Piracy, Tourette's, Snakes, Spots, War


Every day, The Browser selects and summarises the five best articles from across the web on every imaginable topic. Here, instead we turn our attention to the world of academic writing and have selected five papers from different disciplines worth your attention.

Those without institutional access to some of the publications below might be interested in this additional paper. For previous editions see: Academia


Sci-Hub Provides Access To Scholarly Literature

Daniel Himmelstein et al. | eLife | 9 February 2018 | U

Three quarters of scholarly papers are restricted by paywalls online, but the piracy website Sci-Hub provides a level of access to this content that far outstrips the institutional reach of even large research universities. The website's popularity and the decline in library journal subscriptions has led to calls to entirely reconsider the structure of academic publishing (7,678 words or DOI: 10.7554/eLife.32822.001)


It’s Not Tourette’s

Kirsten R Müller-Vahl | Brain | 23 August 2021 | U

The last few years has seen a marked rise in cases of young people expressing treatment-resistant Tourette’s symptoms. The study argues that this is not a neurological public health crisis, but a sociogenic one influenced by social media and popular YouTubers. The faux cases are easily twigged by experts, but similar to 14th century "dancing plagues", they still physically impact their sufferers (3,236 words or DOI: 10.1093/brain/awab316)



Benjamin Franklin And The Snake

Karen Severud Cook | The British Library Journal | Spring 1996 | U

The Gadsden Flag has become a banner of American anti-government sentiment, but its spiritual originator was a founding father. Published in 1754, the "Join or Die" cartoon was an exhortation for colonists to unite against British forces and led to the snake becoming an enduring symbol of liberty. However, by the Revolutionary War that freedom had transmuted into one from the Union instead of for (9,565 words or DOI: jstor.org/stable/42554423)


Mongolian Spots

Divya Gupta and Devinder Mohan Thappa | World Journal of Clinical Cases | 16 November 2013 | U

Babies of Asian and African descent are commonly born with blue-green birthmarks on their posteriors and the resemblance of these spots to bruises have have occasionally caused parents to be falsely accused of child abuse. While historically considered benign, recent scholarship suggests that extensive Mongolian spot expression may signal links with more malignant inborn disorders (1,384 words or DOI: 10.12998/wjcc.v1.i8.230)


Revisiting Counterinsurgency

Daniel Branch and Elisabeth Jean Wood | World Journal of Clinical Cases | 10 February 2010 | MP

The efficacy of “hearts and minds” counterinsurgency has long been debated. Vietnam casts a long shadow, but proponents point to gains made in Kenya and El Salvador. The authors argue that examining past cases reveals that situations with favourable outcomes are often those where the policy was least "needed". On the other hand, targeted counterinsurgency in Iraq replaced three decades of American military preference for indiscriminate violence (4,745 words or DOI: 10.1177/0032329209357880)


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For more, see: Past Editions of our academic Browser posts; The Reader, our daily commonplace book of clippings and quotations; Notes, our occasional blog; Interviews, our conversations with fascinating figures.


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