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Historical “emojis”

Emojis originated as a way to guide the interpretation of digital texts, to replace some of the clues we get in ordinary speech or writing that help us understand what someone is trying to communicate. In person or over the telephone, facial expression and voice modulation help us get our meaning across; in most forms of writing — blog posts, stories, even emails — we have the luxury of expressing ourselves at some length, which hopefully leads to clarity.

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Emojis and ambiguity in the digital medium

The selection of the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji by Oxford Dictionaries as its Word of the Year recognises the huge increase in the use of these digital pictograms in electronic communication. While 2015 may have witnessed their proliferation, emoji are not new. They were originally developed in Japan in the 1990s for use by teenagers on their pagers; the word emoji derives from the Japanese e ‘picture’ + moji ‘character, letter’.

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The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is… an emoji

As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time to look back and see which words have been significant throughout the past twelve months, and to announce the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year. Without further ado, we can reveal that the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015 is…

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How and why are scientific theories accepted?

November 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. This theory is one of many pivotal scientific discoveries that would drastically influence our understanding of the world around us.

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Marie-Antoinette and the French Revolution

Although most historians of the French Revolution assign the French queen Marie-Antoinette a minor role in bringing about that great event, a good case can be made for her importance if we look more deeply into her politics than most scholars have.

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Three challenges for the International Criminal Court

The Rome Statute system is a partnership between the International Criminal Court as an institution and its governing body, the Assembly of States Parties. Both must work together in order to overcome a number of challenges, which fall within three broad themes.

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5 academic books that will shape the future

What is the future of academic publishing? We’re celebrating University Press Week and Academic Book Week with a series of blog posts on scholarly publishing from staff and partner presses. Following on from our list of academic books that changed the world, we’re looking to the future and how our current publishing could change lives and attitudes in years to come.

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Pathogens and Disease journal cover

What to do about whooping cough?

A century ago, pertussis, or whooping cough as it is also known, was one of those infectious diseases that most children went down with at some stage. There was a lot of suffering from the severe and prolonged bouts of coughing and many deaths occurred, especially in very young children.

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Katy Perry vs. William Shakespeare: Grammar showdown

Why is Katy Perry’s song title “I Kissed a Girl” grammatically correct? Which famous playwright frequently mixed up “who” vs. “whom?” Are students as terrible at using modern grammar as they think they are? We sat down with author and grammarian, Stephen Spector, to learn more about the history of English grammar and how we can get better at using it.

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SIPRI Yearbook Online

Are you a foreign affairs expert? [quiz]

From peace missions and cyber attacks, border disputes and disarmament treaties taking place across the globe, there’s no doubt that 2014 was a tumultuous and eventful year for foreign affairs and international relations. Which government declared itself feminist in 2014? Do you know which countries spend the most on their military? Who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize […]

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Amartya Sen on gender equality

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, author of The Country of First Boys: And Other Essays talks to Amrita Dutta from The Indian Express about why inequality persists, his educational experiences, and his love for Sanskrit literature.

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A timeline of academic publishing at Oxford University Press

What is the future of academic publishing? We’re celebrating University Press Week (8-14 November 2015) and Academic Book Week (9-16 November) with a series of blog posts on scholarly publishing from staff and partner presses. Today, we present a timeline that shows how academic publishing has developed in Oxford since 1478.

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Oxford Dictionaries

The AUTO- age

How readily someone may be understood when using a new word will depend on several factors: the intuitable transparency of meaning, its clarity in context, the receptiveness of the audience, and so on.

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Booker T. Washington’s undervalued legacy

When Booker T. Washington died on this day in 1915, he was widely regarded not just as “the most famous black man in the world” but also “the most admired American of his time.” In the one hundred years since his death, he and his legacy have lost much of their luster in the eyes of the public, even though he, no less than Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Martin Luther King, Jr., is one of the foremost figures in the history of the American civil rights movement.

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