Academy of Strategic Management Journal (Print ISSN: 1544-1458; Online ISSN: 1939-6104)

Research Article: 2022 Vol: 21 Issue: 4S

Digital Public Relations Practices

Serdar Vural Uygun, Nevsehir HBV University

Esra Sipahi Dongul, Aksaray University

Citation Information: Uygun, S.V., & Dongul, E.S. (2022). Digital public relations practices. Academy of Strategic Management Journal, 21(S4), 1-12.


Ministry of National Education, Digital Public Relations Practices, Corporate Reputation


 Public relations activities, which are managed in order to ensure and maintain positive communication between the target groups of the institutions and the public, have started to be carried out in the digital environment through social media. It is foreseen that public institutions and organizations also carry out digital rights relations practices in order to protect corporate reputation with online reputation management, which is a function of public relations.

In this direction, this research consists of two parts. In the first part of the study; The concept of public relations, digital public relations practices, corporate reputation concept and online reputation management and digital public relations practices carried out in public institutions are explained. In the second part of the study, the social media accounts of the Ministry of National Education were discussed and the posts from the date when the educational activities started to be carried out remotely until the end of the year (16 March - 31 December 2020) were examined.

It has been tried to determine how the digital public relations studies they applied in these posts affect the corporate reputation by making interaction analysis. This study is important in terms of determining how the digital public relations practices of the Ministry of National Education, the reflections of the obscurity experienced in the public after the start of distance education, on social media, and how it affects the corporate reputation of the institution.


Ministry of National Education, Digital Public Relations Practices, Corporate Reputation


Public relations, which has a place in the management functions of institutions and is seen as strategic communication management, is briefly defined as the activities carried out with the aim of providing positive gains to the institution with all internal and external target groups. The positive gains mentioned for public institutions and organizations; institutions to establish a healthy communication with the public, to reduce the concerns and worries by resolving the unknowns in the public, to gain the public's trust and to provide a positive reputation.

Today, there is a development in communication technologies, starting with the internet and continuing its pace with social media, and it is observed that social media is increasingly in the foreground. Affected by this transformation, public relations emerges in a new field where digital public relations practices are carried out by using social media tools. Public institutions and organizations also carry out public relations activities such as crisis management, corporate image, corporate identity, promotion, information, announcement, event management in digital environment through social media.

One of the functions that public relations has gained in this new field is online reputation management. The concept of trust, which is emphasized when we express reputation as being reliable, provides more power to both individuals and institutions. However, while it may take a long time for institutions to gain the title of being reliable, the loss of this title may be instantaneous in a very short time.

It is seen as a sensitive value due to the risks it carries due to its margin of error and deception. When the basic features and practices of public relations, which are defined as "strategic communication management" today, are observed; It is seen that the reputation of institutions is the sum of the purposes of public relations. Not losing the corporate reputation of the institution and making it permanent by developing it only depends on the conscious, healthy and honest management of public relations practices (Karatepe, 2008).

Publıc Relatıons and Dıgıtal Publıc Relatıons Practıces

It is predicted that many definitions of the concept of public relations (Public Relations: “PR”) have been made in the past and these definitions continue today. There are two concepts that stand out in the previous definitions. In the first of these, public relations is expressed as a function of management, while in the second, it is emphasized that public relations is communication management (Kalender, 2013).

The definition of Alaeddin Asna, who explains public relations in terms of being a management function; “Public Relations is a managerial art that includes the planned efforts of private or legal persons to establish and develop honest and solid ties with the specified audiences, to direct them to positive beliefs and actions, to direct their attitudes by evaluating the reactions, and thus to maintain mutually beneficial relations.” (ISik, 2011).

Peltekoglu, on the other hand, emphasizes that public relations is a communication management by defining it as "Strategic communication management built on the objectives of the institution and carried out with target audiences whose order of importance varies according to the objectives of the institution and the campaign, such as consumers, distributors and employees" (Peltekoglu, 2009).

The main features explaining the concept of public relations are that it is based on mutual communication, it is a management function, it is a conscious, continuous, planned and organized effort, it accepts honesty and openness as a basis, it needs mutual understanding and cooperation, and there is a need for harmonization efforts that can include two-way changes. listed as hearing (AkdaG, 2010).

The realization of public relations depends on strategic communication management and therefore the existence of communication. In this direction, all kinds of developments in the field of communication also affect public relations.

In the past, starting from the telegraph and reaching the present day, public relations, which makes use of all kinds of developments in communication technology such as radio, television, telephone, computer and internet, also uses social media as a public relations tool. The fact that concepts such as duality, interaction, participation and speed, which are considered important in public relations, can be provided effectively through social media determines the relationship between the two.

The transformation of communication technologies, which started with the Internet and continued its pace with social media, leads to the emergence of new concepts such as web 2.0, marketing 3.0, online public relations, online reputation management, social media marketing (Peltekoglu, 2013).

It is stated that the communication tools used by public relations are divided into two as those used for promotion and those used for recognition. It is seen that the changes in technology create great differences between the communication tools used 50 years ago and the communication tools used today, both numerically and qualitatively. The classification model in Table- 1 describes the traditional communication tools that public relations can use (Yağmurlu, 2010a).

Table 1
Tradıtıonal communıcatıon tools
Written Tools Social-Cultural Tools Audiovisual Tools
Introducing press briefing
press file
corporate newspaper
annual reports
brochures and handbooks
notice boards
routers and roleplayers
press conferences
press trip
press cocktail
visual materials prepared for television
slide, picture, powerpoint
graphic designs that create corporate identity
flag, business card
materials prepared for the radio
tv/radio interviews
Recognition wish/complaint boxes
ınformation applications
meeting days
advisory units
telephone lines

In addition, the social media tools through which public relations can carry out their activities for both recognition and promotion are shown in Figure 1; social media newsletters, blog, micro-blogging, social networking and forum applications.

Figure 1 Social media practices in public relations

Institutions can create these listed applications for their own specific purposes and develop them with links on their websites (Yağmurlu, 2010b).

When we look at the studies that show that communication tools are predominantly used in public relations, it is seen that these tools are newspapers, bulletins, television, letters and radio, while it is emphasized that the internet provides its dominance in the information age by covering all these communication tools. E-mails, forms, chats, messengers, webcams, blogs, and recently, social media tools (Facebook, Twitter) are seen to be important modern communication tools (ISler, Ciftci & Yarangumelioglu, 2013).

The Internet enables institutions to reach their target audiences and even all individuals in a very fast, easy and economical way and makes mutual communication possible. For this reason, the use of the Internet in the field of public relations manifests itself as a necessity.

With the intensive use of new communication technologies such as the Internet and smartphones, the way people interact with each other or with organizations is also changing. Institutions can communicate with their target audiences and carry out public relations activities through the digital channels they use. The increasing importance of social media has also transformed the way public relations is practiced.

Thanks to social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, organizations can meet new and different target audiences in less cost, in a shorter time and more effectively (Altuntas, Karsak & Demren, 2018).

Dıgıtal Publıc Relatıons Practıces ın Publıc Instıtutıons

It is said that public institutions and organizations benefit from the new media technologies emerging today with the development of communication technologies as well as traditional media tools, provide services online and manage their communication strategies. With the existence of social media as a new media tool, institutions and organizations continue their communication activities through this medium; It is starting to give importance to new communication concepts such as digital marketing, online public relations, viral communication applications, website services. It carries out public relations activities such as crisis management, corporate image, corporate identity, promotion, information and news in digital environment (Kazaz & Tumen, 2013).

It is seen that public relations practices are rediscovered through social media and are planned and carried out in the social media environment as in other communication applications. In addition, it is instrumental in developing corporate policies, protecting reputation, mitigating crisis risk and establishing stronger ties with target audiences. Since it is predicted that the success of institutions that do not use or less use social media environments, it becomes more important for central and local government organizations to use social media correctly and effectively. Social media, which brings public services and individuals closer, ensures the active participation of the target audience, as it is an environment where reactions can be conveyed immediately with the opportunity of mutual communication. Public institutions can increase their participation, transparency and accountability levels thanks to social media environments (Kalfa & Adas, 2019).

Social media sites not only allow rapid exchange of information, but also enable rapid dissemination of information. Although it is sometimes thought that 140 characters are very short and cannot contain meaningful information, since it provides the opportunity to access and respond to users' messages in real time with a number of interface programs developed with an internet-connected mobile phone; manifests itself as a tool used by most institutions (Tarhan, 2012).

Corporate Reputatıon and Onlıne Reputatıon Management

When the definitions of corporate reputation are examined, it is seen that there are two prominent definitions in the sources. The first is Dowling's definition of corporate reputation as the ascribed values of truth, honesty, responsibility, and integrity that evoke one's image of the organization, and second, Fombrun's definition of customers, investors, employees, and the general public about the organization, good or bad, weak or strong. It is expressed as the definition of emotional and impressive reactions such as (Ural, 2012).

Charles Fombrun lists the corporate reputation management components of institutions as shown in Figure 3. He argues that institutions should base their communication with their target audiences on the basis of love, trust and respect, both in their internal and external communication processes, and to create emotional appeals with them through these audiences. He states that pursuing the aims of ensuring high quality, innovation and innovation, product and service trust, and being financially profitable will bring an understanding of quality and innovation to institutions. It predicts that institutions that exhibit strong leadership characteristics in the society will gain a place in the minds of their target audiences as leaders. He states that institutions will be widely accepted by their target audiences if they effectively manage both internal and external communication processes that develop the society in which they operate, that is, the working environment, fulfill their social responsibilities, contribute to their environment. He argues that as a result of all these activities, the reputation of institutions will improve and their corporate success will increase (Goztas, 2013).

Figure 2 Components of reputation (Goztas, 2013)

As a result, it is understood that corporate reputation is the perception of internal and external target audiences about the institution. Accordingly, in order to gain a positive reputation, institutions; It is necessary for them to establish and maintain good relations with their target audiences. It is thought that institutions can establish effective relations with their target audiences only through the effectiveness of the public relations activities implemented by the institutions. Within this framework, it is argued that a strong and positive reputation can only be formed as a result of effective public relations efforts (Ural, 2002).
Online reputation management, which is an area of public relations; It is called as a management process that is carried out by constantly following a brand on the internet, providing access to information about the brand awareness and reputation of the enterprise. While there is an opportunity to support positive information and good content about the company on the Internet; It is thought that negative information can be prevented depending on the reaction speed. Although online reputation management is not the deletion of negative information on the internet; focuses on reducing the impact of this information on users and solving the source of the problem (Yenice, Pirtini & Ataman, 2018).

There are two processes that need to be managed in order to ensure corporate reputation and continuity in digital environments. These are 'follow up' and 'measurement' processes. It is emphasized by institutions that the discourses about the institution should be followed in digital environments that include interaction and sharing such as blogs, wikis, micro-blogs, social networks and video sharing. It is expected that institutions will not only follow, but also participate in these digital environments. In order to prevent information pollution, it is important for institutions to deliver regular and real information to their target audiences by using corporate web pages and social media tools (Aydin, 2015).

This follow-up and participation process on social media; It is considered necessary to learn about the opinions, expectations and complaints about the institution, to intervene immediately to the problems that may arise and to gain satisfaction. At the next stage, it is necessary to measure and evaluate the activities carried out at the same time in order to see how the follow-up and participation yielded results. In line with the goals they want to achieve in social media, institutions are expected to measure in many areas such as the number of followers in the social media, the number of active users, the number of likes, the number of content created by the users, the comments made and the number of searches on the internet (Aydin, 2015).

Investıgatıon of the Effect of Dıgıtal Publıc Relatıons Practıces on the Reputatıon of the Instıtutıon in the Publıc

It is seen that all public institutions and organizations create their own accounts and share in social media in order to reach individuals who spend most of their time on the internet and become active social media users by adapting to the developments in new communication technologies. Recently, public institutions and organizations have been implementing digital public relations practices through social media in order to protect their corporate reputation values in order to manage their communication activities.

Subject of Research

The social media accounts of the Ministry of National Education of the Republic of Turkey were discussed and their posts from the date when educational activities started to be carried out remotely until the end of the year (16 March - 31 December 2020) were examined. It has been tried to determine how the digital public relations studies they applied in these posts affect the corporate reputation by making interaction analysis.

Importance of Research

In line with the measures taken due to the Corona virus (Covid-19) pandemic experienced in the world and in Turkey, it is important to determine how the reflections of the unknowns experienced in the public on social media are managed and how they affect the corporate reputation of the institution after the start of distance education in all public and private schools in Turkey.


The universe of the research consists of the sharing of the Ministry of National Education's applications with the public on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media where the user is located. In the analysis, information obtained from a diary published in the news, from all accounts simultaneously with the media of the same day. In these shares, the most popular areas for comments and applications are included in our work.

By examining the message contents of these digital public relations applications: which of the purposes of information supporting corporate reputation, promotion, event management and social responsibility are handled, the type of two-way communication that awaits the participation of the users and responds to the users in their messages, or which one-way communication type that only has the announcement feature is used, It was examined whether he used items such as photos, videos, links containing corporate identity. It has been explained whether it has an effect on the corporate reputation by looking at the positive and negative feedbacks of the users about the shares through likes, comments and tagging.

Findings of the Research and Evaluation of Findings

The corporate social media accounts of the Ministry of National Education can be accessed from the links below. Table- 2.




Table 2
General information on social media accounts of the ministry of national education
General Information Social Media Accounts
Twitter Facebook Instagram
Counts of Follower 1.850.397 218.483 636.944
Profile Photo Corporate Logo Corporate Logo Corporate Logo
Cover Page Education materials illustrations on red background Education materials illustrations on red background -
Web Page Link Linked to Linked to Linked to
Other social media accounts information Facebook, Youtube, Instagram account information available Twitter, Youtube, Instagram account information available Twitter, Youtube, Facebook account information available
Transfer Shares Shares of Minister of National Education Ziya Selcuk ( Shares of Minister of National Education Ziya Selcuk ( Shares of Minister of National Education Ziya Selcuk (
Minister of National Education Ziya Selcuk Accounts Follower Numbers 3.437.913 3.775.886 391.187

When the number of followers of the social media accounts of the Ministry is evaluated as of January 18, 2021, it is seen that the most followed social media account is the Twitter account with 1 million 850 thousand 397 followers.

This can be explained by the fact that Twitter is the first social media tool where the Ministry's simultaneous posts are published. The corporate logo, the use of the corporate color red and educational materials, and the inclusion of information on other social media accounts of the institution reflect the corporate identity and create corporate reputation. The fact that the Ministry connects with the corporate website in its shares allows users to access detailed information and to check the accuracy of the information. The fact that the posts of the Minister of National Education Ziya Selçuk are also included in the social media accounts, emphasizes the institutional integrity and reaches more audiences.

The table 3 consists, contents of the posts and messages made simultaneously on social media accounts by the Ministry were examined and classified according to the purposes of informing, promoting, event management and social responsibility of public relations. While making this classification, weekly or periodically repeated sharing topics are included. In addition, while determining the public relations practices, the fact that it was started in the digital environment and that it continues to be managed in the digital environment was taken into consideration.

Table 3
Classification of posts by message contents purposes
Aims Name of Sharing Message Contents
To inform Measures Taken in Education Against Coronavirus Minister of National Education Selcuk Announced the Measures Taken in Education Against Coronavirus
? Education in schools was suspended for 2 weeks as of March 16.
? 16 - 22 Mart ? Semester
? 23 - 29 Mart ? Distance Education at Home with ??and @trt.
Summer school starts on TRT EBA TV We have surprises for our students, teachers and families.
Child-Friendly Educational Publications, Young Content, Family Generation, "Teachers' Room" and much more on EBA TV from 10:00 on Monday, 29 June...
Postponement of Face-to-face Exams “Dear students,
We are going through an extraordinary period this year. The process is changing fast; Decisions are made on the basis of lengthy evaluations. In line with the recommendations of the Scientific Committee and the evaluations of our Ministry of Health, we have reconsidered the issue of face-to-face exams. With the decision we have taken, our primary and secondary school students will receive their report card grades based on their participation in class activities this term. We will determine the grades of our high school students in the first semester through face-to-face exams in the second semester.
I wish you a nice day. (Visual Text Message)
Continue Distance Education All official, private, formal and non-formal education activities will continue through distance education until 31 December 2020. Detailed information on the distance education process will also be provided.
Sharing Documents Regarding Exam Processes is Unfounded Information about the exam processes of our students will be made by our schools.
Please do not respect the posts that are not verified by the official sources of our Ministry.
Progressive Face-to-face Transition in Schools In accordance with the decision taken at the Presidential Cabinet Meeting, all public and private kindergartens that provide full-time service, except for kindergartens, will start face-to-face education as of tomorrow, provided that they fulfill the conditions determined within the scope of Covid-19 measures.
Sir, I have a question for a minute. If I do not send it to face-to-face education, will my child fall behind in classes? How are our students and teachers tracked with the [Life Fits Home (LFH Code)]
HES (Hayat Eve Sigar) code? Lesson hours will be reduced, but the curriculum remains the same. So, how will the lessons go? What has been done for our children who do not have internet access? What is a live class and why is it important?
The questions asked by the public are answered by the Minister with 1-minute videos. A share has been made for each answer video.
Presentation Weekday and Weekend Programs on TRT EBA Channels TRT EBA TV channels include the date and time programs of the courses to be broadcast on weekdays and weekends according to the classes of the students.
Introduction of EBA Mobile Support Teams Regardless of the seasonal conditions, we are on the road with our EBA Mobile Support teams so that there is not a single place that has not been visited in distance education, and not a single child remains untouched.
Distance Education by Numbers Distance Education In Numbers
23 March - 25 December 2020
1,838,706 students, 250,490 teachers
116,684,062 hours of live lessons were held.
Curriculum in Life Which speech, which lesson at home; If we know exactly which activity corresponds to which achievement in the curriculum, I'm sure our parenting will be much more enjoyable. For this, we have prepared the book “The Curriculum in Life”.
Here are a few examples from us... More to come from you... (video)
Introduction of Site
Our website "", which we have prepared for easier access to the work done by our ministry during the epidemic process, has been launched. I recommend all students, parents and colleagues to take advantage of this site we have prepared for you.
MEBIM Call Center Award “MEBIM” Awarded the World Second Prize
Contact Center World, in the category of "Best Contact Center" in the call centers industry
Awarded @mebimdestek with a silver medal.
Event Management Education Meetings An online educational conversation event held by Ziya Selcuk, Minister of National Education, with teachers working in cities in Turkey at regular intervals.
Independence anthem Our children have been singing our National Anthem on EBA TV for months, not in schools. However, we would be "one breath" every Monday and Friday. Please, let's continue again, we have a flag ceremony at 10:00 tomorrow at our schools. Would you join us from your windows, from your homes? (Monday, January 11, 2021 at 10:00 am) #IstiklalMarsi
Training Calendar Our Education Calendar was very popular last year, and this year we are together with you...
You can download the free mobile application to your device,
You can follow their social media accounts at @egitimtakvimi1. #egitimtakvimi2021
Teachers' Day Activities Erener from Sertab Erener, who supported our Teachers' Day celebrations on November 24, adapted and sang Ayten Alpman's song "My Country" for our teachers.
[ “Bir Baskadir Benim Ogretmenim”]
Online Vocational Education Program Intertwined with Teachers' Week activities; We are starting our online professional study program with interviews, concerts, documentaries, street interviews, virtual museum tours and movies.
Let's meet at EBA at 10.10.
Republic Day Flag Hanging Activity Are our flags ready, my children? Since every house has become a school, every room is a classroom... So let a flag flutter in every window, let the feast begin...
Online Coterie Meeting The Minister's online meetings, quoted as “We met with his colleagues at the Turkey Branch” in each subject area.
Thanks to Students and Teachers, Report Card to Parents Minister of National Education @ziyaselcuk thanked the students for their interest in distance education and thanked the teachers with a text message. The support of the parents was not forgotten, a report card was organized for them as well.
Social Responsibility Murder of Aylin SOzer A young colleague, a valuable educator, Dr. I am saddened by the news that #AylinSozer was brutally murdered. It is very painful to be the victim of a murderer, to say the least. He curses; I wish patience to his family and students. Sorry for your loss.
We are with our healthcare professionals
Combine the word divided into syllables below with friendship. Sag-lik-ci-la-ri-miz-la-yiz. [We are with our healthcare professionals]
[Irkciliga Dur]
De- No To Racism
NO TO RACISM! #Respect[#IrkciligaDurDe] @ibfk2014
Antalya Earthquake Get well soon to everyone who felt the #Antalya earthquake.
As we shared with you this morning, we attach great importance to laying the foundations in #earthquake awareness with "School-Based Disaster Education".
With the sensitivity of my colleagues on this issue, we will take our steps with confidence.
Malatya Puturge Earthquake I convey my best wishes to our citizens who felt the #earthquake based in Malatya Puturge. We made a preliminary assessment with our education administrators, thankfully there is no problem.
#egitimdehepbirlikte [#together in education]
Sharing with content that supports users
The best gift we can give each other these days; A little more understanding, a little more patience and a little more respect...
We needed these three very much in this challenging year, we need them for a while.
Izmir Earthquake There is something we can all do for #Izmir. Especially for our children. They were afraid, worried; Psychosocial support is very important so that this fear does not affect their future lives... Our teams are ready, we are on the field with our experts to provide psychosocial support to our children.
Azerbaycan- Ermenistan We condemn Armenia, which once again violates the ceasefire and commits crimes against humanity and war by targeting the civilian population.
I wish God's mercy to the souls who were martyred in the attacks in brotherly Azerbaijan, and I wish healing to the wounded.
Sorry for your loss.
Turkey Flag Azerbaijan Flag

It has been determined that the Ministry provides the most interaction with the sharing of the National Anthem. In this sense, it is seen that public relations positively evaluates the event management as it includes the participation of users. Table 4.

Table 4
Sharing information with the most engagement in social media accounts
  Social Media Accounts/ Interaction Type
Sharing Information Twitter Facebook Instagram
Like Comment Reweet Like Comment Reweet Like Comment Reweet
Independence Anthem 25.200 1.100 3.500 10.500 450 1000 14200 350 -
Sir, I have a question for a minute. 16.611 1.991 2.859 2500 164 250 12500 900 -
We are with our healthcare professionals
11.600 1.500 2.800 1338 378 127 8450 5249 -
Curriculum in Life 6.700 949 872 792 163 76 3954 1408 -

By classifying the messages of the Ministry according to the type of communication used, it has been observed that besides using the one-way communication model that only transmits information, it uses the two-way communication model, which is an effective tool of public relations. Table 5.

Table 5
Classification of message contents in shares according to the type of communication used
Sharing Information Communication Types
Two Way Communication One Way Communication
Independence Anthem “Will you join us from your windows, your houses?” participation was expected and it was observed that users participated in the event by sharing photos and videos.
Sir, I have a question for a minute. Explanations on the subjects selected by the Ministry are included.
Participation was not expected.
We are with our healthcare professionals
Users were expected to participate in the support provided for healthcare personnel. Users participated in the topic with their shares.
Curriculum in Life Participation was expected with the statement “Here are a few examples from us... More to come from you...” and users published their examples with photo and video sharing.

In table 6 it is seen that the Ministry enriches its messages with photos and videos in its posts and aims to reach large masses by increasing interaction by giving related tags.

Table 6
Classification of posts according to the elements used in message contents
Sharing Information Items Used
Photograph Video Linked Tag/ hashtag
Independence Anthem #IstiklalMArsi
Sir, I have a question for a minute. Duration: 1 Minute
Video containing the answers given by the Minister of National Education Selcuk to the questions about the sharing..
[#I'm at school with remote education]
We are with our healthcare professionals
A visual photograph with the content of the message written in chalk on the classroom board and the corporate logo. #we are with our healthcare professionals
Curriculum in Life Duration: 37 Seconds
Viewed: The video where 197,600 students give examples of their lessons in real life.
#curriculum in life

Results and conclusion

Social media accounts of the Ministry of National Education were examined in order to examine the corporate reputation effect of digital public relations practices, the new application area of public relations. As a result of the examinations, it was observed that the Ministry uses the social media channel intensively. It has been seen that event management and information messages are mostly used in the classification of public relations according to their purposes. It is seen that the impressions in the public are tried to be measured by giving weight to the two-way communication model of public relations. In addition, elements containing corporate identity were included in most of their messages on social media accounts and were supported with photographs and videos. It has been observed that all these digital public relations practices provide positive feedback on the institutional reputation of the Ministry of National Education, which is a public institution.


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Received: 08-Jan-2021, Manuscript No. ASMJ-22-10816; Editor assigned: 10- Jan -2021, PreQC No. ASMJ-22- 10816 (PQ); Reviewed: 23- Jan -2021, QC No. ASMJ-22-10816; Revised: 29-Jan-2021, Manuscript No. ASMJ-22-10816 (R); Published: 08-Feb-2022.

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