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Dirk Visser


Open Access is great, but killing academic journals is not. Also on the internet, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Peer review, editing and keeping articles available online all cost money. And someone has to pay for that. Either through subscriptions or through article processing charges and through the hidden costs of thousands of library people and university technicians making sure that articles go and stay on line and are accessible with the latest browsers.

Nienke van der Have

The initiative for a European Union (EU) human rights sanctions regime that targets individual human rights offenders builds upon an interesting trend set by the United States’ Magnitsky Act. It has the potential to contribute to the development of international law and allow states and the EU to take on a more progressive attitude in relation to gross human rights violations committed worldwide. As an EU-wide initiative, it also has the opportunity to break with the muddled past and set a positive example. To do so, there are several important factors to consider related to the conceptual aim of the regime, its demarcation and potential effectiveness in practice.

Marnix Stawicki, Piotr Majdak and Deniz Başkent


Ventriloquist illusion, the change in perceived location of an auditory stimulus when a synchronously presented but spatially discordant visual stimulus is added, has been previously shown in young healthy populations to be a robust paradigm that mainly relies on automatic processes. Here, we propose ventriloquist illusion as a potential simple test to assess audiovisual (AV) integration in young and older individuals. We used a modified version of the illusion paradigm that was adaptive, nearly bias-free, relied on binaural stimulus representation using generic head-related transfer functions (HRTFs) instead of multiple loudspeakers, and tested with synchronous and asynchronous presentation of AV stimuli (both tone and speech). The minimum audible angle (MAA), the smallest perceptible difference in angle between two sound sources, was compared with or without the visual stimuli in young and older adults with no or minimal sensory deficits. The illusion effect, measured by means of MAAs implemented with HRTFs, was observed with both synchronous and asynchronous visual stimulus, but only with tone and not speech stimulus. The patterns were similar between young and older individuals, indicating the versatility of the modified ventriloquist illusion paradigm.

Bound to Happen

Explanation Bias in Historical Analysis

Aroop Mukharji and Richard Zeckhauser


This paper argues that historical analysis, necessarily written with hindsight, often underestimates the uncertainties of the past. We call this tendency explanation bias. This bias leads individuals—including professional historians—to imply greater certainty in causal analyses than the evidence justifies. Their analyses will treat what is plausible to be probable. We offer a few intuitions about why explanation bias exists, its relation to other well-established psychological biases, what it leads to, and how it might be combatted. Appreciating the depth of uncertainty and ignorance in our world is critical for accurately understanding, interpreting, and drawing from the past to illuminate the present and the near future.

Jolien Claerbout, Jenny Neukermans, Isabel Vandevelde, An Decombel, Nancy de Sutter, Anne-Marie Deeren, Sofie Venneman, Peter Bleyaert, Monica Höfte and Nicole Viaene


The root-lesion nematode, Pratylenchus penetrans, causes growth reduction in glasshouse-grown lettuce and is mainly controlled by chemical soil disinfestation. Integrated management strategies require more knowledge about the population dynamics and damage threshold densities. We monitored the population during 2.5 years in a commercial glasshouse by sampling soil in the same four 1 m2 spots at 0-30 cm and 30-60 cm depth. The grower grew lettuce in rotation with leek, applied 1,3-dichloropropene in summer and left the field fallow during winter. Growing leek reduced the nematode population slightly but chemical soil disinfestation lowered the numbers drastically, although 41% of the nematodes in the deeper layer survived. Black fallow resulted in a slight increase of the population, probably due to hatching. Two pot experiments with ten densities of P. penetrans were conducted to estimate the damage threshold for a summer and autumn cultivar (‘Cosmopolia’ and ‘Brighton’, respectively). The thresholds for lettuce weight were 669 and 3834 P. penetrans (100 ml soil)−1 in summer and autumn, respectively, but with considerable variability in estimated parameters. The thresholds for root damage were much lower: 204 and 48 P. penetrans (100 ml soil)−1. Nematode numbers did not increase on lettuce in the pot tests (maximum multiplication rate was 0.40) but increased slightly in the commercial setting. These results show that populations of P. penetrans build up slowly when butterhead lettuce is rotated with leek and fallow, but chemical soil disinfestation is required to avoid numbers resulting in root damage.

Ayman Shabana


This paper examines modern juristic discussions on the concept of custom in light of the proceedings of the fifth session of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, which was held in 1988. It shows the extent to which these discussions not only address the role of custom in the derivation of Islamic law and its place in the Islamic legal tradition, but also reflect the impact of modern positive legislations on modern conceptualizations of Sharīʿa and how it has been constructed in the wake of the modern legal reform movement. In particular, the framing of custom in some civil codes as an independent legal source marked a significant development and created tension between Sharīʿa and modern legal codes. This perceived tension has, in turn, inspired efforts to reaffirm the primacy of Sharīʿa and demands for its implementation. While these discussions demonstrate how Muslim scholars situate Sharīʿa within national legal structures, they also show the role of juristic councils, such as the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, in the development of a transnational juristic discourse that transcends the boundaries of the nation state.

J. Alfredo Holley, Juliana Sterli and Néstor G. Basso

Pan-Chelidae (Testudines, Pleurodira) is a group of side-necked turtles with a currently disjointed distribution in South America and Australasia and characterized by two morphotypes: the long-necked and the short-necked chelids. Both geographic groups include both morphotypes, but different phylogenetic signals are obtained from morphological and molecular data, suggesting the monophyly of the long-necked chelids or the independent evolution of this trait in both groups. In this paper, we addressed this conflict by compiling and editing available molecular and morphological data for Pan-Chelidae, and performing phylogenetic and dating analyses over the individual and the combined datasets. Our total-evidence phylogenetic analysis recovered the clade Chelidae as monophyletic and as sister group of a clade of South American extinct chelids; furthermore Chelidae retained inside the classical molecular structure with the addition of extinct taxa in both the Australasian and the South American clades. Our dating results suggest a Middle Jurassic origin for the total clade Pan-Chelidae, an Early Cretaceous origin for Chelidae, a Late Cretaceous basal diversification of both geographic clades with the emergence of long-necked lineages, and an Eocene diversification at genera level, with the emergence of some species before the final breakup of Southern Gondwana and the remaining species after this event.

Sari Hanafi and Azzam Tomeh


This article discusses the debate on gender-equal inheritance in Tunisia. In it, Maeve Cooke’s conception of authoritarian versus non-authoritarian practical reasoning is applied to see whether binaries, like religious versus secular, are existent in the public debate on equal inheritance in Tunisia. The mapping of the debate shows the existence of three sets of arguments: jurisprudential/textual, sociological, and legal. Proponents of equal inheritance base their arguments primarily on legal, then sociological, then textual grounds, whereas law opponents base their arguments on textual, then legal, then sociological grounds. The weakness of the sociological arguments of law opponents is evident when stating that a gendered division of labor within the family still exists without providing statistics or empirical evidence to back up that claim. Through shared categories and grounds, the discussions in Tunisia share a common language in the public sphere, allowing for the reduction of authoritarian tendencies and longstanding polarization through public deliberation.