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See detailFeasibility Analysis of Blockchain for Donation-based Crowdfunding of Ethical Projects
Khan, Nida UL; Ouaich, Rachid

in AUEIRC Proceeedings (in press)

Donation is a necessary social tool that is plagued by many inherent shortcomings. A novel model in the form of a decentralized app was designed in the Ethereum blockchain to solve the challenges present ... [more ▼]

Donation is a necessary social tool that is plagued by many inherent shortcomings. A novel model in the form of a decentralized app was designed in the Ethereum blockchain to solve the challenges present and optimize the process of Zakaah donation. Load and stress tests on the prototype of the smart contract in the public testnet of Ethereum were analyzed to gauge the feasibility of mass usage. Similar tests were done in Hyperledger to conclude on the optimum blockchain platform for Zakaah. An anomaly was detected during the testing phase of the decentralized app in the public testnet of Ethereum and it was exploited to propose a novel strategy to enhance the throughput of Ethereum. The testing is a pioneer in evaluating the throughput and feasibility of a blockchain based financial product and provides a benchmark to validate the business and technical hypotheses of other similar financial products and services. [less ▲]

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See detailThe competence to conclude the new generation of free trade agreements: lessons from Opinion 2/15
Neframi, Eleftheria UL

in Chaisse, Julien (Ed.) China-European Union Investment Relationships (in press)

Opinion 2/15 addresses the question of the external competence of the EU to conclude a free trade agreement with Singapore (EUSFTA). The nature of the EU’s competence determines the conclusion of an EU ... [more ▼]

Opinion 2/15 addresses the question of the external competence of the EU to conclude a free trade agreement with Singapore (EUSFTA). The nature of the EU’s competence determines the conclusion of an EU-only agreement, or a mixed agreement, jointly by the Union and its Member States. The Court of Justice of the European Union held that the EU competence to conclude the EUSFTA is not exclusive, as long as provisions concerning non-direct investments and dispute settlement fall under the shared competence of the Union and its Member States. The Court of Justice made valuable contributions to the interpretation of the scope of the Union’s competence in the field of common commercial policy, comprising sustainable development provisions, as well as to the interpretation of implied external competences, and clarified the status of non-substantive provisions. However, uncertainty remains as far as the meaning and the impact of a shared competence are concerned. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Search for Yield: Implications to Alternative Investments
Lehnert, Thorsten UL; Kräussl, Roman UL; Rinne, Kalle UL

in Journal of Empirical Finance (in press)

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See detailDoes Oil and Gold Price Uncertainty matter for the Stock Market?
Lehnert, Thorsten UL; Bams, D.; Blanchard, G. et al

in Journal of Empirical Finance (in press)

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See detailAutomatic Generation of Tests to Exploit XML Injection Vulnerabilities in Web Applications
Jan, Sadeeq UL; Panichella, Annibale UL; Arcuri, Andrea UL et al

in IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering (in press)

Modern enterprise systems can be composed of many web services (e.g., SOAP and RESTful). Users of such systems might not have direct access to those services, and rather interact with them through a ... [more ▼]

Modern enterprise systems can be composed of many web services (e.g., SOAP and RESTful). Users of such systems might not have direct access to those services, and rather interact with them through a single-entry point which provides a GUI (e.g., a web page or a mobile app). Although the interactions with such entry point might be secure, a hacker could trick such systems to send malicious inputs to those internal web services. A typical example is XML injection targeting SOAP communications. Previous work has shown that it is possible to automatically generate such kind of attacks using search-based techniques. In this paper, we improve upon previous results by providing more efficient techniques to generate such attacks. In particular, we investigate four different algorithms and two different fitness functions. A large empirical study, involving also two industrial systems, shows that our technique is effective at automatically generating XML injection attacks. [less ▲]

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See detailEfficacy of metacognitive therapy in improving mental health: A meta-analysis of single-case studies
Rochat, Lucien; Manolov, Rumen; Billieux, Joël UL

in Journal of Clinical Psychology (in press)

Context. Metacognitive therapy and one of its treatment components, the attention training technique are increasingly being delivered to improve mental health. Objective. To examine the efficacy of ... [more ▼]

Context. Metacognitive therapy and one of its treatment components, the attention training technique are increasingly being delivered to improve mental health. Objective. To examine the efficacy of metacognitive therapy and/or attention training technique on mental health outcomes from single-case studies. Methods. Fourteen studies (53 patients) were included. The d-statistic for multiple baseline data and the percentage change index were used to compute the effect sizes. Results. Metacognitive therapy has a large effect on depression, anxiety, other psychopathological symptoms, and all outcomes together. Effect sizes were significantly moderated by the number of sessions, the severity and duration of symptoms, and patient gender, but not by study quality or attention training technique when used as a stand-alone treatment. At the follow-up, 77.36% of the individuals were considered recovered or had maintained improvement. Conclusion. Metacognitive therapy and attention training technique strongly contribute to improving mental health outcomes. This study effectively informs evidence-based practice in the clinical milieu. [less ▲]

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See detailDo tonic itch and pain stimuli draw attention towards their location?
Van Laarhoven, Antoinette; Van Damme, , Dimitri Marcel Leon Van Ryckeghem, G Crombez, and Andrea Evers, Stefaan; Lavrijsen, A. P. et al

in BioMed Research International (in press)

Background: Although itch and pain are distinct experiences, both are unpleasant, and may demand attention and interfere with daily activities. Research investigating the role of attention in tonic itch ... [more ▼]

Background: Although itch and pain are distinct experiences, both are unpleasant, and may demand attention and interfere with daily activities. Research investigating the role of attention in tonic itch and pain stimuli, particularly whether attention is drawn to the stimulus location, is scarce. Methods: In the somatosensory attention task, fifty-three healthy participants were exposed to 35-seconds electrical itch or pain stimuli on either the left or right wrist. Participants responded as quickly as possible to visual targets appearing at the stimulated location (ipsilateral trials) or at the arm without stimulation (contralateral trials). During control blocks, participants performed the visual task without stimulation. Attention allocation at the itch and pain location is inferred when responses are faster ipsilaterally than contralaterally. Results: Results did not indicate that attention was directed towards or away from the itch and pain location. Notwithstanding, participants were slower during itch and pain than during control blocks. Conclusions: In contrast with our hypotheses, no indications were found for spatial attention allocation towards the somatosensory stimuli. This may relate to dynamic shifts in attention over the time course of the tonic sensations. Our secondary finding that itch and pain interfere with task performance is in line with attention theories of bodily perception. [less ▲]

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See detailAbsence of regulator of G-protein signaling 4 does not protect against dopamine neuron dysfunction and injury in the mouse 6-hydroxydopamine lesion model of Parkinson's disease
Ashrafi, Amer UL; Garcia, Pierre UL; Kollmus, Heike et al

in Neurobiology of Aging (in press)

Regulator of G-Protein Signaling 4 (RGS4), a member of the RGS family of proteins that inactivate G-proteins, has gained interest as a potential drug target for neurological disorders, such as epilepsy ... [more ▼]

Regulator of G-Protein Signaling 4 (RGS4), a member of the RGS family of proteins that inactivate G-proteins, has gained interest as a potential drug target for neurological disorders, such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease (PD). In the case of PD, the main current option for alleviating motor symptoms are dopamine replacement therapies, which have limitations because of side effects, and reduced effectiveness over the long term. Research on new non-dopaminergic PD drug targets has indicated that inhibition of RGS4 could be an effective adjuvant treatment option. The effectiveness of RGS4 inhibition for an array of PD-linked functional and structural neuroprotection endpoints has not yet been demonstrated. Here, we use the 6-Hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesioning model of the nigrostriatal pathway in mice to address this question. We observe, using a battery of behavioral and pathological measures, that mice deficient for RGS4 are not protected from 6-OHDA induced injury, and show enhanced susceptibility in some measures of motor function. Our results suggest that inhibition of RGS4 as a non-dopaminergic target for PD should be approached with caution. [less ▲]

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See detailGesellschaftskritische Orientierungen linker Aktivisten – Ergebnisse einer qualitativen Studie.
Kühnel, Wolfgang; Willems, Helmut UL

in Behrmann, Günter C.; Schürmann, Eberhard; Willems, Helmut (Eds.) Der Felsengärtner. Freundesgabe für Roland Eckert. (in press)

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See detailDer Felsengärtner. Freundesgabe für Roland Eckert.
Behrmann, Günter C.; Schürmann, Eberhard; Willems, Helmut UL

Book published by Spurbuch Verlag (in press)

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See detailSchulische und außerschulische Jugendbildung. Konzepte, Zielsetzung, pädagogische Ansätze.
Würtz, Stefanie; Willems, Helmut UL

in Behrmann, Günter C.; Schürmann, Eberhard; Willems, Helmut (Eds.) Der Felsengärtner. Freundesgabe für Roland Eckert. (in press)

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See detailA structure-activity relationship linking non-planar PCBs to functional deficits of neural crest cells: new roles for connexins
Nyffeler, Johanna; Chovancova, Petra; Dolde, Xenia et al

in Archives of Toxicology (in press)

Migration of neural crest cells (NCC) is a fundamental developmental process, and test methods to identify interfering toxicants have been developed. By examining cell function endpoints, as in the ... [more ▼]

Migration of neural crest cells (NCC) is a fundamental developmental process, and test methods to identify interfering toxicants have been developed. By examining cell function endpoints, as in the ‘migration-inhibition of NCC (cMINC)’ assay, a large number of toxicity mechanisms and protein targets can be covered. However, the key events that lead to the adverse effects of a given chemical or group of related compounds are hard to elucidate. To address this issue, we explored here, whether the establishment of two overlapping structure–activity relationships (SAR)—linking chemical structure on the one hand to a phenotypic test outcome, and on the other hand to a mechanistic endpoint—was useful as strategy to identify relevant toxicity mechanisms. For this purpose, we chose polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) as a large group of related, but still toxicologically and physicochemically diverse structures. We obtained concentration-dependent data for 26 PCBs in the cMINC assay. Moreover, the test chemicals were evaluated by a new high-content imaging method for their effect on cellular re-distribution of connexin43 and for their capacity to inhibit gap junctions. Non-planar PCBs inhibited NCC migration. The potency (1–10 μM) correlated with the number of ortho-chlorine substituents; non-ortho-chloro (planar) PCBs were non-toxic. The toxicity to NCC partially correlated with gap junction inhibition, while it fully correlated (p < 0.0004) with connexin43 cellular re-distribution. Thus, our double-SAR strategy revealed a mechanistic step tightly linked to NCC toxicity of PCBs. Connexin43 patterns in NCC may be explored as a new endpoint relevant to developmental toxicity screening. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Matthew Effect in Electoral Campaigns: Increase in Policy Congruence Inequality During the Campaign
Walgrave, Stefaan; Lesschaeve, Christophe UL

in Electoral Studies : An International Journal (in press)

Previous studies have almost consistently found differences between lower and higher educated voters regarding their policy congruence, the policy position agreement between voters and their party. This ... [more ▼]

Previous studies have almost consistently found differences between lower and higher educated voters regarding their policy congruence, the policy position agreement between voters and their party. This study analyses the role of a campaign herein. Based on novel panel evidence with an extensive battery of policy statements, combined with a survey of party leaders using the same items, we find that, more than the lowly educated, the highly educated profit from the campaign to increase their policy congruence. The reason for the increased inequality is that the later switch parties more often during the campaign than the former. Our evidence also suggests that the higher educated switch parties because this may increase their policy congruence. In sum, the campaign produces a Matthew effect. Those already having a higher policy congruence increase their congruence even further, while those with a lower congruence to start with, do not make any significant progress. [less ▲]

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See detailAn Experience Report On Applying Software Testing Academic Results In Industry: We Need Usable Automated Test Generation
Arcuri, Andrea UL

in Empirical Software Engineering (in press)

What is the impact of software engineering research on current practices in industry? In this paper, I report on my direct experience as a PhD/post-doc working in software engineering research projects ... [more ▼]

What is the impact of software engineering research on current practices in industry? In this paper, I report on my direct experience as a PhD/post-doc working in software engineering research projects, and then spending the following five years as an engineer in two different companies (the first one being the same I worked in collaboration with during my post-doc). Given a background in software engineering research, what cutting-edge techniques and tools from academia did I use in my daily work when developing and testing the systems of these companies? Regarding validation and verification (my main area of research), the answer is rather short: as far as I can tell, only FindBugs. In this paper, I report on why this was the case, and discuss all the challenging, complex open problems we face in industry and which somehow are ``neglected'' in the academic circles. In particular, I will first discuss what actual tools I could use in my daily work, such as JaCoCo and Selenium. Then, I will discuss the main open problems I faced, particularly related to environment simulators, unit and web testing. After that, popular topics in academia are presented, such as UML, regression and mutation testing. Their lack of impact on the type of projects I worked on in industry is then discussed. Finally, from this industrial experience, I provide my opinions about how this situation can be improved, in particular related to how academics are evaluated, and advocate for a greater involvement into open-source projects. [less ▲]

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See detail(Re)shaping Educational Research through ‘Programification’: Institutional Expansion, Change, and Translation in Norway
Zapp, Mike UL; Helgetun, Jo B.; Powell, Justin J W UL

in European Journal of Education (in press), 52

Educational research in Norway has experienced unprecedented structural expansion as well as cognitive shifts over the past two decades, especially due to increased state investments and the strategic use ... [more ▼]

Educational research in Norway has experienced unprecedented structural expansion as well as cognitive shifts over the past two decades, especially due to increased state investments and the strategic use of extensive and multi-year thematic programs to fund research projects. Applying a neo-institutionalist framework, we examine institutionalization dynamics in cultural-cognitive, normative, and regulative dimensions over the past two decades using interviews, research program calls, policy documents, and funding data. In the cultural-cognitive dimension, we find references to the knowledge society, the importance of evidence in policy-making, and ideas of quality, excellence, and relevance. In the normative dimension, we find the introduction of new professional and methodological standards, reflecting broader global patterns of academic and epistemic drift. In the regulative dimension, the strengthened role of both government and the Research Council of Norway is manifest in substantial growth in both funding and large-scale, long-term planning, including thematic choices—evidence of ‘programification’. The importance of external models has grown in an era of internationalization, yet translation occurs at every level of governance of educational research. This results in a specific Norwegian research model, guided by a mode of governance of programs, that maintains social values traditionally strong in Nordic societies. [less ▲]

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See detailComputational systems biology approaches for Parkinson's disease
Glaab, Enrico UL

in Cell & Tissue Research (in press)

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a prime example of a complex and heterogeneous disorder, characterized by multifaceted and varied motor- and non-motor symptoms and different possible interplays of genetic and ... [more ▼]

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a prime example of a complex and heterogeneous disorder, characterized by multifaceted and varied motor- and non-motor symptoms and different possible interplays of genetic and environmental risk factors. While investigations of individual PD-causing mutations and risk factors in isolation are providing important insights to improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind PD, there is a growing consensus that a more complete understanding of these mechanisms will require an integrative modeling of multifactorial disease-associated perturbations in molecular networks. Identifying and interpreting the combinatorial effects of multiple PD-associated molecular changes may pave the way towards an earlier and reliable diagnosis and more effective therapeutic interventions. This review provides an overview of computational systems biology approaches developed in recent years to study multifactorial molecular alterations in complex disorders, with a focus on PD research applications. Strengths and weaknesses of different cellular pathway and network analyses, and multivariate machine learning techniques for investigating PD-related omics data are discussed, and strategies proposed to exploit the synergies of multiple biological knowledge and data sources. A final outlook provides an overview of specific challenges and possible next steps for translating systems biology findings in PD to new omics-based diagnostic tools and targeted, drug-based therapeutic approaches. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Controlled Foreign Company Regime
Haslehner, Werner UL

in Weber, Dennis; Van de Streek, Jan (Eds.) The EU Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base - Critical Analysis (in press)

The Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) regime proposed by the Commission as part of the newly launched Common Corporate Tax Base (CCTB) project reflects the perceived need to strengthen the Union’s anti-tax ... [more ▼]

The Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) regime proposed by the Commission as part of the newly launched Common Corporate Tax Base (CCTB) project reflects the perceived need to strengthen the Union’s anti-tax avoidance measures, and specifically to discourage profit shifting to low-tax jurisdictions. The proposed rule largely reflects previous work done by the OECD as part of the BEPS project and the EU implementation measures in the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD), but it deviates from both in a number of its details. This contribution aims to provide a first technical analysis of the provision to reveal its scope, its mechanism, and apparent shortcomings. It furthermore tries to imbed it in its context of existing primary and secondary EU law. [less ▲]

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See detailA Latent State-Trait Analysis of Interoceptive Accuracy
Wittkamp, M.; Bertsch, K.; Vögele, Claus UL et al

in Psychophysiology (in press)

Interoceptive accuracy (IAc), i.e. the ability to accurately perceive one’s own bodily signals, is widely assumed to be a trait, although experimental manipulations, such as stress, may affect IAc. We ... [more ▼]

Interoceptive accuracy (IAc), i.e. the ability to accurately perceive one’s own bodily signals, is widely assumed to be a trait, although experimental manipulations, such as stress, may affect IAc. We used structural equation modeling to estimate the reliability of IAc, and the proportions of individual differences in IAc, explained by a trait and occasion-specific effects of situation and person-situation interactions. We assessed IAc in 59 healthy participants (40 women, MAge = 23.4 years) on three consecutive measurement occasions, approx. one week apart, in a ‘rest’ and ‘poststress’ condition, using a heartbeat counting and a heartbeat discrimination task. The results show fair temporal stability (intraclass correlation coefficients ≥ 0.38) and good reliability (Mdn = .63; range .49-.83) for both methods. While around 40% of the variance of a single IAc measurement could be explained by a trait, approx. 27% were accounted for by occasion-specific effects of situation and person-situation interaction. These results suggest that IAc measures are relatively consistent and that situations and person-situation interactions impact IAc as measured at a certain point in time. An aggregation across at least two measurements is recommended when using IAc as a trait variable. [less ▲]

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