Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Why research needs to be published in new and accessible formats

Technological advancements, accessibility needs, and study practices have and will continue to develop at a rapid pace. We find, use, and publish research completely differently than we did 25 years ago. But Oxford University Press has been publishing Very Short Introductions throughout this period.  Launched in 1995, these publications offer concise introductions to a diverse […]

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Seven ways to talk to terminal patients

Before COVID-19 arrived in our lives, chronic illness was considered the next worldwide pandemic. But COVID-19 did arrive and life as we knew it has radically changed. Healthcare workers, particularly nurses and physicians, are now having frequent palliative care (the area of end-of-life care that focuses on patient comfort) conversations although most are not trained […]

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How to foster national resilience during a crisis

Resilience means overcoming adversity by successfully adapting to negative life events, trauma, stress, or risk. At the individual level, people who are resilient draw on their own internal resources and aptitudes, and on external supports such as mutual aid networks. Community resilience refers to cultural strengths that insulate members from external attacks. Such attacks might […]

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Word Origins

Etymology gleanings for May 2020

I promised not to return to Spelling Reform and will be true to my word. The animated discussion of a month ago (see the comments following the April gleanings) is instructive, and I’ll only inform the contributors to that exchange that nothing they wrote is new. It is useful to know the history of the problem being discussed, for what is the point of shooting arrows into the air?

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Why global crises are political, not scientific, problems

In his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize he was awarded in 2007, Al Gore, the former American Vice President, made the claim that “the climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity.” The reason why Gore does not see climate change as a political […]

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Six ways to reduce your environmental impact

Over the last 50 years, human population has doubled, and global trade has increased ten-fold, drawing more deeply on Earth’s natural resources, warming the climate, and polluting the global environment. If current climate trends continue, a third of the global population will live in places warmer than the heart of the Sahara Desert 50 years […]

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The life of Charles Dickens [timeline]

Charles Dickens is credited with creating some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and is widely regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian age. Even before reading the works of Dickens many people have met him already in some form or another. Today marks the 150th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ death and to commemorate his life we created a short timeline showcasing […]

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John Dewey’s aesthetic philosophy

John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist, and social reformer who developed theories that changed philosophical perspectives and contributed extensively to education, democracy, pragmatism, and the philosophy of logic, politics, and aesthetics in the first half of the twentieth-century. Born in Burlington, Vermont, in 1859, Dewey graduated from the University of Vermont in 1879. Following […]

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How anti-immigration policies hurt public health

Immigration is neither a new issue nor an exclusively American one. In 2017, there were more than 250  million immigrants living worldwide, and about 2.4 million people migrate across national borders each year. Migration also occurs within national borders—it is estimated that more than 750 million people live within their country of birth, but in a […]

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Everyone and their dog

A writer friend of mine posted a social media query asking for advice on verb choice.   The phrase in question was “… since everyone and his poodle own/owns a gun…” Should the verb be in the singular or the plural? More than fifty people weighed in.  Some reasoned that there was a compound subject […]

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How paternity leave can help couples stay together

The birth of a child is accompanied by many changes in a couple’s life. The first few weeks and months are a time of acquiring new skills and creating new habits which allow parents to carry on with their other responsibilities while also caring for the new family member. Many decisions need to be made: […]

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Twelve books that give context to current protests [reading list]

Cities across the United States have seen ongoing protests since the death of George Floyd while in police custody on 25 May. Conversations are taking place on social media as well as in the real world, and media coverage has been relentless. We at Oxford University Press would like to highlight some of our books across politics, history, and philosophy that we hope can contribute to the important conversations currently taking place and provide valuable context. Where possible, we’ve made some of these books available at no cost for a limited time.

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Word Origins

The history of the word “sword”: Part 2

Last week (May 27, 2020), I discussed two attempts to solve the etymology of sword. The second of them would not have deserved so much attention if Elmar Seebold, the editor of the best-known German etymological dictionary, had not cited it as the only one possibly worthy of attention. His is a minority opinion, which does not mean it is wrong, though I believe it is.

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What history can tell us about infectious diseases

One of the remarkable achievements of the past hundred years has been the reduction of the global toll of death from infectious disease. The combination of applied biological science, improved living and working conditions, and standards of living, together with the benefits of planned parenthood, have transformed the health landscape for millions of people, not […]

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How after school music programs have adapted to online music playing

“OrchKids is working hard to stay ahead of the curve!” That’s the message delivered this spring to friends and supporters of OrchKids, a free after-school music instruction program for more than 2,000 Baltimore students, pre-K through high school. In March 2020, OrchKids staff had to totally change their way of teaching. The public schools where they […]

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Eight books that make you think about how you treat the earth

The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the climate that makes our planet livable all comes from nature. Yet, most that live here treat our planet superfluously, rather than something to be admired. During this COVID-19 pandemic, nature seems to be sending us a message: To care for ourselves […]

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