Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World


Q&A with audio transcriptionist Teresa Bergen

As you may have heard, Wisconsinites love the people who can quickly turn our spoken words into written text. Transcriptionists are the unsung heroes of the oral history world, helping to make sure the incredible audio information stored in archives across the globe is accessible to the largest audience possible.

Read More
review of financial studies journal

Separating investment facts from flukes

There are hundreds of investment products in the market that claim to outperform. The idea is that certain information is identified that allow us to pick stocks that will do better than average and those that will do worse than average. When you buy the stocks that will do better and short sell the ones that you think will do worse, you have potentially identified a strategy that will ‘beat the market.’

Read More

National Cancer Institute’s new tool puts cancer risk in context

Type “cancer risk assessment” into Google, and you’ll come up with a list of assessment tools for particular cancers, most with a strong focus on personal risk factors related to lifestyle, exposures, and medical and family history. Would it help also to get a broader view of cancer risk? The National Cancer Institute thinks so.

Read More

The world’s most (in)famous exoplanet vanishes

In 2012, a team of astrophysicists led by Xavier Dumusque caused a sensation when they announced the discovery of Alpha Centauri Bb: an Earth-sized planet in the Alpha Centauri star system, the star system closest to the Sun. If verified, Alpha Centauri Bb would be the closest known exoplanet to our own Solar System, and possibly also the lowest mass planet ever discovered around a star similar to the Sun.

Read More

Can one hear the corners of a drum?

Why is the head of a drum usually shaped like a circle? How would it sound if it were shaped like a square instead? Or a triangle? If you closed your eyes and listened, could you tell the difference? The mathematics used to prove that “one can hear the corners of a drum” are founded on the study of two everyday phenomena: vibrations and heat conduction.

Read More
BEHECO cover

New Year’s Eve fireworks cause a mass exodus of birds

As the days get shorter, the Netherlands, a low lying waterlogged country, becomes a safe haven for approximately five million waders, gulls, ducks, and geese, which spend the winter here resting and foraging in fresh water lakes, wetlands, and along rivers. Many of these birds travel to the Netherlands from their breeding ranges in the Arctic.

Read More

The continuing conundrum of shared sanitation in slums

In an ideal world, each household would have their own toilet for privacy, practicality, and a sense of ownership—you’re much more likely to clean and maintain the facility if the toilet is yours. A toilet, latrine, or sanitation facility—these are several words to describe the same thing, namely the safe disposal of human waste, whilst providing privacy, dignity, and easy accessibility to all that need it (including young children or less abled individuals).

Read More
OUP International Law

International law at Oxford in 2015

It’s been another exciting year for international law at Oxford University Press. We have put together some highlights from 2015 to reflect on the developments that have taken place, from scholarly commentary on current events to technology updates and conference discussions.

Read More

Mythology redux: The Force Awakens once again

For some time now, I have been among those who have argued that the fandom associated with the Star Wars franchise is akin to a religion. There are those who will quarrel with the word choice, but it is hard to gainsay the dedication of fans to the original films

Read More

A few of our favorite things

In the spirit of Christmas (and in honor of our all-time-favorite daytime talk show host), our present to you is a list of some of our favorite things from 2015. We hope you enjoy reading our list as much as we did writing it.

Read More

Plagiarism or text recycling? It depends on the context.

If you went to college, your school likely had an official statement about plagiarism similar to this one from Oxford University: Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own, with or without their consent, by incorporating it into your work without full acknowledgement. All published and unpublished material, whether in manuscript, printed or electronic form, is covered under this definition.

Read More

Can history help us manage humanitarian crises?

People frequently ask whether the study of history can help in managing humanitarian crises. This question is particularly timely given the massive outflow of refugees from Syria and the problems of admitting large numbers of refugees to other countries, including the United States.

Read More
Journal of Design History

Aesthetics and the Victorian Christmas card

When we think of Christmas cards, we usually picture images of holly, robins, angels and candles, or snow-covered cottages with sledging children, Nativity scenes with visiting Wise Men, or benevolent Santas with sacks full of presents. Very rarely, I imagine, do we picture a summer woodland scene features lounging female figures in classical dress and a lyre-playing cherub.

Read More
Journal of Conflict and Security Law

The ISIS emergence: Enemy of the international community

Labeling ISIS simply a terrorist organization or an apocalyptic sect of fanatics does very little in terms both of explaining and of confronting the phenomenon. What – among other things – lies at the basis of its emergence, behind and through its acts of brutality, is a different vision of international community, one hostile to that which the vast majority of states and international organizations share.

Read More
Migration cover blog

Getting rid of Schrödinger’s immigrant

One of the best jokes circulating on social media today is a bogus announcement that Donald Trump is warning Americans about ‘Schrödinger’s immigrant’: a foreigner who lazes around on benefits while simultaneously stealing your job. A UK version of the gag circulated during the recent general election, also playing on the famous quantum physics paradox, in which a single particle that exists simultaneously in two opposite states theoretically causes a cat in a sealed box to be both dead and alive at the same time.

Read More

Focus on concussions: why now?

Lately, not a day goes by when we don’t hear about which professional athlete has been sidelined or benched due to a concussion. Formerly the province of boxers, concussions, once called “the invisible injury,” are no longer invisible, as network TV and the movie industry have unveiled their presence across sports, whether football, ice hockey, soccer, rugby, NASCAR, and beyond.

Read More