Virtual Nordic ISS Seminar Consortium
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Below you can see the list of past seminars. 

September 4 - Aalto University School of Business

Information Systems Science at Aalto University School of Business has a strong focus on empirical studies and active cooperation with companies. Besides theoretical contributions, ISS studies often emphasize practical relevance. Our research deals with adoption, use and impacts of ICT on consumers, companies, and society at large. We use multi-disciplinary approaches and apply theories from a number of reference disciplines, including management, organization sciences, marketing, and economics. Wide range of both qualitative and quantitative methods are used and often triangulated. Research teams and projects are encouraged. Most projects have both national and international partners, and the results of our research are targeted at top tier academic journals. Read more.


Esko Penttinen's Presentation

Understanding the Development of Latent Skill Erosion in the Age of Knowledge-Work Automation

With Tapani Rinta-Kahila, Antti Salovaara, and Wael Soliman.

Abstract: Information systems enable organizations to automate more and more of their knowledge-work tasks. Though offering higher efficiency and lower costs, automation can exacerbate erosion of humans’ skills. Scholars have charted antecedents to technology-induced skill erosion but have not examined how dividing the work between humans and automated systems affects that erosion over time. To identify such mechanisms, the authors conducted a case study of an accounting firm where workers gradually lost their skills through years of reliance on software’s automated functions. Analysis building on Braverman’s classic distinction between conception and execution found that when data‑processing tasks’ execution was assigned to automation, the accountants’ skills began to erode as they relinquished their conception of the tasks. The article explains why skill erosion is a process that may occur latently, acknowledged by neither workers nor managers. It discusses these insights’ implications for theory and practice, also identifying directions for future research.

See the slides here

Yong Liu's Presentation

Robotic Service Property and Service Performance: Modeling the Effect of Robotic Cuteness on Users Responses - Research-in-progress

Abstract: Even though AI service robots, with anthropomorphic features, are expected to replace human personal to offer customers services, recent laboratory studies warn about consumers resistance to such replacement due to the barriers, such as a lack of trust and perceptions of threats. In this study, we explore consumers evaluations on utilitarian, hedonic and anthropomorphic properties of AI service robots, and their respective impacts on consumers responses (customer satisfaction and delight) in real business contexts of hotel operations. Through studying consumer reviews on robotic service of the hotels implementing AI service robot, we find that consumers evaluations on utilitarian property associates with a high customer satisfaction, while evaluations on hedonic property lead to customer delight. Evaluations on robot anthropomorphic property of cuteness increase both customer satisfaction and delight. Compared to the customers without using robotic service, customers who used robotic service expressed more joy in their reviews. and are more likely to re-patronage the service brand, resulting in more future customer reviews. Through an analysis of over 12 million customer reviews, we demonstrated that hotels deploying service robots achieve significant better business performance than the hotels not implementing the service.

September 11 - Copenhagen Business School
Till Winkler's Presentation

IT Service Management Practices, Capability, and Strategies for the Digital Era

See the slides here

Attila Marton's Presentation

Digital Ecology

The notion of digital ecosystem has become a fruitful metaphor for examining the contemporary effects of digitalization across boundaries of organization, industry, lifeworld, mind, and body. In economic terms, the metaphor has inspired IS research into new kinds of business constellations while, in engineering terms, it has led to important insights into the design and governance of digital platforms. Approaching digital ecosystems studies in these terms, however, makes it difficult to trace and explain those effects of digitalization, which do not materialize predominantly in economic and engineering patterns. Hence, important relationships and their effects may go unnoticed. In response, I draw on the ecological epistemology of Gregory Bateson to complement economic and engineering approaches with an ecological understanding of digital ecosystems. Such an understanding, I argue, expands the possibilities for tracing and explaining the wide reaching, boundary crossing effects of digitalization and the runaway dynamics they may lead to. I suggest to do this based on three tenets of ecological thinking: (1) part-of-ness – phenomena are to be observed as always part of a larger ecosystem; (2) systemic wisdom – ecosystems have limits, which need to be respected; and (3) information ecosystems – ecosystems are not mechanical but informational, cognitive systems. As my contribution, I propose six avenues for future IS research into digital ecology, examining digital ecosystems as actual rather than metaphorical ecological systems.

See the slides here

September 18 - Uppsala University
Owen Eriksson's Presentation

Digital institutionalization: The digital construction of reality.

Institutional reality is changing as a result of digitalization, and “Digital institutionalization” is changing the way we think about, and create the entities of institutional reality. The creation, exchange and use of institutional entities such as medical prescriptions, owners, traffic vehicles, patient records, products, purchase orders, money, insurances, taxes etc., are fundamental for society. Digital infrastructures are one of the most powerful forces of institutional change, because they change social interaction and practices on a mass scale. Digital infrastructures in institutional contexts mediates rights (deontic powers) conforming to conceptualizations, rules and norms. Digital institutionalization relates to the ontology status of information systems. Information systems are not just “Representations of reality” they are used to constitute digital institutional reality. This relates to ontological questions such as:

  • What entities exists?
  • How and where do they exist?
  • How do we identify them?

However, these questions and the answers to them, are not only of interest for philosophical reasons. They have theoretical and practical implications for conceptual modelling, digital infrastructure design, and the digitalization of institutions and practices.

See the slides here

Elin Uppström's Presentation

Facilitating the creation of sustainable digital innovation in the cultural heritage domain.

With Carl-Mikael Lönn

In this early research in progress we study digital innovations developed within an incubator program offered by the Swedish National Heritage Board. The incubator gives support to entrepreneurs and businesses in developing and realizing innovative ideas related to cultural heritage. The overall objective of the incubator is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship related to digitization, digital availability and digital dissemination. Through interviews, observations and secondary sources we investigate values that are enabled by the digital innovations, the innovation ecosystem surrounding digital innovations, the digital business models supporting the innovations, and co-creation and co-destruction of value. 
 All of the innovations increase the availability to the cultural heritage and many of the studied innovations augments and form a rich experience of the cultural heritage through different techniques such as augmented reality, virtual reality, immersive media and storytelling. Although, these promising innovations enriches and provide interesting ways to experience cultural heritage, we identified barriers for creating viable and sustainable digital business models. We also see an innovation ecosystem for digitalization of cultural heritage that includes several important players, where value is co-created and co-destructed. Contradictions in the relationships within the ecosystem are also observed, especially related to open data. By reasoning on these observations, we contribute with knowledge on how digital innovation within the cultural heritage can benefit from further incorporating the ideas of open innovation and co-creation.

September 25 - University of Agder
Sara Hofmann's Presentation

Uncovering the multifaceted concept of digitalisation: How do researchers and practitioners define public sector digitalisation?

For decades, the public sector employs ICT to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of both internal processes and interactions with external stakeholders. Ever since, researchers have investigated potentials and consequences of the widespread use of ICT in the public domain. However, they do so by referring to the same phenomenon under a multitude of labels, such as digitalisation, e-government, and – lately – digital transformation. Similarly, practitioners use different words to describe the similar or same process: the widespread use of ever more sophisticated technologies within public administrations. Our research sets out to uncover the different meanings of the term ‘digitalisation’ both in research and practice. We apply an exploratory approach and conduct a structured literature review to account for the use of the term in research. To uncover different meanings of the term in practice, we conducted 16 semi-structured qualitative interviews with public servants from different administrative levels in Germany. Results of both analyses provide insights into existing ambiguities related to the use of this term in a public sector context. Neither researchers nor practitioners seem to share a common understanding of what digitalisation is. In total, we derive eight different themes to which researchers and practitioners are referring when talking about digitalisation. Our analysis highlights the need for a more stringent use of terms and the need to be more explicit about the meaning attached to commonly used concepts.

See the slides here

Øystein Sæbø's Presentation

What to open and what not: the role of digital technologies for balancing open practices within organizations.

Contemporary organisations are increasingly adopting open practices. Although openness in general is considered a positive quality, tensions concerning openness and closure exist and should be investigated, along with the role that digital technologies play in openness and closure for organisations. I’ll here address these issues by discussing how digital technologies help organisations balance openness and closure. Based on a longitudinal qualitative study of a social movement organisation (the Italian political movement named The Five Star Movement) we have explored how the levels of control and exchange between the internal and external parts of an organisation vary. As a result, we propose three archetypical configurations of organisational openness (Agora, Open Access and Selective Openness) that I would like to present and discuss. Furthermore, we reflect on the role of digital technologies within these configurations, reflecting on how they may play different roles in supporting openness and closure. The presentation is based on work conducted by Alessio Maria Braccini, Tommaso Federici and Øystein Sæbø.

October 2 - University of Jyväskylä
Markus Salo's Presentation

A Set of Recent Studies on Technostress

Technostress refers to the situation of stress that an individual experiences due to her/his use of technology. Researchers and practitioners have highlighted that technostress is common and contributes to severe outcomes such as decreased well-being, reduced work productivity, and even burnout. Therefore, it is important to understand the causes and outcomes of technostress in various contexts as well as users’ ways for mitigating technostress. This presentation elaborates on the selected findings from a set of our recent studies on technostress and coping in both work and non-work contexts. Furthermore, we share thoughts about lessons learned from studying technostress and publishing technostress research in information systems (IS) journals and conferences. Overall, improved understanding on technostress can pave the way for better work productivity and well-being.

ResearchGate Profile / Markus Salo: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Markus_Salo

See the slides here

Tuure Tuunanen's Presentation

Concurrent Design and Evaluation Methodology for Design Science Research

October 16 - University of Oulu
Oulu Advanced Research on Service and Information Systems (OASIS)

OASIS research unit within University of Oulu studies user behaviors and behavior change. Much of the work is in the intersection of information systems, behavioral science and health. In so doing, we focus on digital interventions and their design as persuasive technologies. Also the darker side of information technology including unintended consequences in spite of positive intent is addressed. More information: oasis.oulu.fi.

Harri Oinas-Kukkonen's Presentation

Persuasive systems design for digital interventions: Case obesity and metabolic syndrome

This presentation will briefly describe the Persuasive Systems Design (PSD) model and the Behavior Change Support Systems framework (BCSS) for designing, evaluating and researching digital interventions. These provide an approach for digital intervention development and explain what kind of software functionality to implement in such systems. The PSD and BCSS can be used for evaluating both full-fledged interventions and lighter applications, their design and development, carrying out systematic literature reviews, designing and managing user experience, and digital intervention outcome research. Some interesting results from research project on prevention of obesity and metabolic syndrome will be presented. See the slides here
 
Harri Oinas-Kukkonen, Ph.D., is Professor of information systems science and Dean of Graduate School (doctoral education) in the University of Oulu, Finland. His research has been published in a variety of computer science, information systems, human-computer interaction, management and innovation, and health and medical informatics journals. He is a co-author of the book “Humanizing the Web: Change and Social Innovation” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). His main research interests include digital interventions, behavior change, and persuasive systems design.

INTERACT Research Unit

INTERACT Research Unit, University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, specializes in research and education on human-centered design and digitalization. INTERACT research contributes to Information Systems and Human Computer Interaction research with three main research themes: Politics of design; Digital Transformation; and Usability and User Experience (UX). For politics of design, INTERACT will contribute to emerging IS and HCI research interest on power and politics around design and technology, relying on critical research and design and Scandinavian Participatory Design traditions, addressing the topics in societal level as well as in close collaboration with children and schools. The digital transformation research stream is a more recent opening, improving our understanding of digital technologies’ role in industry and organization level transformation. One of our focus areas is the strong interdependence between public policy making and technology development, adoption and use on an industry-level and organization-level. We closely collaborate with the Finnish taxi industry. Finally, the Usability and User Experience research stream builds on over 30 years of INTERACT research, with focus on defining and evaluating usability and UX of various digital artefacts, theoretical development of usability and UX concepts and methods development to keep up with emerging challenges and developments in socio-technical digitalization. http://interact.oulu.fi/

Karin Väyrynen's Presentation

Digital transformation of the Finnish taxi industry: Policy ambiguity and the rule of law

Governments and policy makers react to digital transformation at the level of industries and societies. A practical example of this is the rise of ridesharing services, which has created a legal grey area and has required cities and countries to re-consider existing taxi market regulation. In Finland, the taxi industry has been de-regulated in 2018, and – with the intention to make Uber-type services legal – the previous specific and clear taximeter regulation was replaced with an ambiguous one. In this seminar, I will address three related topics: (1) policy ambiguity and the rule of law, (2) relational digital transformation, and (3) how IS research can have an impact on policy making. I will introduce our ongoing research on the ambiguous taximeter regulation. I will introduce a number of concepts from legal studies that we deem useful when studying regulation and digital transformation. Regulations are one amongst many factors that affect the digital transformation of an industry. Current conceptualizations of digital transformation largely attribute transformation to intentionality, often focus on transformation within a single organization, or assign technology the role of a disruptive agent of change. In our study of the digital transformation of the Finnish taxi industry we realized that above conceptualization does not quite apply to what happened in Finland over the past 10 years. I will introduce relational digital transformation, a practice-theoretical approach we developed to study industry-level digital transformation without attributing change agency to any entities a priori. Finally, I will briefly talk about how or research has impacted policy making in Finland.

See the slides here

October 23 - Åbo Akademi
Anna Sell's Presentation

IT mindfulness and complex task performance

Information technology mindfulness is defined as a dynamic individual trait evident when working with information technology. It is characterized by a focus on the present, attention to detail and an openness to using features in novel ways and to investigating new features. It has been suggested that higher levels of IT mindfulness are linked to better task performance and might be useful in alleviating technostress. On the other hand, being mindful is cognitively taxing. Operating mindlessly, relying on routines, might allow users to direct our attentional resources on the most important and demanding tasks. Prior research on individual IT mindfulness has focused on fairly well-defined, unambiguous tasks. In this study we set out to investigate the impact of IT mindfulness on task performance when the task is complex, and to explore the role of IT mindlessness in the context. Our results indicate that higher levels of IT mindfulness is indeed linked to better task performance when the task is complex. We discuss possible implications regarding digital service design and suggestions for future research. 

Ajay Byanjankar's Presentation

Data-Driven Optimization of Peer-to-Peer Lending Portfolios based on the Expected Value Framework

In recent years, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending has been gaining popularity amongst small borrowers and individual investors. This can mainly be attributed to the easy and quick access to loans and the higher returns. However, the risk involved in these investments is considerable and for most investors, them being non-professionals, increases the complexity and the significance of investment decisions. In this research, we focus on generating optimal investment decisions to lenders for selecting loans. We treat the loan selection process in P2P lending as a portfolio optimization problem: the aim is to select a set of loans that provide a required return while minimize risk. In the process, we use Internal Rate of Return (IRR) as the measure of return. In addition, we use machine learning algorithms to predict the default probabilities of the loans based on available data and us them as the input for the optimization model. We compare traditional default probability estimations and the expected value framework in identifying similar past loans to be used in instance-based investment optimization formulation. The model is tested on a data from the popular P2P platform, Lending Club. The results show that using the expected value framework yields higher return with similar risk.

October 30 - Umeå University
Jonny Holmström's Presentation

FROM VICIOUS TO VIRTUOUS DYNAMICS IN DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: HOW CHANGE AGENTS LEVERAGE AMBIGUITY BY DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION STRATEGIZING

The dynamics of digital transformation can be both vicious and virtuous. Past research has primarily sought to explain how alignment between business and IT strategy can generate virtuous dynamics for firms. The alignment logic presupposes that tight links between the functional role and strategic purpose of digital technologies must be established and that the interpretative flexibility of digital technology forms an obstacle that needs to be overcome through clear communications. However, as digital transformation has become increasingly challenging and digital technologies have become increasingly disruptive and multi-faceted, questions regarding the validity of the alignment logic emerge. In this paper, we critically review assumptions surrounding the alignment logic in the context of digital transformation through a multi-case study. We identify three types of digital transformation strategizing, and observe how, when, and why ambiguous uses of digital technology play a critical role during digital transformation. Our study has multiple implications for theorizing about ambiguous and processual nature and versatility of digital technology uses in the context of digital transformation.

See the slides here

Johan Sandberg's Presentation

DIGITIZATION AND PHASE TRANSITIONS IN PLATFORM ORGANIZING LOGICS: EVIDENCE FROM THE PROCESS AUTOMATION INDUSTRY

Digital innovation is a key driver of digital transformation. To understand how novel use of digital technologies drives such shifts in organizing logic, we conducted a longitudinal study of digitization in the process industry. We draw on complex adaptive systems (CAS) theory to explore the transformation of an analog automation product platform as it was infused with extensive and deepening digital capacities over a 40-year period. Our case demonstrates how the deepening digitization of components and functions drives complexity by connecting the platform to multiple social and technical settings and producing new interactions and information exchanges. The increased connectivity and dynamism invited unexpected and significant architectural and organizational shifts that moved the platform toward an ecosystem-centered organizing logic. CAS theory and its notion of constrained generating procedures (CGPs) are used to analyze how new connections and interactions produced a multilevel and nonlinear change in the platform organization. We offer two main contributions. First, we provide a novel empirical analysis of how product platform digitization leads to phase transitions and show the mediating role of three mechanisms in this process treated as CGPs: interaction rules, design control, and stimuli-response variety. Second, we demonstrate the multilevel and recursive nature of digitally driven growth in physical product platforms.

See the slides here or Read the article here

November 6 - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Elena Parmiggiani's Presentation

In the Backrooms of Data Science: The case of oil and gas exploration and production

Information Systems research on data science tends to assume an ontological separation between data and data work. Such a pre-factual take on data leads to downplaying the data preparation work and front-staging data analytics. Researchers taking a performative stance, however, show that data are open-ended knowledge objects that are shaped by ongoing heterogeneous and collaborative practices of data work, including data curation and integration. We draw on a qualitative case study of data management in the oil and gas industry to shed light on this often-overlooked work that occurs in the backrooms of data science, to borrow Barley and Bechky’s term. We find that backstage data work is, on the one hand, deeply interwoven with data analytics to ensure the stewardship of the data flow across sources, disciplines, and evolving interpretations. On the other, data work consists of practices to make the data sufficiently stable for subsequent analytics. Data work practices thus constantly vary and must simultaneously take into account what data it might be possible to get hold of as well as the potential future uses of the data. The knowledge that the people involved in data work build through practice is essential to understand the possibilities and limitations of the available data. Data work thus requires strong adaptability and learning flexibility. Unpacking actual work practices is therefore important to reveal and characterize changes in work and organizing in digitalization. This work is done in collaboration with Thomas Østerlie and Petter Grytten Almklov (NTNU).

See the slides here

Personal url: https://www.ntnu.edu/employees/parmiggi

Research group url: https://www.ntnu.edu/idi/ait

Lab url: https://www.ntnu.edu/ie/de

Michail (Michalis) Giannakos's Presentation

Sensing-based Analytics to Support Learning Design.

Enhancing learning in a meaningful, attractive and accessible manner is critical for the 21st century. Learners need easy to use but also powerful designs, offering fine-grained control of time and progress during their learning experience. To do so, user/learner experience designers and researchers need to translate interactions into a sequence of useful and actionable information. Sensing technologies like, eye-tracking, motion cameras and wearables, combined with powerful AI and ML algorithms, have the capacity to empower teachers, learners and and researchers with (near) real-time insight. Utilizing representative, objective, diverse and accurate data allows us to better understand learners’ and design meaningful experiences for them. Collecting and combining learning analytics coming from multi-modal streams can provide valuable information in designing meaningful learning experiences. In this talk, I will present methods and studies and our initial results on how multi-modal analytics support learning design.

Personal url: https://www.ntnu.edu/employees/michailg

Lab’s url: https://lci.idi.ntnu.no/

November 13 - University of Gothenburg

The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 49 000 students and 6 400 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.
The department of Applied Information Technology offers education and carries out research within the areas informatics, learning, communication and cognitive science in close collaboration with the industry and public sector. Development of the individual’s knowledge and ability to analyze, understand and handle the digitalization of society, different aspects of IT, interaction between people and interaction between people and technology are at focus.
The division of Informatics consists of around 30 researchers and teachers that host projects that have a strong link to industry and practice, and publish on the highest level. We offer an academic environment that facilitates both research and education with a focus on the digitalization of society. We provide two educational programs to our students, a Master in Digital Leadership and Bachelor in Systems Science. All our teaching reflects the strong research environment of the division, and courses are designed to be aligned with existing research and industry collaboration.


Juho Lindman's Presentation

Public sector blockchains

This presentation is based on the upcoming OECD working paper Juho Lindman (et al., 2020) have compiled called The Uncertain Promise of Blockchain for Government (to be released 18th Nov 2020). So far, implemented blockchain projects have had minimal impact on the public sector. Most projects are stuck at the proof-of-concept, prototype, or pilot stage, or they have fizzled out entirely. However, government decision makers will need to understand and continue to monitor this rapidly emerging technology closely. This working paper cuts through the blockchain hype to discuss the current state of the uncertain promise of blockchain for government. The report is designed especially for government decision makers to help them set their expectations related to blockchain technology and to understand many observed characteristics and practices of organisations and teams engaging in blockchain initiatives that still have quite a bit of potential, as well as the lessons learned from those that have struggled or not succeeded.

See the slides here or Read the OECD report here

Aleksandre Asatiani's Presentation

Innovation through Information Systems Outsourcing – Evidence from a Care Home

There is a growing consensus that IS outsourcing should be leveraged for innovation. However, harnessing innovation from outsourcing engagements poses a significant challenge for client organizations. This study aims to contribute to a better understanding of how such engagements can be managed more effectively. Based  on empirical  evidence collected at  a long-term  care  home,  our qualitative case study unearths influences on the innovation potential of four observed innovation through IT outsourcing initiatives. Organizational change readiness theory adapted to an innovation context is used as theoretical lens. Notable influences on the collective  willingness  and  perceived  ability  to  support  an  innovation  initiative are found to spring from the outsourcing project, organizational and market context. The receptivity  of  these  contextual  influences is highly  content-specific to  the  particular innovation initiative. Corrupting influences may emerge unexpectedly that need to be proactively responded to with correcting influences.

See the slides here

November 20 - Aalborg University
Olivia Benfeldt's Presentation

Achieving Digital Resilience: A Dynamic Model for Activating Dormant Resources to Sustain Continuity Amidst an Exogenous Shock

Research by: Olivia Benfeldt, Christian Haslam, Sabine Madsen, Jeppe A. Nielsen & Esko Penttinen
Abstract: The role of digital resilience in coping with unanticipated disruption has been vividly emphasized during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, current literature remains conceptually ambiguous with no theorization of the processes that lead organizations to achieve digital resilience amidst an exogenous shock.  Against this  backdrop, we suggest Organizational Discontinuity Theory as an appealing lens to study digital resilience by stressing how organizations can mitigate, minimize or even prevent negative effects of disruption by shifting to virtual work practices. We offer a detailed processual account of how a social science faculty at a Danish university rapidly reconfigured teaching practices for virtual delivery, when the Covid-19 pandemic spurred discontinuities in physical approaches. Using a System Dynamics approach, we model the impact of disruptive events on established work practices and demonstrate how organizational actors activated dormant digital resources to mitigate negative effects of resulting discontinuities in their work. We contribute to the digital resilience literature by theorizing how organizations achieve digital resilience by activating and deploying latent digital technologies and resources to overcome discontinuities caused by an exogenous shock. Our findings show it is the dynamics between sociotechnical elements rather than the sophistication of new technologies that help organizations achieve digital resilience amidst an exogenous shock.

See the slides here 

Peter Axel Nielsen's Presentation

Problematising and How Soft Systems Methodology Was Lost and Found

Abstract: The presentation will give a brief update on how we have come to appreciate the importance of problematising in information systems research. Problematising plays – or should play – a key role in the proactive research approaches, action & design research. In problematising we’re interested in what the problem is taken to, who says there’s a problem, why they may say that, what the empirical backing is, how we may interpret this, how we relate to stakeholders, etc. From this we’ve taken a leap back in time to the heydays of Checkland’s Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) because if problematising is important then problem-solving and problem-setting are important. It begs the question of ‘how should we as researchers then set and solve problems?’ While the proactive research approaches are good at telling us what we should report from action & design research they are also weak on answering how we should set and solve problems. Through a brief illustration we argue that SSM may offer some guidance. The illustration also brings forward its limitations and that it needs to be modified and extended to become more useful for the proactive researchers.

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