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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Cognitive biases and the implications of Big Data

Big Data analytics have become pervasive in today’s economy. While they produce countless novelties for businesses and consumers, they have led to increasing concerns about privacy, behavioral manipulations, and even job losses. But the handling of vast quantities of data is anything but new.

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World Mental Health Day 2017: History of the treatment of mental illness

The tenth of October marks World Mental Health Day. Organized by the World Health Organization, the day works toward “raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.” Mental health has been a concern for thousands of years, but different cultures have treated mental illnesses very differently throughout time.

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A short walk per day: a look at the importance of self-care

“What have you been doing that has been especially important over the past several years?” In the following video and shortened excerpt from Night Call, Robert J. Wicks explains how this question helped him realize the importance of striking a balance between compassion for others and self-care.

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Avoiding World War III: lessons from the Cuban Missile Crisis

An American president, recently made aware of a new potential nuclear threat to US cities, declared that any nuclear missile launched against any nation in the western hemisphere would require “a full retaliatory response.” The chair of the House Armed Services Committee argued that the United States should strike “with all the force and power and try to get it over with as quickly as possible.”

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Can marriage officers refuse to marry same-sex couples?

Freedom of religion and same-sex equality are not inherently incompatible. But sometimes they do seem to be on a collision course. This happens, for instance, when religiously devout marriage officers refuse to marry same-sex couples. In the wake of legal recognition of same-sex marriage around the world, states have grappled with civil servants who cannot reconcile their legal duties with their religious beliefs.

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Energy and contagion in Durkheim’s The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life

Emile Durkheim was a foundational figure in the disciplines of sociology and anthropology, yet recapitulations of his work sometimes overlook his most intriguing ideas, ideas which continue to have contemporary resonance. Here, I am going to discuss two such ideas from Durkheim’s The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (originally published in 1912 and then in English in 1915), his concept of energy and contagion.

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Biology Week 2017: 10 facts about fungus

Organised by the Royal Society of Biology, Biology Week (7-15th October) is a nationwide celebration of the biological sciences, from microbes to photosynthesis, from yeast to zooplankton. The 8th October is UK Fungus Day, so to celebrate this, and Biology Week as a whole, we’ve put together a list of things you may not know about fabulous fungus!

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American personhood in the era of Trump

After the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia on 12 August, 2017, the people of the United States waited anxiously for a response from their president. Sure enough, the first response came that day, denunciatory but equivocal. He condemned the violence coming from “many sides,” a response many found dissatisfactory considering that it was not counterprotesters but the alt-right who were responsible.

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Philosopher of the month: Confucius [infographic]

This October, the OUP Philosophy team honors Confucius (551 BC–479 BC) as their Philosopher of the Month. Recognized today as China’s greatest teacher, Confucius was an early philosopher whose influence on intellectual and social history extended well beyond the boundaries of China. Born in the state of Lu during the Zhou dynasty, Confucius dedicated his […]

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Time for international law to take the Internet seriously

Internet-related legal issues are still treated as fringe issues in both public and private international law. Anyone doubting this claim need only take a look at the tables of content from journals in those respective fields. However, approaching Internet-related legal issues in this manner is becoming increasingly untenable. Let us consider the following: Tech companies feature prominently on lists ranking the world’s most powerful companies.

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The history of the library

Our love of libraries is nothing new, and history records famous libraries as far back as those of Ashurbanipal (in 7th-century BCE Assyria) and Ancient Greek Alexandria. As society and culture have progressed, so too have our libraries. Even epochs such as the Middle Ages (known erroneously as the “Dark Ages” for its lack of […]

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Pushed to extremes: the human cost of climate change

However, a parallel and equally disturbing trend is happening ecologically in the US, with the rejection of climate change science and the withdrawal from the Paris Accord. Though climate change may at first appear to be a separate issue from the xenophobia and anti-refugee mindset, they are more inextricably tied to one another than we are led to believe.

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Does anyone know what mental health is?

The concept of mental health lives a double life. On the one hand it denotes a state today universally valued. Not simply valued but newly prioritised by governments, hospitals, schools, employers, charities and so on. Expressions such as “mental capital” or “mental wealth of nations” appear in official reports and high profile articles emphasising the […]

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Fire prevention: the lessons we can learn

The United States spends more on health than any other economically comparable country, yet sees a consistently mediocre return on this investment. This could be because the United States invests overwhelmingly in medicine and curative care, at the expense of the social, economic, and environmental determinants of health—factors like quality education and housing, the safety of our air and water, and the nutritional content of our food.

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The frailty industry: too much too soon?

Fashions come and go, in clothing, news, and even movie genres. Medicine, including geriatric medicine, is no exception. When I was a trainee, falls and syncope was the “next big thing,” pursued with huge enthusiasm by a few who became the many. But when does a well-meaning medical fashion become a potentially destructive fad? Frailty, quite rightly, has developed from something geriatricians and allied professionals always did to become a buzz word even neurosurgeons bandy about.

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