Taylor & Francis Newsroom

, Oxford.

Researchers say a new test to detect Lyme disease is highly inaccurate

A new microscopy technique (LM-method) developed to detect Lyme disease is unable to distinguish infected patients from healthy controls, yielding false-positive results that could lead doctors to over-diagnose a patient, according to new research published in the journal Infectious Diseases.

The new research follows up on a previous study suggesting that modified microscopy techniques (LM-method) could detect active cases of Lyme disease (caused by Borrelia bacteria) and Babesia (a tick-borne malaria-like parasite) in just one to two days. Despite considerable publicity and patient demand for this test in Norway, earlier studies did not include a control group and methods were not validated and ready for use in patients.

To investigate the reliability of the new test, Dr Audun Aase, from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, and his colleagues collected blood samples both from people who had been suffering from Lyme disease-like symptoms for several years and previously tested positive for Borrelia and/or Babesia by the LM-method (21 people), and healthy controls with no known history of tick bites (41 people). The samples were then masked and analyzed in independent laboratories using a range of diagnostic tests including the LM-method, conventional microscopy, genetic fingerprint testing (PCR), and serology.

The results indicate that the new LM-method can trigger false positives, suggesting people have Lyme disease when they really don’t. Using the LM-method, 14 (66%) patient group blood samples and 35 (85%) control group samples were judged positive for Borrelia and/or Babesia. However, only one sample (5%) of the patient group and eight samples (20%) of the control group tested positive for Borrelia DNA by PCR. None of the samples were positive for Babesia DNA, and conventional microscopy did not identify Babesia in any of the samples.

In an accompanying editorial commentary, Dr Ram B. Dessau, an expert on infectious diseases and Senior Consultant at Slagelse Hospital, Slagelse, Denmark, writes, “I hope the study serves as a warning against non-validated microscopic procedures and helps prevent mismanagement of patients with chronic complaints, who are lured to seek improper diagnosis in the future.” 

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne infection in Europe and North America, with 360,000 cases reported over the last 20 years in Europe alone. While most people who contract the Lyme disease recover quickly after antibiotic treatment, up to a fifth of patients report persistent symptoms years after they have been told standard tests are negative for the disease. Interest in new diagnostic tests is therefore high.

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* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/10.3109/23744235.2016.1144931

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

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Emma Cianchi, Marketing Executive, Journals
Email: emma.cianchi@tandf.co.uk

, Oxford.

How ‘wrong body’ transgender theory is reflected in broad consumer culture

The conception of transgender identity as an ‘authentic’ gendered core ‘trapped’ within a mismatched corporeality has attained unprecedented legibility within contemporary Anglo-American culture. Michael Lovelock’s article in the Journal of Gender Studies argues the dominance of ‘wrong body’ transgender theory in popular media aligns with the contemporary cultural imperative for all women, cis or trans, to display their authentic femininity through bodily work.

The article focuses on the media representations of two female transgender celebrities, Caitlyn Jenner and Nadia Almada, and explores how these women’s gender transitions have been discursively aligned in popular media to the established trope of female bodily transformation. Lovelock highlights the parallel of constructed femininity in both transgender and cisgender women by analysing the strong public praise Jenner received from society for her external beauty and feminine appearance. Lovelock stresses that Jenner’s triumph holds “commercial currency” in the use of fashion, cosmetic surgery and beauty applications as a means to deflect from gender-assigned attributes, and to reveal the ‘true’ gendered self and be accepted.

Lovelock also notes that previous transgender scholars have argued for acceptance and recognition of transgender identities in their own right. Plurality of human identity could make way for alternatives to standard binary gender which are not specifically male or female, but purely transgender. The commonly accepted ‘wrong body’ theory reinforces the straightforward male vs. female gender model, and leaves no room for a third or alternative form of identity.

Lovelock’s article finds female transgender identity is directly aligned with expectations of bodily work which are perceived to constitute day-today imperatives for all women. The article concludes, “The wrong body paradigm attains its rhetorical force through the ways in which it speaks to a broader consumer culture in which the external bodies of all women must be worked upon in order to actualise or release an authentic, internal female self.”

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* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09589236.2016.1155978

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

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Imogen Catling
Marketing Executive, Taylor & Francis Sociology & Law Journals 
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, Oxford.

Study exposes major flaw in classic artificial intelligence test

A serious problem in the Turing test for computer intelligence is exposed in a study published in the Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence.

If a machine were to ‘take the Fifth Amendment’ – that is, exercise the right to remain silent throughout the test – it could, potentially, pass the test and thus be regarded as a thinking entity, authors Kevin Warwick and Huma Shah of Coventry University argue. However, if this is the case, any silent entity could pass the test, even if it were clearly incapable of thought.

The test, devised in 1950 by pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing, assesses a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour indistinguishable from that of a human. Also known as the ‘imitation game’, it requires a human judge to converse with two hidden entities, a human and a machine, and then determine which is which.

Warwick and Shah’s study looks at transcripts of a number of conversations from actual Turing tests in which the hidden machine remained silent.  In each case, the human judge was unable to say for certain whether they were interacting with a person or a machine.

Thus, a machine could potentially pass the Turing test simply by remaining silent. The judge would be unable to determine whether the silent entity was a human choosing not to answer the questions, a smart machine that had decided not to reply, or a machine experiencing technical problems that prevented it from answering (as was actually the case in the transcripts studied).

Kevin Warwick said: “This begs the question, what exactly does it mean to pass the Turing test? Turing introduced his imitation game as a replacement for the question ‘Can machines think?’ and the end conclusion of this is that if an entity passes the test then we have to regard it as a thinking entity."

“However, if an entity can pass the test by remaining silent, this cannot be seen as an indication it is a thinking entity, otherwise objects such as stones or rocks, which clearly do not think, could pass the test. Therefore, we must conclude that ‘taking the Fifth’ fleshes out a serious flaw in the Turing test.”

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* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/10.1080/0952813X.2015.1132273

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

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Dan Hall
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, Oxford.

Médicines sans Frontières: dispatches from the frontline of the European migrant crisis

Respiratory tract infections, skin diseases and trauma – all linked to living conditions – affect two thirds of migrants and refugees seeking care in Médicines sans Fronitières (MSF) clinics in Greece. This is the report made by MSF’s Chef du Mission of Greece, Dr Apostolos Veizis, in an interview published in the journal Pathogens and Global Health.

In the interview, Dr Veizis explores how MSF teams (who have been based in Greece to provide medical and humanitarian assistance to migrants and refugees since 1996) have conducted over 44,000 consultations between March and December 2015, and have primarily been dealing with illnesses linked to the migrants’ living conditions while they journeyed to and through Europe.

Such illnesses have been caused by sleeping in open ground in decreasing temperatures and limited access to hygiene facilities or potable water, while 18% of the migrants (who are predominantly from Afghanistan and Syria) were considered vulnerable; the disabled, those aged under 5, elderly, pregnant women, single mothers or unaccompanied children of minor age. Furthermore, close to a quarter of all those treated by MSF also suffered from anxiety or depression symptoms, related to their experiences prior to migration.

“Patients described how they had gotten sick sleeping outside, with no protection from the rain and cold.” explains Dr Veizis. “The lack of basic services such as shelter, food, and sanitation, impacts not only on people’s physical health, but also on their mental health.”

Dr Veizis also reports that despite concerns raised over migration and the import of infectious diseases, MSF had not seen such an association in their work in Greece. He believes that these problems are being exacerbated by Greece’s failure to comply with EU standards of reception of these migrants and refugees, with an emphasis being placed on police and registration procedures rather than the urgent and essential needs of the migrants for shelter, food and sanitation. Dr Veizis concludes that migrant and refugee problem should not be viewed as a local problem and that, whilst making any predictions is inherently risky, he believes that its successful resolution depends on international co-operation in the Near East, Africa, and Europe.

Professor Andrea Crisanti, Italian Professor of Molecular Parasitology at Imperial College, London and editor of Pathogens and Global Health, said of the interview,

“We were interested in the topic on humanitarian grounds but also in relation to a world health problem. We know that vulnerable people are more susceptible to disease, and we should be concerned about travelling communities like the refugees in southern Europe who have no or little shelter and no income. Large numbers of refugees living in makeshift conditions in Greece is unprecedented in the EU’s history, as is the presence and need for NGOs in the region. In turning to MSF for this interview we hoped to identify the health and social challenges and to convey the vital intervention of MSF in providing for the health needs of these vulnerable people; protection that the Greek government and the EU struggle or are unwilling to provide. We also wanted to engage with the idea that by protecting refugees in Europe we protect EU citizens in turn."

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* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/20477724.2016.1197441

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Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine. From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

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Elaine Roberts, Senior Marketing Executive
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, Oxford.

Can living organisms withstand extreme hydrostatic pressures?

It should be impossible for organisms to survive in pressures equivalent to those just above the lower mantle of the earth. Yet recent research in Cogent Physics suggests that living organisms can survive, or nearly survive, after exposure to ultra-high pressures; that some small animals and dried eggs can tolerate the very high hydrostatic pressure for up to an hour.

Interdisciplinary research published in Cogent Physics, from authors at the Okayama University of Science in Japan, shows that tardigrades (Milnesium tardigradum) in a dehydrated state and Artemia salina (a kind of plankton, called brine shrimp) cists (dried eggs) can tolerate the very high hydrostatic pressure of 7.5 GPa (75,000 atmosphere), and nearly survive after exposure to 20 GPa, corresponding to the depth of 550–600 km below the earth’s surface.

These findings are in contrast to established knowledge that proteins began to unfold around 0.3 GPa, and the denaturation of proteins usually takes place below 1 GPa, where most bacteria and many other organisms die, and that under ultra-high pressure, molecules and atoms that comprise the body are fixed too tightly to let organisms breathe.

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* Read the full article online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23311940.2016.1167575

About Cogent OA

Cogent OA is an open access publisher of scholarly research committed to offering a truly author-centered service. Our aim is to help researchers share their ideas and discoveries as widely and as effectively as possible.

We offer all the traditional services such as thorough peer review and high quality online presentation, but are adding to these new ideas to help ensure our authors' work has maximum global impact.

As part of the Taylor & Francis Group – an Informa business – we are building on solid foundations and maintain the traditional values and high standards of an organization with more than 200 years of experience serving the research community.

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Craig Teall, Marketing Executive – Cogent OA
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, Oxford.

Palm oil production: will carbon debt continue to rise?

Palm oil is used as a source of vegetable oil and as a substitute to fossil fuels, increasing its demand as an alternative source of biodiesel. Palm production costs are lower than those of any other vegetable oil, but what’s the cost the environment has to pay for its production? This open access research from Cogent Environmental Science aims to address how exploiting the land for plantation development can affect the environment.

Concerns over palm oil production have caused debate among food industry professionals and environmental researchers over the years; despite generating economic growth for Indonesia, expanding planted areas may be a driving factor of deforestation and other environmental issues, such as loss of biodiversity and increased emissions of carbon dioxide.

The authors focus on this matter by undertaking practical research on twenty-five plantations across Indonesia to represent the range of conditions in which oil palm is grown, to determine the average aboveground Carbon stock (or amount of carbon contained within the plantation ecosystem) over the life cycle. Results in the study suggest that palm oil can be established free of (aboveground) carbon debt where it replaces vegetation with average aboveground carbon stock over the life cycle up to 40 Mg C ha-1. To conclude, the environmental-friendly expansion of palm oil plantations should firstly assess the carbon stock in the area; the study also suggests the types of vegetation that can be converted “carbon debt-free” to oil palm plantation areas.

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* Read the full article online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23311843.2015.1119964

About Cogent OA

Cogent OA is an open access publisher of scholarly research committed to offering a truly author-centered service. Our aim is to help researchers share their ideas and discoveries as widely and as effectively as possible.

We offer all the traditional services such as thorough peer review and high quality online presentation, but are adding to these new ideas to help ensure our authors' work has maximum global impact.

As part of the Taylor & Francis Group – an Informa business – we are building on solid foundations and maintain the traditional values and high standards of an organization with more than 200 years of experience serving the research community.

For more information, please contact:

Craig Teall, Marketing Executive – Cogent OA
craig.teall@CogentOA.com

www.CogentOA.com

, Oxford.

Mapping a digital humanities Twitter community

An open access article from Cogent Arts & Humanities analyzing a “who’s following who?” network among 2,500 digital humanities researchers using Twitter illuminates who the most connected individual users are.

A list of more than 2,500 Twitter users was prepared as a dataset for this research, A social network analysis of Twitter: Mapping the digital humanities community. The study segments part of the digital humanities community, identifying people working in academia who already see themselves as members of this community; the selection was made by listing all the followers of the most visible users (i.e. established professors and researchers in the field) and by reviewing keywords in their 160 character biographies. So is the field of digital humanities a closed world where everybody knows everybody?

On analysis, it was found that a small number of individuals and institutions located at the heart of the graph were receiving the most attention in an extremely dense structure. Two “clusters” in the network slightly distort its circular shape, corresponding to well-defined linguistic (French and German) communities. The most followed account at the time of publication was found to be @dhnow (Digital Humanities Now), and this was followed by leading influential researchers, institutions, associations and publishers. Other types of behavior can be deduced from this graph but, specifically, it is clear that the language spoken (or tweeted) can strongly influence a Twitter network’s structure.

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* Read the full article online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23311983.2016.1171458

About Cogent OA

Cogent OA is an open access publisher of scholarly research committed to offering a truly author-centered service. Our aim is to help researchers share their ideas and discoveries as widely and as effectively as possible.

We offer all the traditional services such as thorough peer review and high quality online presentation, but are adding to these new ideas to help ensure our authors' work has maximum global impact.

As part of the Taylor & Francis Group – an Informa business – we are building on solid foundations and maintain the traditional values and high standards of an organization with more than 200 years of experience serving the research community.

For more information, please contact:

Craig Teall, Marketing Executive – Cogent OA
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, Oxford.

Gender as important as race when predicting votes in US election

New research published in Cogent Social Sciences reveals that Republican and Democrat party positions on women’s rights are a major predictor of the vote for President in the US elections.

Using data from the American National Election Studies [ANES], this new article examines the role of gender in US elections. The research uncovers that what matters to voters is not simply their own biological sex but their attitudes about appropriate social roles for men and women. Republican and Democrat candidates take opposing views on many women’s issues, and voters view Democrats as more supportive than Republicans of equality for women and reproductive rights.

In the 2008 election, perceptions of party differences on women’s issues had greater impact on the choice of white voters than opinions on many other issues, including gay marriage and the economy.

"Gender is often seen as less important than race when examining voter opinion,’ said author of the research Susan B. Hansen, Professor Emerita of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh. ‘But while it’s true that race is fundamentally important to the way people vote, women’s issues are a fascinating area which hasn’t yet received as much attention as it deserves."

For a detailed analysis of the ANES data and what it reveals about most effective campaigning issues for the 2016 presidential election, visit Cogent Social Sciences

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* Read the full article online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23311886.2016.1172936

About Cogent OA

Cogent OA is an open access publisher of scholarly research committed to offering a truly author-centered service. Our aim is to help researchers share their ideas and discoveries as widely and as effectively as possible.

We offer all the traditional services such as thorough peer review and high quality online presentation, but are adding to these new ideas to help ensure our authors' work has maximum global impact.

As part of the Taylor & Francis Group – an Informa business – we are building on solid foundations and maintain the traditional values and high standards of an organization with more than 200 years of experience serving the research community.

For more information, please contact:

Craig Teall, Marketing Executive – Cogent OA
craig.teall@CogentOA.com

www.CogentOA.com

, Oxford.

Young UK Muslims leading the way in language rejuvenation

Young UK Muslims are reconnecting – or in some cases, connecting for the first time – with Urdu and Punjabi as a result of their devotional practices, a new study suggests. 

Writing in the Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Andrey Rosowsky of the University of Sheffield suggests that many young Muslims are leading the way in rejuvenating their communities’ South Asian "heritage languages." This new trend goes against the usual expectation of a community’s elders being key to the transmission of culture, but is it enough to reverse the shift to speaking English rather than Punjabi and Urdu that has taken place over the last three or four generations?

Rosowsky said: "These young people use a dynamic combination of faith, singing and poetry to keep up - or even discover for the first time - their heritage languages."

The young people Rosowsky engaged with for his study were generally born in the UK, and educated at local schools and universities; eighty-two percent considered English to be their mother tongue. As part of their devotional practices and interest in Islam, these young Muslims spent time "discovering and listening to, recording and performing the songs and poems of their religious and language literary heritage," often using their smartphones and tablets to curate and share their collections. Most had their interest piqued by hearing a naat or a nasheed performed live, on television or via the Internet; nearly half engaged with a naat every day.

As Rosowsky observes: “Taking part in the ritual and devotional practices … requires these young people to (re)learn the lyrics and melodies of poems and songs in their various heritage languages. Where this activity differs from more general learning of languages in order to perform … is the potential for mutual reinforcement from the vestigial bilingualism of home and community as well as the possibility of supporting this (re)learning through links, physical and virtual, to the heartlands of the languages and varieties in question.”

Rosowsky concludes that although there is potential in the regular performance of devotional song in heritage languages for consolidating language use, "the crucial factor for maintaining heritage languages remains the presence of intergenerational transmission." Additionally, having access to online resources, the existence of role models and a (re)connection with faith can further contribute to the preservation of these languages for Muslims living in primarily English-speaking communities.

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About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life. As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

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, Oxford.

Study shows benefit of art therapy in reducing psychological problems in Syrian refugee children

Group art therapy shows promise in reducing a wide range of psychological symptoms commonly experienced by refugee children, according to a pilot study of Syrian refugee children living in Turkey, published in the journal Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies.

Numerous studies have shown that refugee children are at high risk of a broad range of psychological problems including depression, behavioural problems, aggression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With almost 1.5 million refugee children from Syria currently living in Turkey, effective programmes to improve their mental health are sorely needed.

This study assessed whether group art therapy could reduce psychological symptoms in 64 Syrian refugee children (aged 7–12) who were living in Istanbul. Arabic speaking interviewers used standard questionnaires and scales to assess the children’s traumatic experiences and to measure levels of depression, PTSD, and anxiety—both before and one week after—the five-day art therapy programme. The therapy used the Skills for Psychological Recovery programme to help children improve their problem solving skills, express and manage their feelings, and increase their social engagement and self-esteem through, art, dancing, and music.

At the start of the study, over half the children (35) were deemed at high risk of developing PTSD, around a quarter (14) already had PTSD symptoms, about a fifth (10) showed severe levels of depression and state (current) anxiety symptoms (6), and almost a third (13) had severe levels of trait anxiety symptoms (general tendency to be anxious; table 3).

One week after the programme, children reported significant improvements in trauma, depression, and trait-anxiety symptoms. No significant improvement was noted in state anxiety symptoms (table 4 and figure 1).

This study draws attention to the psychological impact of the refugee crisis on Syrian children and presents a potentially effective therapy. However, the authors caution that because of the limited number of participants and lack of control group, larger studies will be needed before definitive conclusions can be made about the therapy’s effect on reducing psychological symptoms in refugee children.

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Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life. As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

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