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libraries

Conversations and collaborations: lessons from the Charleston Conference

As a first-time attendee of the Charleston Library Conference earlier this month, I knew I was headed for a few idea-charged days, but was overwhelmed by the amount of things I learned from the conference. The conference, according to its website, “is designed to be a collegial gathering of individuals from different areas who discuss the same issues in a non-threatening, friendly, and highly informal environment.”

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How Facebook’s Aquila initiative provides an impetus to rethink the boundaries in competition law

Aquila is the Latin word for eagle, but it is also an ambitious Facebook project to provide internet access by solar-powered drones. In India, the project was supposed to provide internet access to the rural and most impoverished areas. Yet, the project was prohibited by the telecoms regulator for several reasons, one being net neutrality. The project would have offered free access to Facebook and some associated web pages and access to the rest of the internet for a fee.

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9780190634285

Place of the Year spotlight: Tristan da Cunha, the most interesting place you’ve (n)ever heard of

I confess that when I saw Tristan da Cunha among the nominations for Place of the Year, I had no idea where it was, but once I got out my atlas, I was intrigued. Colloquially known as Tristan, the eight-mile-wide island is the most remote inhabited place in the world: it lies 1,200 miles east of the nearest inhabited island, Saint Helena, and a full 1,500 miles east of the nearest continental land, South Africa.

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baylis

Ten surprising facts about humanitarian intervention

After the end of the Cold War, humanitarian intervention – the use of military force to protect populations from humanitarian emergencies without the consent of the host state – emerged as one of the hottest topics of international relations. As is usually the case in world politics, the actual practice of humanitarian intervention is more complex, than we might think.

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Jacob Tonson the elder, international spy and businessman

Few have heard of him today, but Jacob Tonson the Elder (1656?-1736) was undoubtedly one of the most important booksellers in the history of English literature. He numbered Addison, Behn, Congreve, Dryden, Echard, Oldmixon, Prior, Steele, and Vanbrugh among those canonical authors whom he published. His reputation was international, and the quality and range of his classical editions remained a benchmark throughout the eighteenth century.

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Are we responsible for our lifestyle diseases?

Within the last couple of decades more and more research have shown a number of diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, to be associated with particular lifestyle characteristics such as smoking, lack of exercise, and over-eating. Confronted with such research, it is timely to raise questions about individual responsibility for getting those diseases (or the increased risk thereof)

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9780199668427

How did Shakespeare originally sound?

We all know the classic Shakespearean lines – “To be or not to be,” “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?” or “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” — but how would these famous lines have sounded to Elizabethan audiences? Are we currently misinterpreting the Bard? This question has been on the mind of Shakespeare scholars, directors, actors, and audiences for a long time, and has proved a tricky problem.

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Helping students excel with integrity

On 19 October 2016 the International Center for Academic Integrity called for education institutions to join an International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating. Using the hashtags #defeatthecheat and #excelwithintegrity, students and staff were invited to share their declarations of why ‘contract cheating’ (that is, paying someone to do your academic work) is wrong. The idea was to raise awareness – not just within institutions but in the public and legislative domains too.

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oxford-dictionaries

The origin of Black Friday and other Black Days

Across the US, those who are not too replete with their Thanksgiving feast will be braving the crowds in order to secure themselves one of the bargains associated with Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving which is often regarded as the first day of Christmas shopping in the US. Even on the […]

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Oxford Textbook of Medicine: Cardiovascular Disorders

Can more be said about statins?

Statins are drugs that are very effective in reducing the level of cholesterol in the blood. They have been shown in many trials to reduce the incidence of heart attacks and strokes. They are taken by very many people, but some argue that even more would benefit from doing so, although not everyone agrees. I am waiting to be reported to the General Medical Council.

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oral history review

A note of thanks, a dose of sanity

2016 has had far more than its share of horribleness. Many of us are ready to leave this year far behind, even as we’re terrified of what the coming years may bring. At a time when many people are being told that their voices and lives don’t matter, we think oral historians have a vital role to play in amplifying silenced voices and helping us all imagine a better future.

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9780198717058

Reflections on ‘chatbot’

A chatbot, or chatterbot, is computer program designed to engage in conversation through written or spoken text. It was one of the words on the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 shortlist. The idea of a chatbot originates with Alan Turing’s mid twentieth century aspiration to build a thinking computer. Turing proposed a test to determine what might count as success in this venture.

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asian-american

The year of hating immigrants

2016 has been a year of bitter political debates fueled in large part by drastic divides regarding how immigrants affect national well-being. The US presidential race, the British Brexit vote and other challenges within the European Union, and growing competition against the otherwise durable German Chancellor Angela Merkel all display deeply rooted fears of inadequately controlled immigration.

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Black Friday: the dark side of scarcity promotions

Does simply encountering a scarcity promotion, such as a newspaper or television advertisement or online pop-up ad, cultivate seeds of aggressive behavior in consumers and predispose them to act in a violent manner? Is marketplace aggression not merely the outcome of crowds during shopping holidays, but activated beforehand at ad exposure?

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Computational Theories and their Implementation in the Brain

How does the brain work?

The media are full of stories about how this or that area of the brain has been shown to be active when people are scanned while doing some task. The images are alluring and it is tempting to use them to support this or that just-so story. However, they are limited in that the majority of the studies simply tell us where in the brain things are happening. But the aim of neuroscience is to discover how the brain works.

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