Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Science & Medicine

The underrated value of stargazing

When did you last look up at the night sky? Before the advent of streetlights, paying attention to the heavens above us would have been an everyday part of existence, as commonplace as noticing the weather. Now, as many of us hurry from brightly lit office buildings to the cosy lights of home, few remember […]

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Music and spirituality at the end of life

Music and spirituality are two mediums frequently – almost ubiquitously – partnered in cultures around the world with the intention of enhancing engagement with the divine. Spiritual practices are infused with music to intensify the transpersonal components of worship, meditation, and ritual. Correspondingly, musical encounters are infused with spiritually-based beliefs and practices to provide individuals […]

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The long trauma of revenge porn

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the intersection of sexual violence and technology has become an invisible tidal wave heading for the shores of our smart phones. Revenge porn – academically known as image-based abuse, non-consensual pornography, or the non-consensual sharing of intimate images – is one of a host of cyber-sexual violations clustered […]

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Looking back on 10 years of global road safety

According to the World Health Organization there were 1.35 million road traffic deaths globally in 2016 and between 20 and 50 million more people suffered non-fatal injuries and/or disabilities. Most of these collisions occurred in low- and middle-income countries and involved pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. In addition, road traffic collisions are the leading killer of those between 15 and 29 years of age.

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Why hurricanes are deadly for older people

Meteorologists have pinpointed 10 September as the peak of hurricane season. September is the most active month of the year for Atlantic hurricane season, and 2019 is no exception. In early September, Dorian devastated the Bahamas, and wreaked havoc on the southeastern United States. Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico in September 2017, just weeks after Harvey […]

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Cancer patient or cancer survivor? Understanding illness identity.

The good news is that many people now survive their cancer. They are either cured or live with cancer as a chronic illness. However, life after cancer can vary between cancer survivors. Some are almost symptom free and return to a normal life after completion of treatment, while others could experience persistent side effects of cancer and treatment long after treatment has ended.

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A new twist on rapid evolution in the Anthropocene

Many people view evolution as an extremely slow, long-term process by which organisms gradually adapt and diversify over millennia. But researchers also have found that rapid evolutionary change can occur over mere centuries, or even decades. Such ongoing rapid evolution is the focus of a fast-moving field of empirical work, made easier by new techniques […]

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It’s not just young people who are pre-drinking

Pre-drinking, the act of drinking at home before going out, is an issue of global concern due to its links with greater overall drinking across the night, and increased risk of assaults, injuries, and arrest. Generally people pre-drink due to the high cost of drinks in licensed premises, to socialize with friends, reduce social anxiety before going […]

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Reviewing for scientific journals: A how to

Scientific journals are complex ecosystems, bringing together different actors in what is loosely akin to an inquisitorial court of law. The chief editor is the judge. She will decide whether a manuscript goes out for review and makes the final decision should the paper be peer reviewed. Members of the editorial board are like council, […]

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Beyond open defecation: a free, clean India

The Right to Sanitation in India: Critical Perspectives, edited by Philipe Cullet, Sujith Koonan, and Lovleen Bhullar, represents the first effort to conceptually engage with the right to sanitation and its multiple dimensions in India. We sat down with editor Philipe Cullet to analyse the contributions of the law and policy framework to the realisation of the right to sanitation in India, the place the book holds in the socio-political landscape, and its international and comparative relevance.

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Do we unfairly demonise food processing?

Today, we constantly hear concerns about the dangers of processed food and it is sometimes portrayed as opposite to natural and healthy food. Is this warranted? What does ‘food processing’ even really mean? To a food scientist, food processing is any method used to make food safe to eat, enhance its stability, or change its form.

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The future of humanitarian medicine

Humanitarian medicine aims to provide essential relief to those destabilized by crises. This concept, the humanitarian imperative, expands the principles of humanity to include, as a right, the provision of aid to those suffering the consequences of war, natural disaster, epidemic or endemic diseases, or displacement. Providing assistance to those in crises is a premise as […]

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A 13-year-old scholar shares her research experiences

I noticed that sometimes after using a hand dryer my ears would start ringing. At first I didn’t really pay attention to it, but then I wondered if they were too loud, and that was why my ears were hurting. Also, I noticed that in many cases, when children were in washrooms with hand dryers, […]

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Robot rats are the future of recycling

I just watched WALL-E for the first time in five years or so. It’s the story of a plucky little robot tasked with cleaning up the world by compacting rubbish into blocks and building structures out of the blocks to minimize the amount of land they take up. Of course, he falls in love and saves the […]

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Why academics announce plans for research that might never happen

Why do academic writers announce their plans for further work at the end of their papers in peer reviewed journals? It happens in many disciplines, but here’s an example from an engineering article: Additionally, in our future work, we will extend our model to incorporate more realistic physical effects . . . We will expand the detection […]

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