). Tax revenue instability is primarily measured by the instability of non-resource tax revenue, but also by the instability of total tax revenue (for robustness check). The findings indicate that the Internet exerts a negative effect on tax revenue instability. Interestingly, this effect genuinely translates through the international trade channel, regardless of the measure of tax revenue instability considered. Countries enjoy a higher negative effect of the Internet on tax revenue instability as they enjoy a greater participation in international trade. These findings, therefore, add to the potential benefits of the Internet adoption (e.g., strengthening countries' participation in international trade, enhance their tax revenue performance and promote tax reform, including in developing countries) by showing that it could also help to stabilize tax revenue, particularly through the degree of countries' participation in international trade.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201910.0005.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Space Science Keywords: International Space Station; space missions; biomonitoring; water biological contamination
Online: 1 October 2019 (16:16:01 CEST)
Space exploration is demanding longer lasting human missions and water resupply from Earth will become increasingly unrealistic. In a near future, the spacecraft water monitoring systems will require technological advances to promptly identify and counteract contingent events of waterborne microbial contamination, posing health risks to astronauts with lowered immune responsiveness. The search for bio-analytical approaches, alternative to those applied on Earth by cultivation-dependent methods, is pushed by the compelling need to limit waste disposal and avoid microbial regrowth from analytical carryovers. Prospective technologies will be selected only if first validated in a flight-like environment, by following basic principles, advantages, and limitations beyond their current applications on Earth. Starting from the water monitoring activities applied on the International Space Station, we provide a critical overview of the nucleic acid amplification-based approaches (i.e., loop-mediated isothermal amplification, quantitative PCR, and high-throughput sequencing) and early-warning methods for total microbial load assessments (i.e., ATP-metry, flow cytometry), already used at a high readiness level aboard crewed space vehicles. Our findings suggest that the forthcoming space applications of mature technologies will be necessarily bounded by a compromise between analytical performances (e.g., speed to results, identification depth, reproducibility, multiparametricity) and detrimental technical requirements (e.g., reagent usage, waste production, operator skills, crew time). As space exploration progresses toward extended missions to Moon and Mars, miniaturized systems that also minimize crew involvement in their end-to-end operation are likely applicable on the long-term and suitable for the in-flight water and microbiological research.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202203.0207.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Economics Keywords: revealed comparative advantage; network theory; interdependence; international trade; reciprocity; dependence
Online: 15 March 2022 (11:02:09 CET)
Since the 1970s, researchers in international relations have asserted that the enhancement of interdependence between nations can reduce conflicts among them (Keohane and Nye 1973). Thus, interdependency between nations is regarded as desirable for the stability of the countries' networks. On the other hand, there has been no confirmation of empirical data on the benevolent effects of interdependency on the nations' networks. This article aims to analyze the concept of interdependence into reciprocity and dependence, leading to quantifying both of them. To assess the usefulness of this approach, the empirical analysis of trade relations among five countries, namely, THE U.S.., China, Germany, Japan, and Korea from 1992 to 2020 was empirically analyzed with the aid of reciprocity index (R) and dependency index (D).
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0621.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Accounting Keywords: Export; export; international trade; the flexibility of production; China; EU
Online: 24 December 2020 (13:18:41 CET)
The sudden and abrupt rise of COVID-19 became a challenge for the world economy. In this paper, we investigate the changes of a trend of mutual trade between the EU-15 countries and China during the demanding times of the COVID-19 crisis. We use monthly data for Chinese export to the EU (2018:01 – 2020:05) and import from the EU (2018:01 – 2020:07) relying on the data from open source Trademap. We employ descriptive statistics to analyze the trade. Overall, there is the obvious decline of 13-32 per cent in worldwide trade as predicted by the WTO. This affected China as the main trading partner of electronic devices and medical supplies. The trade between the EU and China has decreased, but the major change in demand brought the alteration in commodities structure and re-orientation of Chinese export production. In the first five months of 2020, we have witnessed strong engagement of the Chinese economy in new highly demanded production - mainly to articles strongly linked with healthcare and medical equipment. Thus, we have observed that the Chinese were very flexible in changing the structure of export which was triggered by COVID-19 crisis. This flexibility is worth further exploration.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0445.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Geography Keywords: international tourism; coronavirus; COVID-19; post-viral tourism; recovery strategies
Online: 31 March 2020 (05:00:08 CEST)
The coronavirus pandemic will deeply affect the tourism and travel sector. It is already clear now that its economic impact would be more severe that in the case of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003. Although not as deadly as SARS, coronavirus infection has a longer incubation period and leaves about 85% of the infected without any (or with just mild) symptoms which makes it more difficult to track and to contain. Moreover, it appears to be much more contagious than its predecessor. The goods news is that most people recover from the disease and develop antibodies that can protect them from getting infected again (natural vaccination). Those cured might become the key element for the post-virus recovery strategies of tourism organisations. People with the acquired immunity to the virus would be capable of travelling freely without spreading the disease. Airlines, hotels and gastronomy should aim at this group offering them discounts and special offers. However, the problem is how to effectively ensure that everyone who claims to be cured from COVID-19 is telling the truth. Health tracking bracelets, apps, and other advanced technological solutions should be put in place. Recent best practices from Hong Kong, mainland China, or India might be applied.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201811.0578.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Law Keywords: WTO, Arab countries, international trade, free trade, accession, dispute settlement
Online: 26 November 2018 (09:57:36 CET)
The WTO is here to stay. Institutions are never perfect. The way the WTO, as an institution, runs its business may not be perfect either. Arab countries are attempting to broaden their engagement in the multilateral trading system in a manner that has many implications. This engagement includes accession to the WTO, participation in WTO dispute resolution mechanism, and representations at the WTO.
SHORT NOTE | doi:10.20944/preprints202203.0134.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: Purplewashing; gender equality; quality of life for women; International Women's Day
Online: 10 March 2022 (02:14:45 CET)
Gender parity, is an important standard to be achieved by a society in which men and women are treated equally. The distinctions in the treatment may arise from psychology, biology, or cultural norms constructed by society. Studies show the different experiences of genders across many areas including health, education, personality, life expectancy, sports, interests, political empowerment, and careers. However, we are still far from reaching the objective, because there are conducts such as gender discrimination and expressions such as the purplewashing. In relation to feminism, purplewashing is used to define a diversity of marketing and political strategies intended at promoting people, companies, associations, and other organizations through an appeal to gender equality: they use only some of the feminist values at their convenience and in its actions, they are not really supportive of gender equality. In this opinion we aimed to address some of the reasons for inequality of opportunities based on gender; purplewashing is described as an expression that takes away the visibility of women's struggle. Additionally, we touch on some actions that promote gender equality in the family, educational, and work environments. Global leaders have an unprecedented opportunity to build gender-sensitive societies and economies. The challenges facing women today are essentially the same as they were a long time ago. It is time to break the bias.
Subject: Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Infection Control; Epidemic Surveillance; International Cooperation
Online: 3 March 2020 (11:30:01 CET)
The disease COVID-19 is highly infectious, and infectious in asymptomatic incubation period. The national epidemic development has been effectively controlled and continues improving, especially in areas outside Hubei province. Such periodical results were achieved by the joint efforts of the whole society, including not only the hard work and dedication of the front-line medical workers but also the active cooperation of the general public. The strict epidemic prevention and control measurements have brought remarkable control results. In the present study, the basic infection number of the coronavirus R0 (basic replication number of the infection) before and after prevention and control measurements was simulated to elaborate the measurements of the Chinese government on epidemic prevention and control, providing reference for the people around the world.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0437.v1
Subject: Keywords: medical education; pedagogy; international student; problem-based learning; integrated organ/system; China
Online: 27 May 2020 (04:35:20 CEST)
The advance of the medical field in the 21st century has influenced the development of many innovations, including in medical education. PBL (problem-based learning) is one of the pedagogical approaches that has been studying and implementing worldwide to attract medical students’ attention with their learning style and learning environment. China is the most significant “receiver” country of foreign students in Asia, and clinical medicine is one of the most chosen majors for undergraduate. In China, PBL has been implementing in some schools, but mostly with the local students and only a few implementations to the international students. International medical students in China faced a variety of challenges during their studies. In this review paper, we give the solution to adapt to the challenges by focusing on the implementation the integrated organ/system curriculum/syllabus with the PBL method to the school system with the support of the school stakeholders and students’ role.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201906.0214.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Education Studies Keywords: Career choice predictors, Affective and Cognitive Domains, Science teacher training, International teaching.
Online: 21 June 2019 (11:28:25 CEST)
Attitudes and behaviours towards the natural environment have been extensively studied in certain cultural settings during the last 40 years. In education, the teacher's ability to grasp the fundamentals of an academic subject may define his or her own attitudes towards that discipline; certainly the reverse is also valid. The correlations between affective and cognitive domains appear to play a significant role in teaching-learning dynamics. In this study we seek to assess whether the affective posture towards school sciences of a cohort of teachers in rural communities shows an association with their cognitive competence in the disciplines. The results of this study provide evidence that there is a statistically significant correlation between the cognitive and affective domains for in-service teachers. The affective domain, therefore, could serve as a predictor for cognitive competency and self-efficacy expectancies with respect to both content and career fulfilment.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201807.0178.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: international health regulations; ship sanitation certificates; inspection; ship, travel; maritime health; sanitation
Online: 10 July 2018 (12:23:09 CEST)
The purpose of this study was to report data analysis results from the International Health Regulations (2005) Ship Sanitation Certificates (SSC), recorded in the European Information System (EIS). International sea trade and population movements by ships can contribute to the global spread of diseases. SSC are issued to ensure the implementation of control measures if public health risk exists on board. EIS designed according to the World Health Organization (WHO) “Handbook for Inspection of Ships and Issuance of SSC”. Inspection data were recorded and SSC issued by inspectors working at European ports were analysed. From July 2011-February 2017, 107 inspectors working at 54 ports in 11 countries inspected 5579 ships. Of these, there were 29 types under 85 flags (including 19 EU flags). As per IHR (2005) 10,281 Ship Sanitation Control Exception Certificates (SSCEC) and 296 Ship Sanitation Control Certificates (SSCC) were issued, 74 extensions to existing SSC were given, 7565 inspection findings were recorded, and 47 inspections were recorded without issuing an SSC. The most frequent inspection findings were the lack of potable water quality monitoring reports (23%). Ships aged ≥12 years (Odds Ratio, OR = 1.77, 95%Confidence Intervals, CI = 1.37–2.29) with an absence of cargo at time of inspection (OR = 3.36, 95%CI = 2.51–4.50) had a higher probability of receiving an SSCC, while ships under the EU flag had a lower probability of having inspection findings (OR = 0.72, 95%CI = 0.66–0.79). Risk factors to prioritise the inspections according to IHR were identified by using the EIS. A global information system, or connection of national or regional information systems and data exchange, could help to better implement SSC using common standards and procedures.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0489.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Law Keywords: Petroleum Resources; Contract Structure; Production Sharing Agreement; International Oil Company; National Oil Company
Online: 26 December 2022 (12:03:54 CET)
Most developing countries with petroleum resources are constrained in the ability to refine their oil and gas resources. This virtually results in the involvement of the International Oil Company (IOC) by the National Oil Company (NOC) of a particular nation to enter into an agreement to achieve the production of oil based on an agreed framework. However, in cur-rent development, there is little focus on the contractual agreement, particularly on the pro-duction sharing agreement by the IOC in the exploration of petroleum resources of developing countries. The primary objective of this paper is to critically explore the contract structure of production sharing agreement by the IOC in the exploration and development of petroleum resources in developing countries. Content analysis was used as the methodology of the study after examining several literatures. The findings indicate that the contract structure of the production sharing agreement (PSA) between NOC and IOC plays a significant role in the cost and risk of exploration and development of oil. In addition, it is noted that the joint committee of the NOC and IOC plays a paramount role in monitoring the operations of PSA between the NOC and IOC. Hence, from the gross oil production, the NOC gets its share as profit while IOC gets its share income tax. As an instrument of contract structure in the oil and gas sector, PSA needs further entrenchment between IOC and NOC to avoid likely issues that can emanate between the two parties in the face of current developments.
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: Knighthood; international law; Canon Law; order of knighthood; Ramon Lull; Leon Gautier; Bushido
Online: 23 August 2021 (10:59:00 CEST)
Chivalry is a concept that is both familiar and distant to many Japanese. There is no other social class in the world that resembles knights as much as the samurai in Japan. However, why is it that there is such a gap between knights and warriors, even though they are both warriors with the same social status and honor? This paper reviews the legal debates on the deposed sovereigns’ rights have emerged since 20th century. Among them, the right to appoint knights by heads of deposed royal families is one of the focal points. The author begins with a comprehensive review of legal debates on the subject. Six principles on the appointment are extracted from the review. Then, a comparison between chivalry and Bushido, the Japanese Samurai code, was carried out.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201906.0273.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Political Science Keywords: climate change and international relations; religion and the environment; Anthropocene; planetary justice; sustainability
Online: 27 June 2019 (04:53:15 CEST)
This paper analyzes the theoretical and pragmatic implications, for international relations and world politics, of the new holistic approach to climate change articulated by Pope Francis in the Encyclical Laudato si’, particularly through the notion “integral ecology”. Far for being just a new chapter in the unfolding process of the “greening” of religions, the document raises in radical terms the issue of the sustainability of the present world system. I contend that the perspective of the Encyclical calls for a radical transformation of international relations, since it puts emphasis on the deep implications of environmental issues on the entire spectrum of security, development, economic and ethical challenges of contemporary world politics. Against this backdrop, I connect the main tenets of the Encyclical to the environmental turn in International Relations Theory and to the new epistemological challenges related to paradigm shift induced by the new planetary condition of the Anthropocene and the questions arising for a justice encompassing the humanity-earth system. Practicing sustainable international relations means exiting the logic of power or hegemony, operationalizing the concept of care.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202109.0255.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Education Studies Keywords: COVID-19; effects; educational systems; change in higher education; international students; push–pull theory
Online: 15 September 2021 (11:45:11 CEST)
In this study, we designed a structural model to determine the relationships among push–pull factors, institutional situations, and satisfaction during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 17 selected indicators fell under five domains, namely push factors, pull factors, institutional leadership, international strategies, and satisfaction. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to verify the assumptions of the model. Based on 1005 degree-seeking international students' views, this study found that push and pull factors may coincidentally exist, and their functions can be modified by institutional situations. The findings suggest pull factors will, through institutional leadership, impact students' satisfaction, while push factors will not. Moreover, the detection of institutional mediation can provide useful information for specific institutes to develop their future recruiting or retaining strategies. These findings enriched our knowledge of the field during the pandemic. For future studies, this design may be useful to interpret the phenomena of global student mobility in higher education settings.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0370.v1
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: gravel pavement; roughness; straightedge; power spectral density; international roughness index; vehicle response; driving comfort
Online: 16 July 2021 (11:58:32 CEST)
The gravel road pavement has a lower construction cost but poorer performance than the asphalt surface. It also emits dust and deforms under the impact of vehicle loads and ambient air factors. The resulting ripples and ruts are constantly deepening, increasing vehicle vibrations and fuel consumption, reducing safe driving speed and comfort. In this article, existing pavement quality evaluation indexes are analysed, and a methodology for their adaptation for roads with gravel pavement is proposed. This article reports the measured wave depth and length of the gravel pavement profile by the straightedge method of a 160 m long road section in three road exploitation stages. The measured pavement elevation was processed according to ISO 8608, and vehicle frequency response has been investigated using simulations in MATLAB/Simulink. The applied International Roughness Index (IRI) analysis showed that a speed of 30-45 km/h instead of 80 km/h provides the objective results of IRI calculation on the flexible pavement due to a decreasing velocity of vehicle's unsprung mass on a more deteriorated road pavement state. The influence of the corrugation phenomenon of gravel pavement has been explored, identifying specific driving safety and comfort cases. Finally, an increase in the Dynamic Load Coefficient (DLC) at a low speed of 30 km/h on the most deteriorated pavement and a high speed of 90 km/h on the middle-quality pavement demonstrates the demand for timely gravel pavement maintenance and the complicated prediction of a safe driving speed for drivers.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201808.0056.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: heat-related illness; international classification; heat cramp; syncope; heat exhaustion; heat stroke; novel classification
Online: 3 August 2018 (03:51:27 CEST)
The Japanese Association for Acute Medicine Committee recently proposed a novel classification system for the severity of heat-related illnesses. The illnesses are simply classified into three stages based on symptoms and management or treatment. Stages I, II, and III broadly correspond to heat cramp and syncope, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, respectively. Our objective was to examine whether this novel severity classification is useful in the diagnosis by healthcare professionals of patients with severe heat-related illness and organ failure. A nationwide surveillance study of heat-related illnesses was conducted between June 1 and September 30, 2012, at emergency departments in Japan. Among the 2130 patients who attended 102 emergency departments, the severity of their heat-related illness was recorded for 1799 patients, who were included in this study. In the patients with heat cramp and syncope or heat exhaustion (but not heat stroke), the blood test data (alanine aminotransferase, creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, and platelet counts) for those classified as stage III were significantly higher than those of patients classified as stage I or II. There were no deaths among the patients classified as stage I. This novel classification may avoid underestimating the severity of heat-related illness.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201906.0226.v1
Subject: Engineering, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Keywords: motorised mobility; average distances; international comparison; future automobiles; automotive companies; battery autonomy (range); economic analysis
Online: 22 June 2019 (15:59:01 CEST)
This paper aims at providing a multisource data analysis, including direct data collection, focussed on daily average distances covered with motorised mobility. Its results can be used as a basis for policies involving a shift towards new propulsions, electric motors or hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) for road vehicles. A number of variables influence the propensity of drivers to acquire or use electric traction, even the option of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). This paper addresses one of such variable: the compliancy of electric traction regarding both hybrid plug-in solutions and full-electric vehicles, in addition to the autonomy of batteries (range), with the daily travels by road vehicles, mainly by automobiles. We want to understand whether the constraints leading towards a greater independence from crude oil rather than constraints concerning emissions, mainly in urban contexts, might be compliant with the habitual daily trips of drivers. We also want to understand if these daily trips have varied much during recent years and the consequences they may have on operational costs of plug-in automobiles. We are well aware that the average distances do not represent the actual daily runs of vehicles; yet similar distributions of daily distances for different case studies indicate that a high percentage of trips respond to certain features. After introducing a general overview of road-motorised mobility in Italy, the paper compares data from other studies to provide an indication of average daily driving distances. This reveals how different recent analyses converge on a limited range of average road distances covered daily by Italians, which is compliant with ranges allowed by electric batteries, provided that their low energy density in comparison with that of oil-derived fuels do not imply a significant increase in vehicle mass. Subsequently, average distances in some EU Countries are taken from the literature, and the results are also compared with U.S. data. The study extends the analysis of trends on the use of automobiles and road-vehicles to the international context by also addressing average daily distances covered for freight transport in some EU Countries, thereby providing a further basis for comparison and for understanding whether the daily motorised mobility can be considered as a stable phenomenon. Finally, an analysis is provided of the economic operational advantages from using plug-in vehicles. The main aim of this paper is thereafter to investigate the average daily motorised mobility of single vehicles – so not an aggregated motorised mobility as collected by some statistics – by using private motorised vehicles in Italy, with related trends; thereafter, to compare these data with those obtained from other countries, making use of both existing research studies and directly collected data; the final aim is to understand both the compliance of daily activities based on the use of automobiles with the autonomy of batteries (range) and to calculate some economic outcomes.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202204.0303.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Other Keywords: Blogging; intercultural competence; international learning outcomes; reflective writing; reflection; text analysis; text mining; psycholinguistics; linguistic markers
Online: 29 April 2022 (13:07:15 CEST)
This study combines insights from psycholinguistics and text analysis to identify linguistic markers of intercultural competence (ICC) in student blogs about intercultural experiences. By combining holistic ICC frameworks with a more analytical approach at text and word level, we were able to demonstrate that blogs with a high perceived level of ICC contain significantly more I-words, more insights words and less quantifiers. These markers of ICC constitute concrete cues for teachers when assessing reflective writing assignments and allow them to pinpoint concrete areas for improvement in their feedback and interaction with students.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201806.0216.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: Diagnosis delay; rare diseases; undiagnosed programs; standardized phenotype; phenotype ontologies; whole exome analysis; international data sharing
Online: 13 June 2018 (15:41:21 CEST)
One of the IRDiRC goals for 2017-2027 is to achieve definitive diagnosis for rare undiagnosed diseases within one year, as diagnosis delay remains one of the pending issues in the rare diseases field. The Spanish Undiagnosed Rare Diseases Program (SpainUDP) was created in response to this challenging scenario to cover patients’ needs and after seeing the success of the UDP in USA. SpainUDP offers a multidisciplinary approach to those patients who have long sought a diagnosis without any success. During a first phase of the protocol, undiagnosed cases are sent to SpainUDP by individual patients, patient organizations or hospitals. After a carefully analysis of phenotype, data from sequencing experiments (WES) is processed with a standard pipeline and a detailed standardized phenotypic information (mapped to HPO) is connected to genetic data. In addition, the participation of SpainUDP in international initiatives such as the European projects RD-Connect and Solve RD, the Undiagnosed Diseases Network International (UDNI), and the MatchMaker Exchange platform, allows the establishment of a global data sharing strategy across multiple projects submitting data to these international initiatives. From the official beginning of the program (at the end of 2015) until early 2018, 147 cases were accepted in SpainUDP. During this time, 37 cases (25 %) dropped out the program due to several reasons. The remaining 110 cases are distributed as follows: phenotypic and genotypic (WES) characterization was finished in 30 cases, of which 20 (67 %) were diagnosed; 21 cases are pending on variants validation by Sanger; in 25 cases, WES is ongoing and 34 cases are in a deep phenotypic characterization. As a conclusion, SpainUDP aims to achieve a diagnosis following two recommendations of the IRDiRC: the patients’ diagnosis in a period of time as short as possible and the promotion of data sharing (especially genomic) at the international level.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0624.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: Islamic Water Management Principles (IWMP); International Water Law Principles (IWLP); Helmand River Basin; Upstream State; Downstream State
Online: 23 April 2021 (09:53:07 CEST)
Considering the negative impacts of climate changes along with the rapid increase in population in Islamic dominated states, e.g., the Middle East, water tension among upstream and downstream states is increasing. Despite the importance of water management in Islamic culture, the role of religion has been under-valued and under-emphasized by the scholars. The paper has sought to compare and contrast Islamic water management principles (IWMP) with international water law principles (IWLP). The findings from this analysis show not only that IWMP are in conformity with IWLP, but that in many cases, IWMP can be more effective. For instance, where international water accords between riparian states of a shared river basin are poorly developed and lack enforcement mechanisms under IWLP, those upstream states can abuse their geographical locations depriving those downstream-ers. In contrast, IWMPs stress the equitable and reasonable use of water resources among upstream and downstream users of a shared watercourse. Moreover, although IWLPs emphasize the conservation and preservation of ecosystems and the environment at the basin level, the inter-basin states especially those upstream can pose significant harm to the ecosystems. On the other side, Islam as the religion of peace, has placed much emphasis on the preservation of nature. For example, the verse, “.... And waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters” [Quran, 7:31], illustrates the importance of the sustainable use of water and the environment. It is argued that if Islamic Water Management Principles are incorporated into the management instrument of Islamic States, the issue of equitable and sustainable use of water among Muslim-dominated riparian states (e.g., Iran, Afghanistan, etc.) will be solved.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0195.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: doubly labeled water; total energy expenditure; physical activity level; lactate threshold, physical fitness; International Physical Activity Questionnaire
Online: 7 April 2021 (11:32:02 CEST)
Adequate energy intake is critical for the healthy longevity of older adults, and the estimated energy requirement is determined by total energy expenditure (TEE). We aimed to identify the relationship between measured aerobic capacity and TEE, activity energy expenditure (AEE) or physical activity level (PAL) with the doubly labeled water (DLW) methods in the advanced older adults. A total of 12 physically independent older adults (10 males and 2 females) aged between 81 to 94 years participated in this study. Aerobic capacity was evaluated according to the lactate threshold (LT). TEE under free-living conditions was assessed using the DLW method, and self-reported physical activity was obtained through the Japanese version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ). LT was significantly positively correlated with TEE, AEE, and PAL after adjustment for age and sex (ρ= 0.77 (P<0.01), 0.86 (p<0.01), and 0.86 (p<0.01), respectively). We found the LT as an aerobic capacity is positively and independently correlated with TEE, AEE or PAL. The present results suggest that maintaining aerobic capacity is an important factor for preventing frailty, although further research is needed to multisite studies and many samples.
CASE REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints201808.0343.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pediatrics Keywords: international adoptions; asymptomatic and misidentified parasitosis; intestinal parasite infections, IPIs; Giardia lamblia; Trichuris spp.; Strongyloides stercoralis; IPIs screening guidelines
Online: 19 August 2018 (05:30:16 CEST)
Protozoa and helminths are responsible for several intestinal parasite infections (IPIs). Generally helminth infections are very unsafe but scarcely reported in high-income countries, while protozoa and helminth co-infections are usually reported in children living in inadequate hygienic-sanitary conditions and in rural areas. However, the impact of growing globalization, intense travelling, international adoptions and high levels of immigrants and refugees has significantly incremented the incidence of oro-faecal parasitosis in non endemic areas. Although most IPs clear without treatment when population, even children, emigrate from endemic to different geographical areas, some IPIs such as strongyloidiasis may persist for decades as subclinical infections or as low-grade disease with nonspecific clinical manifestations, unless to reappear under impairment conditions. Herein we report an unusual case of Giardia lamblia and Trichuris spp. chronic asymptomatic co-infection in a healthy adopted Romanian child, living in a Central Italy rural area, and an hidden case of Strongyloides stercoralis in an adopted Burundian child, resident in South Italy, long misdiagnosed as a recurrent undefined dermatitis. Our report suggests the need to review primary care practitioner guidelines and children's hospital procedures for appropriate IPIs screening and follow-up, hence providing new screening and prevention strategies, in agreement with international guidelines.
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: pandemic preparedness; contact tracing; cross-broader; International Health Regulations; Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Germany
Online: 7 December 2020 (12:02:23 CET)
Abstract Introduction:The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) managed the exchange of cross-border contact tracing data between public health authorities (PHA) in Germany and abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic. Aim: We aimed to describe the extent of RKI cross-border contact tracing and the challenges experienced. Methods:We analysed cross-border COVID-19 contact tracing events from 03 February to 05 April 2020 using information exchanged through the European “Early Warning Response System” (EWRS) as well as communication with International Health Regulation (IHR) national focal points. We described events by PHA involved, number of contact persons and exposure context. Results:The RKI processed 467 events, initiating contact to PHA 1,099 times (median 1, IQR [1;2]) and sharing data on 5,099 contact persons. Of 327 (70%) events with known exposure context, most common reported were exposures on aircraft 64 (14%), on cruise ships 24 (5%) and exposures related to non-transport contexts 210 (45%). Cruise ship and aircraft exposures yielded higher median numbers of authorities contacted (10[2;16], 4[2;11]) and contact persons (60 [9;269], 2[1;3]) than non-transport related exposures (1[1;6] and 1[1;2]), respectively. The median time spend on contact tracing activities was the highest for cruise ships: 5 days [IQR 3;9]. Conclusion:In the current COVID-19 pandemic cross-border contact tracing is considered a critical component of the outbreak response. While the majority of international contact tracing activities did not relate to exposure events in transport, they contributed substantially to the workload. The numerous communications highlight the need for fast and efficient global outbreak communication channels between PHA.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202102.0557.v1
Subject: Keywords: Civil Society; Climate Politics; Environmental Governance; Faith-Based Environmentalism; Faith-Based Nonprofits; Global Governance; International Relations; Religion and Ecology; Religion and Society; Sustainability
Online: 24 February 2021 (16:45:12 CET)
How much is religion quantitatively involved in global climate politics? After assessing the role of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from a normative perspective, this descriptive, transdisciplinary and unconventional study offers the first comprehensive quantitative examination of religious nongovernmental organizations that formally participate in its annual meetings, the largest attempts to solve the climate crisis through global governance. This study finds that although their numbers are growing, only about 3 percent of registered nongovernmental organizations accredited to participate in the conference are overtly religious in nature — and that more than 80 percent of those faith-based groups are Christian. Additionally, this study finds that religious nongovernmental organizations that participate in the conference are mostly from the Global North. The results call for greater participation of religious institutions in the international climate negotiations in order for society to address the planetary emergency of climate change.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0029.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Keywords: Mobility; infrastructure; flexible pavement; pavement condition index (PCI); international roughness index (IRI); artificial intelligence (AI); predictive models; ensemble learning; structural health monitoring; machine learning
Online: 3 April 2020 (09:35:44 CEST)
The construction of different roads, such as freeways, highways, major roads or minor roads must be accompanied by constant monitoring and evaluation of service delivery. Pavements are generally assessed by engineers in terms of the smoothness, surface condition, structural condition and surface safety. Pavement assessment is often conducted using the qualitative indices such as international roughness index (IRI), pavement condition index (PCI), structural condition index (SCI) and skid resistance value (SRV), which are used for smoothness assessment, surface condition assessment, structural condition assessment, and surface safety assessment, respectively. In this paper, Tehran-Qom Freeway in Iran has been selected as the case study and its smoothness and pavement surface conditions are assessed. At 2-km intervals, a 100-meter sample unit is selected in the slow-speed lane (totally, 118 sample units). In these sample units, the PCI is calculated after a visual inspection of the pavement and the recording of distresses. Then, in each sample unit, the average IRI is computed. The purpose of this study is to provide a method for estimating PCI based on IRI. The proposed theory was developed by Random Forest (RF), and Random Forest optimized by Genetic Algorithm (RF-GA) methods and these methods were validated using correlation coefficient (CC), scattered index (SI), and Willmott’s index of agreement (WI) criteria. The proposed method reduces costs, saves time and eliminates the safety risks.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0791.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: COVID-19 Vaccines; Cross-Sectional Studies; Decision Making; Dental Education; Dental Students; International Association of Dental Students; Mass Vaccination; Multicenter Study; Social Determinants of Health
Online: 30 April 2021 (15:26:07 CEST)
Background: Acceleration of mass vaccination strategies is the only pathway to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare professionals and students have a key role in shaping public opinion about vaccines. This study aimed to evaluate the attitudes of dental students globally towards COVID-19 vaccines and explore the potential drivers for students' acceptance levels; Methods: A global cross-sectional study was carried out in February 2021 using an online ques-tionnaire. The study was liaised by the scientific committee of the International Association of Dental Students (IADS), and data was collected through the national and local coordinators of IADS member organizations. The dependent variable was the willingness to take the COVID-19 vaccine, and the independent variables included demographic characteristics, COVID-19-related experi-ence, and the drivers of COVID-19 vaccine-related attitude suggested by the WHO-SAGE; Results: A total of 6639 students from 22 countries representing all world regions responded to the ques-tionnaire properly. Their mean age was 22.06 ± 2.79 (17-40) years, and the majority were females (70.5%), in clinical years (66.8%), and from upper-middle-income economies (45.7%). In general, 22.5% of dental students worldwide were hesitant, and 13.9% rejected COVID-19 vaccines. The students in low- and lower-middle-income (LLMI) economies had significantly higher levels of vaccine hesitancy compared to their peers in upper-middle- and high-income (UMHI) economies (30.4% vs 19.8%; p < 0.001); Conclusions: The global acceptance level of dental students for COVID-19 vaccines was suboptimal, and their worrisome level of vaccine hesitancy was influenced by the socioeconomic context where the dental students live and study. The media and social media, public figures, insufficient knowledge about vaccines, and mistrust of governments and the pharmaceutical industry were barriers to vaccination. The findings of this study call for further implementation of epidemiology (infectious diseases) education within undergraduate dental curricula.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0373.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells; regenerative medicine; tissue engineering; Clinical Application; Differentiation Capacity; Cellular Immunomodulation; Inflammation; Signaling Cells; Transplantation; International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy
Online: 15 March 2021 (11:51:28 CET)
Early reports demonstrated the presence of cells with stem-like properties in bone marrow, with these cells having both hematopoietic and mesenchymal lineages. Over the years, various investigations have purified and characterized mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) from different human tissues as cells with multi-lineage differentiation potential under the appropriate conditions. Due to their appealing characteristics and potential, MSCs are leveraged in many applications including medicine, oncology, bioprinting and as recent as treatment of COVID-19. To date, reports indicate mesenchymal stromal/stem cells have varied differentiation capabilities into different cell types and demonstrate immunomodulating and anti-inflammatory properties. Reports indicate that different MSCs microenvironments or niche and the resulting heterogeneity may influence their behavior and differentiation capacity. The potential clinical applications of mesenchymal stromal/stem cells have led to an avalanche of research reports on their properties and hundreds of clinical trials being undertaken. The future looks bright and promising for mesenchymal stem cell research with many clinical trials under way to prove their utility in many applications and in the clinic. This report provides an update on the potential broader use of mesenchymal stromal/stem cells, review early observations of the presence of these cells in the bone marrow and their magnificent differentiation capabilities and immunomodulation.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201807.0632.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: EU legislation; plant health; invasive alien species; Fusarium circinatum; pitch canker; contingency plan; Pest risk analysis (PRA); international standards for phytosanitary measures (ISPMs); EPPO Standards
Online: 31 July 2018 (22:45:32 CEST)
The increase in arrivals of new forest pests highlights the need for effective phytosanitary legislation and measures. This paper introduces legislation targeted at prevention and management of potential introductions of forest pests and pathogens. A summary is given on plant health regulations on a global and regional level with detailed information on the situation in the European Union (EU). The current and new European legislation is discussed and a particular focus is given on eradication and contingency plans for Fusarium circinatum.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0068.v2
Subject: Social Sciences, Business And Administrative Sciences Keywords: Cross-Border Electronic Commerce (CBEC); Export Marketing Strategy (EMS); International Dynamic Marketing Capability (IDMC); Dynamic Managerial Capability (DMC); Entrepreneuri-al Orientation; Networking Capability; Versatile Dynamic Capability
Online: 4 January 2022 (20:26:24 CET)
For better export marketing strategies (EMS), companies mobilize their internal resources, which are managerial commitment, firm experience, and product uniqueness. However, Small businesses with constrained resources cannot be well explained with this view. So, more research on how small business come up with EMS have been called for. To explain how resource-restricted firms which rely heavely on entrepreneur, this study adopted the concept of dynamic managerial capabilities (DMCs) and resource versatility to better explain small business exports. We analyzed small businesses in Mongolia with qualitative research methods, including interviews with entrepreneurs and support organizations, site visits, and group discussions. We suggest international dynamic marketing capabilities (IDMCs), which are entrepreneurial orientation, networking capability, and versatile dynamic capability for small business. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.