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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Eric Partridge as an etymologist

Eric Partridge is deservedly famous among word lovers. His main area of expertise was substandard English, that is, slang and cant. In this blog post, the Oxford Etymologist offers a tribute to an indefatigable word hunter and a great expert in the field that interests many people.

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The SHAPE of things [podcast]

In January, Oxford University Press announced its support for SHAPE, a new collective name for the humanities, arts, and social sciences and an equivalent term to STEM. SHAPE stands for Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts for People and the Economy and aims to underline the value that these disciplines bring to society. Over the last year or so, huge attention has—rightly—been placed on scientific and technological advancement but does that mean we’re overlooking the contribution of SHAPE in finding solutions to global issues?

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Socio-Economic Review

Cybervetting in hiring: the hunt for moral performances

In roughly 7 out of 10 workplaces in the US, HR professionals use cybervetting to get to “know a person” beyond information provided on a resume. But what are cybervetters really attempting to learn, what inferences do they make, and what does any of this have to do with how a candidate will perform on the job?

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Accessibility in academic publishing: more than just compliance

If you’re lucky enough to be able to simply open a webpage and engage with the content hosted there, the likelihood is that you rarely think about what it would be like if you couldn’t do that. What if you were visually impaired but the page was indecipherable to your screen reader?

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The “Ready… Set… Go!” phrase structure in Classical Era music

We all know the joyful anticipation of that exciting phrase. Whether getting ready for a “race” with my granddaughter or waiting for the gun at the start of a half-marathon, just the thought of it brings a bit of an adrenaline rush. This mindset transcends culture, space, and time, and presents itself structurally in Classical Era music.

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Fading signs of son preference

Son preference is a phenomenon that has strong historical roots in many western and non-western cultures. The positions of men and women in modern societies are becoming more aligned. In this context, it is natural to ask whether son preference is yet another social phenomenon that is losing its historical ground. Could it even be that in some domains of life such preference is already a thing of the past?

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The US Congress

The Senate’s unchanging rules

At his recent press conference, President Biden said that he came to the Senate 120 years ago. I knew exactly what he meant because I got there three years after him when I joined the Senate Historical Office in 1976, and it was a different world.

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The Spanish Civil War: a nostalgia of hope

This summer will mark the 85th anniversary of the start of the Spanish Civil War, a brutal struggle that began with a military uprising against the democratic Second Republic and ended, three years later, in victory for the rebels under General Francisco Franco. The enduring fascination of that conflict, its ability to grip the global imagination, belies its geographical scale and is testament to the power of art.

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Why has Gaza frequently become a battlefield between Hamas and Israel?

During the past decade, the eyes of the world have often been directed toward Gaza. This tiny coastal enclave has received a huge amount of diplomatic attention and international media coverage. The plight of its nearly two million inhabitants has stirred an outpouring of humanitarian concern, generating worldwide protests against the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

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Public Policy and Aging Report

The risks of privatization in the Medicaid and Medicare programs

Increasingly, two of the largest publicly supported healthcare programs, Medicaid and Medicare, are administered by for-profit insurance companies. The privatization of the Medicaid long-term care programs has been implemented largely through state managed care contracts with insurance companies to administer Medicaid LTC funds.

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The Hidden History of Coined Words

Do you know how these words were coined? [Quiz]

Successful word-coinages—those that stay in lingual currency for a good, long time—tend to conceal their beginnings. In The Hidden History of Coined Words, author and word sleuth Ralph Keyes explores the etymological underworld of terms and expressions and uncovers plenty of hidden gems.

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The Oxford Handbook of Migration Crises

The real crisis at the US border

Once again, we are exposed to daily doses of “border crisis” news. Calling the groups of immigrants arriving at the US Southern border a crisis has become an easy shorthand with sensationalist overtones. It provokes reactions across the range of political opinions, as well as among government officials and civil society actors alike. But is there really a crisis at the border? Or is this crisis located elsewhere? And whose crisis is it?

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