Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

25 years of contemporary war crimes tribunals

Much as a single discovery can transform science, paradigm shifts in international law can emerge with astonishing speed. Twenty-five years ago, the UN Security Council sparked such a shift when it created a war crimes tribunal to punish those responsible for “ethnic cleansing” in the former Yugoslavia.

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How can research impact patients’ health in the “real world”?

As an academic researcher, my primary goal is to improve population health. I was trained in innovative study designs, rigorous analytic approaches, and taught that fidelity to the methods is of the utmost importance. However, it is just as important that patients actually use the programs that we design to improve their health. Unfortunately, the few health programs that actually make it into the community can take years—even decades—to get there.

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Animal of the Month: 8 things threatening koalas [slideshow]

Despite being found only on one continent in the world, many of us appreciate everything koalas have to offer. We celebrated this endearing marsupial earlier this month on Wild Koala Day and have continued the revelries by providing interesting facts throughout the month. Highlighting this iconic Australian mammal is of continued importance as the wild population continues to decrease. According to some estimates, the koala population in Queensland between 1996 and 2016 decreased by as much as 80%. Here, we present some of the leading threats Phascolarctos cinereus face in their bid to survive in the modern world.

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Winged words: the importance of birds in the ancient world

One good reason for studying the natural history of the ancient world is that it takes us outside the bubble we happen to be living in now, and enables us to look back at our world from the outside, as it were, and perhaps see it differently. As T.S. Elliot famously said, “the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

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Encyclopedia editions in the digital age

When Grove Music Online launched its new website last December, it marked the beginning of a new era for the encyclopedic dictionary that serves as a primary reference tool for music scholars. Grove has been in continuous publication since 1879 and online since 2001, but the version of Grove that was published on December 2017 remade the dictionary for the first time as “digital first”—that is, with online prioritized over print—and is thus Grove’s first truly digital edition.

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The New England Watch and Ward Society

The New England Watch and Ward Society

Ninety-two years ago this month, a confrontation took place on the Boston Common between New England’s Protestant establishment and a coalition of secular activists. Representing these two positions were J. Frank Chase, chief agent for the New England Watch and Ward Society, and H.L. Mencken, the well-known Baltimore journalist and editor of the avant-garde American Mercury.

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Spick and span: a suspicious hybrid

Etymology is a peaceful area of study. But read the following: “Spick and Span.—These words have been sadly tortured by our etymologists—we shall, therefore, do our best to deliver them from further persecution. Tooke is here more than usually abusive of his predecessors; however, Nemesis, always on the watch, has permitted him to give a lumbering, half Dutch, half German, etymology; of ‘shining new from the warehouse’—as if such simple colloquial terms were formed in this clumsy round-about way.

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Do liquid biopsies have potential to outperform tissue diagnostics?

Cancer diagnosis can often be an exhausting, extensive process with endless tests, scans, and screenings. We all know the importance of early detection and successful treatments to potentially save thousands of lives every year, so could liquid biopsies offer the lifeline we’ve been holding out for? 

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Is the pre-crisis central bank model still viable after the Great Recession?

The global financial crisis, which started a decade ago and led to the Great Recession, caused profound changes in central bank practices. Extraordinary responsibilities were thrust upon central banks, particularly the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve. A key issue now is whether there will be a return to the central bank model which dominated advanced economies for over two decades leading up to the crisis.

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Counting usage: why do we need a new Code of Practice?

The COUNTER Code of Practice is the industry-standard format for usage reporting of electronic resources. COUNTER has published a new Code of Practice, Release 5. We spoke with Lorraine Estelle, COUNTER’s Director and Company Secretary, to gain an insight into COUNTER, the new Code of Practice, and what it means for libraries.

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Modernising royal weddings: a historical perspective

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding demonstrated on a spectacular scale that there is an enduring interest among sections of the press and public in royal love stories. Amidst all the pomp and circumstance, and alongside all the usual reports on street parties, flowers, presents, and the bridal dress, the media coverage focused on the couple’s desire to “democratise” the celebrations by enabling a greater number of ordinary people to share in their wedding day than ever before.

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Library discovery: past, present, and future

Librarians have been rising to the challenge of helping users discover content as long as libraries have existed, and evolving discovery solutions are an interesting byproduct of the information dissemination challenges of the time. Before the printing press, medieval libraries were typically geographically isolated with a small number of hand-copied texts. Discovery tools included handwritten omnibus catalogs listing collections from the libraries of other nearby cloisters or monasteries, so the limited number of books could be more widely discoverable.

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Does consolidation in health care mean patients suffer?

The recent news that US retail giant CVS Health will purchase insurance giant Aetna, in part to gain millions of new customers for its prescription drug and primary care businesses, is another ominous sign for patients. Consolidation often limits competition, and when that happens in market-based systems the result, says good research, is often that the cost of health care goes up.

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WHO advances the right to health for universal health coverage

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been central to the development of human rights for public health, and as the Organization seeks to mainstream human rights in global health governance, this year’s World Health Assembly (May 21-25) comes at a unique time and provides a key forum to advance the right to health as a moral foundation and political catalyst to advance universal health coverage.

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Covert action is theatre – and the curtain isn’t coming down yet

We are told that intelligence activities are eye-wateringly secret. Yet they have been surprisingly prominent of late. Senior politicians and armies of online bloggers alike are trading bitter accusations about dark arts and dirty tricks.  This is covert action: perhaps the most sensitive – and controversial – of all state activity. What is striking, however, is the visibility of the supposedly hidden hand behind recent operations.

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Child’s play: pioneers of child psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis, a therapeutic method for treating mental health issues, explores the interaction of the conscious and unconscious elements of the mind. Originating with Sigmund Freud in the late 19th century, the practice has evolved exponentially in terms of both treatment and research applications. Much of Freud’s theory acknowledged that childhood experiences often affect individuals later in life, which was expanded upon by analysts who believed that mental health issues can affect individuals at all stages of their life.

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