Professor Kecheng Liu

Professor of Applied Informatics

Professor Kecheng Liu

Professor Kecheng Liu

Honourary Director, Informatics Research Centre
Programme Director MSc Informatics (Beijing)
Director of Huawei ICT Academy
By area: Business Informatics, Business-IT Strategy, Strategic Information Systems, Business Process Modelling, Organisational Semiotics, Pervasive Informatics, Intelligent Information Systems
By industry: Information Services, Healthcare, E-Business, E-Government
By geography: China, Asia Pacific
LG06, Henley Business School, Whiteknights Campus, University of Reading
+44 (0) 118 378 8614
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Professor Kecheng Liu is a Fellow of the British Computer Society, Fellow of the Charted Institute of Management, and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He is a full professor and holds a chair of Applied Informatics in Henley Business School, University of Reading. He is the founding Head of School of Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting (2011 - 2016) which consists of several cognate subject areas: business informatics, systems, accounting and financial management. He also founded and is the Honorary Director of Informatics Research Centre. During his academic career in British universities for more than 25 years, he has played numerous leadership roles such as director academic programmes at the Masters and PhD levels, and head of school; and served in the University Senate since 2002. He has taught courses in business informatics, information management and systems, and digital strategy and leadership at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including MBA and EMBA. During his extended sabbatical from 8/2016 to 5/2019, he served as the Executive Vice Chancellor of Wuhan College, a private university of 13,000 students in China sponsored by Charles Yidan Chen, one of the core founders of Tencent.

As an internationally renowned scholar in organisational semiotics and business informatics, more than 50 PhD students have graduated under his supervision. His research interests and publications span from organisational semiotics, digital strategy and architecture, enterprise information systems, business-IT alignment, co-design of business and IT systems, pervasive informatics, and intelligent spaces for working and living. Kecheng Liu is visiting professor in several universities in China (e.g. Renmin University, Beijing Institute of Technology, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, and Beijing Jiaotong University).

Please see the following links for his publications:

PhD research opportunity with Professor Kecheng Liu:

  • Visualisation and Data Analytics from a Semiotic Perspective

Please visit the "PhD Opportunity" tab for more information.

New book published in December 2015:

Organisational Semiotics and Business Informatics. Routledge. ISBN 9780415823562. Available for purchasing from Amazon

Programme Delivery

Teaching Business informatics for MSc in Information Management (with specialisms of Big Data in Business, Business Analysis and Service Design, and Systems Analysis and Design), MSc in Business Technology Consulting, all based in Reading; MSc in Management Information Systems, based in Ghana; and MSc Informatics, based in Beijing.

Academic activity


  1. Donghua Chen, Runtong Zhang, Jiavi Feng & Kecheng Liu (2019) Fulfilling information needs of online patients using domain knowledge in online health communities, Health Information & Libraries Journal (in press)
  2. Prince Kwame Senyoa, Kecheng Liu, John Effahb (2019) Digital business ecosystem: Literature review and a framework for future research, International Journal of Information Management, Vol 47 August, pp 52-64
  3. K Liu, R Zhang, L Yin, L Sun, X Pan, L Hou, X Shang, X Yang (2018) Medical service unity: an effective approach for medical care in rural areas in China. Rural & Remote Health 18 (3), 2018
  4. Chen, D.; Zhang, R.; Liu, K.; Hou, L. (2018) Knowledge Discovery from Posts in Online Health Communities Using Unified Medical Language System. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1291. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15061291
  5. Pan, X., Hou, L., Liu, K., & Niu, H. (2018). Do reviews from friends and the crowd affect online consumer posting behaviour differently? Electronic Commerce Research and Applications. 29, 102-112,2018.
  6. Hou, L., Pan, X., & Liu, K. (2018). Balancing the popularity bias of object similarities for personalised recommendation. The European Physical Journal B, 91(3), 47.
  7. Hou, L., Liu, K. Common neighbour structure and similarity intensity in complex networks. Physics Letters A 381, 3377–3383 (2017).
  8. Pan, X., Hou, L., & Liu, K. (2017). Social influence on selection behaviour: Distinguishing local-and global-driven preferential attachment. PloS one, 12(4), e0175761.
  9. Zhang, R., Chen, D., Shang, X., Zhu, X., & Liu, K. (2017). A Knowledge-Constrained Access Control Model for Protecting Patient Privacy in Hospital Information Systems. IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics.
  10. Hou, L., Liu, K., Liu, J., & Zhang, R. (2017). Solving the stability–accuracy–diversity dilemma of recommender systems. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 468, 415-424.
  11. Li, W., Liu, K., Belitski, M., Ghobadian, A., O’Regan, N. (2017) e-Leadership through strategic alignment: an empirical study of small and medium sized enterprises in the digital age, Journal of Information Systems.
  12. Sun, L., Liu, K., Jambari, D. I. and Michell, V. (2016) Evaluating business value of IT towards optimisation of the application portfolio. Enterprise Information Systems, 10 (4). pp. 378-399. ISSN 1751-7575 doi: 10.1080/17517575.2014.939106
  13. Bo Tian, Jingti Han and Kecheng Liu (2016) Closed-Loop Feedback Computation Model of Dynamical Reputation Based on the Local Trust Evaluation in Business-to-Consumer E-Commerce, Information, 7(4), doi:10.3390/info7010004
  14. Bo Tian, Kecheng Liu and Yuanzhong Chen (2015) Dynamical Trust and Reputation Computation Model for B2C E-Commerce, Future Internet 2015, 7(4), 405-428; doi:10.3390/fi7040405.
  15. Changrui Yu, Yan Luo, Kecheng Liu (2015) Multi-attribute Collaborative Filtering Recommendation Based on Improved Group Decision-making, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMPUTERS COMMUNICATIONS & CONTROL. ISSN 1841-9836, 10(4):616-630, October, 2015.
  16. Lily Sun, Mohammad Yamin, Cleopa Mushi, Kecheng Liu, Mohammed Alsaigh, Fabian Chen (2014) Information Analytics for Healthcare Service Discovery, Journal of Healthcare Engineering, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp457-478. SCI IDS No.: AY5NU
  17. Lily Sun, Kecheng, Liu Dian Jambarid, Vaughan Michell (2014) Evaluating Business Value of IT towards Optimisation of Application Portfolio, Journal of Enterprise Information Systems, DOI: 10.1080/17517575.2014.939106.
  18. Xiaoyu Yang, David Wallom, Simon Waddington, Jianwu Wang, Arif Shaon, Brian Matthews, Michael Wilson, Yike Guo, Li Guo, Jon Blower, Athanasios V. Vasilakos, Kecheng Liu, Philip Kershaw (2014) Cloud Computing in e-Science: Research Challenges and Opportunities", Journal of Supercomputing, 70(1): 408-464 (2014),,SCI IDS No.: AQ0JB
  19. Rong, W.,Peng, B., Ouyang, Y., Liu, K., Xiong, Z. (2014). Collaborative Personal Profiling for Web Service Ranking and Recommendation. Information Systems Frontiers. Springer. DOI 10.1007/s10796-014-9495-4.
  20. Wenge Rong, Qinfen Wu, Yuanxin Quyang, Kecheng Liu, Zhang Xiong (2014) Stakeholder Identification and Analysis for Service Lifecycle Management, International Journal of Web Services Research, 11(1) 30-56. SCI IDS No.: AR2BA
  21. S. Molina, I. Soto, Lily Sun, Kecheng Liu (2014). Pervasive Environment for Gases Detection and Collapses in Underground Mines. Advanced Materials Research Vol. 875-877 (2014) pp 2056-2061.
  22. Weizi Li, Kecheng Liu, Hongqiao Yang, Changrui Yu (2014) Integrated clinical pathway management for medical quality improvement-based on a semiotically inspired systems architecture, European Journal of Information Systems (SCI indexed), 23(4), 400–417. doi:10.1057/ejis.2013.9.
  23. WANG Ruobin, LIU Kecheng, YAN Zhijun, WANG Qiuming (2013) Simplification and Application of Structured Equation Model in Human Computers Behavioural Research, METHEMATICS IN PRACTICE AND THEORY.


  1. Kecheng Liu, Keiichi Nakata, Weizi Li, Cecilar Baranauskas (2018, eds) Digitasation, Innovation and Transformation. 18th IFIP WG8.1 International Conference on Informatics and Semiotics in Organisations, ICISO 2018, Reading, UK, 16-18 July 2018, Proceedings (IFIP AICT 527), Springer
  2. Liu, K., Salgado,A., Bernadino,J., Filipe,J. (2017, Editors) Knowledge Discovery, Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management, Volume 3, revised selected papers from 9th International Joint Conference IC3K, SCITEPRESS
  3. Baranauskas, M. C. C., Liu, K., Sun, L., de Almeida Neris, V. P., Bonacin, R., & Nakata, K. (Eds.). (2016). Socially Aware Organisations and Technologies. Impact and Challenges: 17th IFIP WG 8.1 International Conference on Informatics and Semiotics in Organisations, ICISO 2016, Campinas, Brazil, August 1-3, 2016, Proceedings (Vol. 477). Springer
  4. Fred, A., Dietz, J.L., Aveiro, D ., Liu, K., Bernadino,J., Filipe, J. (2016, Editors) Knowledge Discovery, Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management, Volume 1- 3, revised selected papers from 8th International Joint Conference IC3K, SCITEPRESS
  5. Liu, K., Li, W. (2015) Organisational Semiotics and Business Informatics, Routledge, London and New York
  6. Kecheng Liu, Weizi Li (2015), Organisational Semiotics and Business Informatics, Routledge, London and New York.
  7. Liu, K., Nakata, K., Li, W., Galarreta, D. (2015, eds.) Information and Knowledge Management in Complex Systems, 6th IFIP WG 8.1 International Conference on Informatics and Semiotics in Organisations, Spinger, ISBN 978-3-319-16274-4
  8. Kecheng Liu, Stephen Richard Gulliver, Weizi Li, Changrui Yu (2014, eds) Service Science and Knowledge Innovation, The 15th International Conference on Informatics and Semiotics in Organisations (ICISO2014), IFIP TC8/WG8.1 Working Conference, Springer.
  9. Zhang, R., Zhang, Z., Liu, K., Zhang, J. (2013, eds.) Proceedings of 3rd International Conference on Logistics, Informatics and Service Science, Springer, ISBN 978-3-642-40660-7.
  10. Kecheng Liu, Weizi Li, Stephen Gulliver (2013, editors) Web of Things, People and Information Systems, Proceeding of 14th International Conference of Informatics an Semiotics in Organisations (ICISO2013), SCITEPRESS, ISBN: 987-989-8565-51-8.
  11. Ana Fred, Jan Dietz, Kecheng Liu, Joaquim Filipe (2013, Editors) Knowledge Discovery, Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management, revised selected papers from 2nd International Joint Conference IC3K, Springer.

PhD supervised and graduated:

  1. Impact analysis and interaction modelling of multi-stakeholders of the online healthcare community (Hangzhou Yang, registered in Beijing Institute of Technology, 9/2015 – 7/2019)
  2. The Network Effect and Helpfulness of Electronic Word-of- Mouth: Understanding the online consumer reviews in social networking sites . (Xue Pan, 1/2016 - 4/2019)
  3. Understanding Digital Business Ecosystem Partnerships and Developing a Method for Evaluating the Impact of Interdependencies between Entities in Value Co-creation (Prince Senyo, 8/2018)
  4. Node Similarity in Complex Networks and Its Applications in Online Recommendations (Lei Hou, 9/2015 – 8/2018)
  5. Flexibility and Extensibility of Information Systems (Deigo Fuentealba, 5/2014 – 10/2018)
  6. Semiotics for Enhancing Building Information Modelling (Bohan Tian, 5/2012 – 5/2016)
  7. Evaluation of Semiotic Interoperability for Enalbing Information Sharing between Business Processes (Shixiong Liu, 9/2011 - 1/2016)
  8. Organisational Semiotics Inspired Abductive Methodology of Developing Information Archicture for Healthcare Organisations (Chekfoun Tan, 9/2011 - 1/2016)
  9. Semantic Normal Form and Data Model Stability (Yasser Ades, p/t, 9/2010, viva 9/2015)
  10. Automatic Cost Estimation of Construction Project based on Building Information Modeling: a knowledge-based system approach. (Shen Xu, 9/2011 – 8/2015)
  11. Semiotics-Oriendted Methods for Generation of Clinical Pathways (Jasmine Tehrani, 1/2010 – 6/2015)
  12. An Assessment Framework to Guide the Reductin of Operational Energy Consumption and Carbon Emissions through Intelligent Buildings (S. Loung, EngD in collaboation with Capgemini, 10/2009 – 5/2015)
  13. Knowlege Engineering Based on Activity Theory and Organisational Semiotics (Nevien Galal Moawad, part-time, 9/2009 – 1/2015)
  14. Alighment of business and IT architecture (Hamad Balhareth, 1/2010 – 6/2013)
  15. A reference model for cultimating non-academic cometence in the context of Chinese universities (Jingshu Ji, part-time, 10/2008 – 5/2013)
  16. The Semiotics of Online Consumption – interpreting female consumers’ shopping and social networking behaviour in Saudi Arabia (Khalood Rambo, 10/2007 – 1/2013)
  17. Requirements engineering for automatic configuration of telecare systems (Lawrence Chidzambwa, 10/2009 – 12/2012)
  18. A Role-based Knowledge Profiling Framework using Semiotic Approach (Nazmona Mat Ali, 1/2008 – 12/2012)
  19. Pragmatic analysis of communications in successful collaboration in a multicultural distributed working environment (Ning Zhang, Part-time, 10/2007 – 9/2012)
  20. Multi-agent systems in building management to enhance sustainability and occupants’ well-being (Zhuotao Huang, 4/2008 – 3/2012)
  21. A Semiotics-based Framework for Revealing the Cultural Impact and Effect of Adopting an Innovation in Business Organisations (Majed Alrajhi, 10/2007 – 9/2011)

PhD Opportunity

Visualisation and Data Analytics from a Semiotic Perspective

Digital visualisation is a way of representing data, ranging from a simple form of visual display to a complex interactive animation. The boom in big data has triggered broad use of digital visualization in a variety of domains from, e.g. marketing, finance to healthcare. There are various approaches in realising data visualisation. A well-designed interactive visualisation underpinned by data mining and other analytical capabilities can help the user gain knowledge effectively and support decision-making.

Semiotics is a formal doctrine of signs introduced by Peirce back in the 1930’s. Organisational semiotics places emphasis on the effective use of information in business context. Data, under the study through visualisation, are signs. Organisational semiotics can serve as a theoretical foundation for the research in digital visualisation when pursuing questions such as data availability, access, format (data itself and display format); and particularly meaning (i.e. interpretation), purpose of data presented, and effect of visualised data on the recipients.

This PhD project aims at a key process of scientific inquiry in data visualisation, or a process of knowledge generation from a semiotic perspective. The project can be conducted from several angles, e.g. the conceptualisation as a semiotic process in digital visualisation, and mechanisms for visualisation in a dashboard allowing interactive data analytics and decision-making. High quality, interested applicants are welcome to get in touch with Prof. Liu by sending initial outlines together with CV, transcripts and other supporting documents.

Research Projects

  1. Big Data Driven Innovation and Management of Intelligent Healthcare, funded within the Scheme of Key Projects of National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (2016 – 2021). As the PI for University of Reading, we work with the project partners: Beijing Jiaotong University, Hospital 301 in Beijing, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The project aims to address key issues in health and medical service industry and to provide decision support for management of medical service in China. It involves the development and deployment of medical and health cloud database and platforms, to integrate the information resources of public health, basic medical care, basic medical service quality, measure of drug use, medical insurance and others. The project will reserach into the interconnection, sharing and optimal allocation of information resources in the urban and rural, medical and health institutions, and public health agencies and relevant authorities, to offer sulutions to improve the health service systems at the national, regional and district levels. Emerging technologies such mobile health, cloud computing and big data analytics will be used to build a platform for extending the quality services to provincial and rural areas.

  1. Economic Development, Technology and Entrepreneurship in Kazakhstan’s Energy Value China Competitiveness (2015 – 2017), a project funded by the British Council Newton Fund, based in the Kazakh-British Centre for Competitiveness led by Prof. Yelena Kalyuzhnova, with partnership of Kazakh-British Technical University in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

As the ICT theme leader, I am responsible for leading the team to investigate the use of ICT to enhance the competitiveness of Kazakh energy value network. The team also explores the role of ICT, particularly 3rd platform technologies such as cloud and mobile technologies in developing the resilience and competitiveness of Kazakh business ecosystems through economic diversification and digitization.

  1. E-Leadership skills for SMEs, an EU funded project (2014 – 2015). Through the coordination of Empirica (Germany), 5 top European business schools partnered in this project: Henley Business School (UK), TiasNimbos (NL), Antwerp Management School (Belgium), Aarhus Business School (Denmark), and New Bulgaria University Business School (Bulgaria) work together to investigate the demands, shortage and landscape of digital skills and leadership in European context. The project set the agenda and curricula for professional and executive training as well as academic educational programmes. As the lead from Henley Business School, a team of 5 colleagues successfully delivered a range of outcomes which contribute to the recommendations on policies and implementation guidelines for EU and national policy makers. The end results also include roadmaps and guidance for universities and industrial trainers on leveraging the potential for EU to remain competitive in the digital transformation.
  2. January 2016 – Novermbert 2019, CI (PI Prof. Anupam Nanda), Personalised Urban Living Solutions (PULS), grant value of £120k funded by UK Technology and Strategy Board (TSB), (Grant number TS/N005082/1m UoR Project code H5230800)
  3. April 2015 – March 2017, CI (PI Prof. Yelena Kalyuzhnova), British Council Newton Fund £254k, (Ref 172697816), Kazakh-British Centre for Competitiveness – enhancing competitiveness and prosperity.
  4. January 2014 – June 2015, PI, EU funded project €67k, e-Leadership skills for SMEs, (SI2.ACPROCE061259800)
  5. August 2013 – November 2016, PI, KTP project £142,353, Knowledge management enabling sharing of best practice in a global, distributed and collaborative business environment, with UBSA (KTP009100) (This project is extended with more funding till February 2017)

KTP projects

  1. Knowledge management enabling sharing of best practice in a global, distributed and collaborative business environment. With UBSA (United Bible Society Association, a major charity organization headquartered in the UK), this project aims to examine interoperability and knowledge sharing between large and complex organizational network. The project will deliver a set of business solutions underpinned by technical capabilities. (2013 – 2017).
  2. Semantics and Pragmatics in the new generation of Web 3. Working with System Associate, a consultancy firm serving customers of governments, education, public and other sectors, the project delivers the technology platforms and applications, drawing our research outcomes in semantic and pragmatic web and dynamic ontologies. (2011 – 2014).