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  • The future of chemical weapons: advances in the development of anti-plant agents

    Whitby, Simon M. (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2018)
    Set in the context of efforts to utilise chemicals as weapons of war, that have their origins in collaborative efforts between the UK and the US during World War I, this chapter examines the origins, the evolution, and the hostile misuse of chemical anti-crop agents and defoliants. Out of efforts between the two countries that endured throughout World War II, military interest in chemical anti-crop agents and defoliants emerged in-part as a consequence of a close association between civilian chemistry and military chemistry. It is shown by way of insights provided from official sources from the United Kingdom (UK) National Archive that UK use of such agents in Malaya resulted in the emergence of new techniques concerning the large-scale use of chemical anti-plant agents, as well as methods for their widespread dissemination. It is argued here that the above can be seen as a prelude to subsequent use in Vietnam, the latter having implications of relevance to human health and for the environment. It is shown that the role of science policy experts in bringing influence to bear on policy-makers during the latter part of the Vietnam War was significant in bringing about change in policy and an end to use in Vietnam. Also of significance is the issue of chemical weapons in the context of efforts to codify the norm of non-use under the Geneva Protocol, under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and under a range of related prohibition regimes. This chapter considers the implications of the scientific and technological developments in phytobiology of relevance, in particular, to auxins (work on endogenous growth regulators—auxins—would lead to the discovery of “the first systemic or hormone herbicides”). The findings are drawn together in a concluding section at the end of this chapter.
  • After COVID-19: time to agree a biosecurity code of conduct under the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention

    Whitby, Simon M.; Tang, C.; Shang, L.; Dando, Malcolm R. (Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, 2020-06)
    The devastating COVID-19 disease outbreak of 2020 is likely to cause a profound rethink of how national and international communities deal with such outbreaks whether they are caused naturally, accidentally or deliberately. This paper suggests that now is the time to build on two decades of work within the BTWC and for States Parties to agree on a Biosecurity Code of Conduct under the Convention as proposed by China. Over the past two decades, as part of their attempts to strengthen the BTWC and thereby to help prevent the development of biological and toxin weapons, States Parties have given considerable attention to the potential utility of Codes of Conduct for life and associated scientists. This paper reviews these debates about this novel dual-use ethical challenge within the Convention and concludes that a Code of Conduct should be agreed at the 2021 Review Conference, but that radical reorientation of the mandatory education of such scientists will also be needed to make the agreed code effective.
  • Strengthening biological security after COVID-19: Using cartoons for engaging life science stakeholders with the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC)

    Novossiolova, T.; Whitby, Simon M.; Dando, Malcolm R.; Shang, L. (2022-06)
    The devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have acutely shown the need for maintaining robust international and national systems for biological security and ensuring that life sciences are used only for peaceful purposes. Life science stakeholders can play an important role in safeguarding scientific and technological advances in biology and related fields against accidental or deliberate misuse, not least because they are on the frontlines of driving innovation. In this paper, we argue that enhancing awareness and understanding of the risk of deliberate disease is essential for effective biological security. We first discuss the issue of ‘dual use’ in science and technology as it relates to disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Second, we review how scientist engagement with dual-use risks has been addressed in the context of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). Third, we report on the development of an innovative awareness-raising tool, a cartoon series, that can be used for engaging life science stakeholders with BTWC issues. Finally, we outline a set of practical considerations for promoting sustainable life science engagement with the BTWC.
  • Meeting the challenges of chemical and biological weapons: strengthening the chemical and biological disarmament and non-proliferation regimes

    Edwards, B.; Novossiolova, T.; Crowley, Michael J.A.; Whitby, Simon M.; Dando, Malcolm R.; Shang, L. (2022-04)
    In this report, we identify some of the key technical and political challenges currently facing the broader Chemical and Biological Weapon (CBW) regime- with a particular emphasis on major forthcoming diplomatic meetings. Most significantly the Ninth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention (1972) (BTWC) which will take place in 2022 and preparations for the Fifth Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention (1993) (CWC), expected in 2023. This report is an output of an ongoing project, designed to stimulate thinking and discussion about these issues, within relevant stakeholder communities. The report provides an introduction to this issue area for the general reader before surveying key issues and developing a series of practical policy suggestions for further consideration.
  • Strengthening the biological and toxin weapons convention after COVID-19

    Shang, L.; Whitby, Simon M.; Dando, Malcolm R. (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2021-08)
    The COVID-19 virus pandemic has again demonstrated the devastating impact that a microbial pathogen can have on our health, society and economic systems. It necessitates a fundamental rethink of how the security of our societies can be better sustained. This rethinking will require many aspects of our security systems to be re-examined, but we concentrate here on the consequences of the rapid advances being made in the life and associated sciences. In this chapter, we will describe and analyse one of the most likely means by which the BTWC could be strengthened at the 9th Review Conference, namely: agreement of an International Aspirational Code of Conduct supported by mandatory biological security education for life and associated scientists. We conclude that a vigorous effort by civil society will be needed to assist the achievement of an agreement on this issue at the 9th Review Conference.
  • “The importance of collaboration between the project team, end-users, and stakeholders in managing complex decisions and risks in project environments”

    Rye, Sara; Danquah, J. (Association for Project Management, 2023-07)
    The importance of a collaborative approach between the project team, end-users, and stakeholders in managing complex decisions and risks in project environments has long been emphasized. The Porter model emphasizes the need to focus on client needs and competitive advantage. However, a lack of resources and capability development may hinder the project team's ability to provide appropriate services. Supervisors, team members, and end-users can play a supportive role in easing complexity in risk management and decision-making. It is important to understand standards as performance measures for decision-making and the need for detailed knowledge of the project brief. The value of group decision support systems and low-intensity involvements in decision-making would give rise to involving end-users in critical decision-making, the importance of focusing on organizational culture and strategic planning, and the need for a change of mindset to align individual perceptions with the norm. It is also important to gather and analyze information before making a decision. While some project teams see end-users as a threat to their judgment, the research emphasizes the duty to respond to end-users' needs and highlights the value they add to risk assessment.
  • Designing Educational Games for Diverse Learners in multi-disciplinary classrooms: The TEGA Toolkit as a Framework

    Rye, Sara; Sousa, C. (2023-10)
    This study aims to examine how inclusivity measures are understood and applied in game-based learning (GBL). It considers the perspectives of various stakeholders, such as educators, game designers, and students. The focus is on creating accessible and engaging games that meet the diverse needs and characteristics of players. The methodology adopted a combination of primary and secondary data sources to pursue these aims. The primary data collection involved focus groups with educators, game designers, and students. The study employed a participatory design approach, involving multiple stakeholders in the exploration of inclusivity measures. The data collected from the focus groups, along with findings from the literature review, helped in formulating a set of inclusivity metrics for educators to create educational games that cater to diverse student needs. The obtained results emphasize the limited state of analogue GBL accessibility in scholarly and professional literature, while emphasizing the existing frameworks to be adopted by educators, designers, and publishers. Stakeholder discussions revealed themes related to inclusivity measures, including motor, sensory, and cognitive needs of players. Game designers can enhance accessibility by considering these requirements and incorporating alternative communication channels, accessible cues, adaptable gameplay options, and diversified knowledge-based requirements. In addition to inclusivity, addressing instances of exclusion, managing teams effectively, promoting inclusive communication, and incorporating gameplay limitations, educational components, diverse perspectives, and real-world applicability are discussed as important in education game design, to this extent.
  • Geographies of Nuclear War

    Alexis-Martin, Becky (Oxford University Press, 2023-06-23)
  • Hands-On Minds: Fostering Conceptual Learning through Tangible Analogue Games in Higher Education

    Rye, Sara (Media Literacy and Assistive Technologies for Empowerment in Autism, 2023-10)
  • Teaching open and reproducible scholarship: a critical review of the evidence base for current pedagogical methods and their outcomes.

    Pownall, M.; Azevedo, F.; König, L.M.; Slack, H.R.; Evans, T.R.; Flack, Z.; Grinschgl, S.; Elsherif, M.M.; Gilligan-Lee, K.A.; de Oliveira, C.M.F.; et al. (2023-05-17)
    In recent years, the scientific community has called for improvements in the credibility, robustness and reproducibility of research, characterized by increased interest and promotion of open and transparent research practices. While progress has been positive, there is a lack of consideration about how this approach can be embedded into undergraduate and postgraduate research training. Specifically, a critical overview of the literature which investigates how integrating open and reproducible science may influence student outcomes is needed. In this paper, we provide the first critical review of literature surrounding the integration of open and reproducible scholarship into teaching and learning and its associated outcomes in students. Our review highlighted how embedding open and reproducible scholarship appears to be associated with (i) students' scientific literacies (i.e. students' understanding of open research, consumption of science and the development of transferable skills); (ii) student engagement (i.e. motivation and engagement with learning, collaboration and engagement in open research) and (iii) students' attitudes towards science (i.e. trust in science and confidence in research findings). However, our review also identified a need for more robust and rigorous methods within pedagogical research, including more interventional and experimental evaluations of teaching practice. We discuss implications for teaching and learning scholarship.
  • Rethinking Transphobia in the UK: What's Wrong with Rights?

    Lopez, Jack (2023-06-22)
    What’s wrong with human rights discourse and equality legislation is their creation under the guise of neutrality. The practice of human rights and equality sit within administration systems that are in general sites of production and implementation of racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, transphobia and ableism. Whilst the people subject to these types of discrimination fight hard and make sacrifices to win the inclusion of their rights, whilst such privileges sit within archaic systems - can they ever be anything more than a temporary respite from oppression not a resolution?
  • Touching Base: Hungarian Intelligence and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies in the 1960s

    Batonyi, Gabor (2023-04)
    This article deals with a neglected dimension of Cold War history, namely the role of minor Communist secret services in subverting cultural relations with Britain. In particular, the article examines the efforts of Hungarian State Security to penetrate a university centre in London during the 1960s. Drawing on hitherto unexplored archival material, it documents the intensive attempts made to monitor or cultivate individuals at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies — notably the historian Dr László Péter — as part of a wide-ranging and ambitious intelligence offensive on the tenth anniversary of the 1956 Revolution. Paradoxically, this heightened espionage activity took place at a time of enhanced bilateral ties. The historical records analysed here provide new insight into the duplicity of Hungary’s foreign policy, and the hypocrisy of the post-revolutionary regime’s cultural ‘opening’ to the West, during a defining decade.
  • The mediating effect of food choice upon associations between adolescent health-related quality of life and physical activity, social media use and abstinence from alcohol

    Davison, J.; Bunting, B.; Stewart-Knox, Barbara (Springer, 2023-05)
    Background: Understanding how health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is related to lifestyle factors during adolescence is crucial to effective health promotion. The aim of this analysis was to identify associations between HRQoL and lifestyle and to determine the degree to which they are mediated by food choices in adolescents. Methods: The Wellbeing in Schools (NI) survey (N = 1609; 13–14 years) assessed HRQoL using the Kidscreen52. Food choice was assessed by Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) and physical activity was assessed using the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents (PAQ-A). Social media and alcohol abstinence were self-reported. Results: Path analysis indicated that fruit and vegetable intake was associated with higher HRQoL on dimensions of moods and emotions, parent relations and home life, financial resources, and social support and peers. Bread and diary intake was related to higher physical wellbeing. Protein was associated with higher psychological wellbeing, moods and emotions, self-perception, parent relations and home life, financial resources, and lower social support and peers. Junk food was related to lower moods and emotions. Males had higher psychological wellbeing, moods and emotions, parental relations and home life. Females had higher self-perception, autonomy, and social support and peers. Greater physical activity explained higher HRQoL on all dimensions. Less social media was associated with higher psychological wellbeing, moods and emotions, self-perception, parent relations and home life, and school environment. Alcohol abstinence was associated with higher physical wellbeing, psychological wellbeing, moods and emotions, self-perception, parent relations and home life, and school environment dimensions. Conclusion: Intervention to promote HRQoL in adolescents should consider food choices whilst encouraging physical activity, discouraging social media and deterring alcohol, and targeting boys and girls separately.
  • A survey of breastfeeding attitudes and health locus of control in the Nigerian population

    Adegbayi, A.; Scally, A.; Lesk, Valerie E.; Stewart-Knox, Barbara (Springer, 2023-06)
    Breastfeeding is important to infant health and survival in sub-Saharan Africa. To promote breastfeeding effectively, understanding of psychological factors associated with infant feeding choices is required. This study investigated breastfeeding attitudes and health locus of control (HLoC) in a Nigerian community sample. Men and women (N=400) (71% female; mean age 34.2 years/ range 18–86 years) were recruited through community groups in Nigeria. Self-report survey by questionnaire measured breastfeeding attitudes using the Iowa Infant Feeding Attitude Scale (IIFAS) and health locus of control using the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale (MHLoCs). IIFAS scores (mean=57.7; sd=7.8) became less favourable with increasing age (p=0.02). Men had higher IIFAS scores (mean=58.6; sd=7.6) than women (mean=56.6; sd=8.0) indicating more favourable attitudes toward breastfeeding (p=0.02). Women scored higher than men on external chance HLoC (ECHLoC) (p=0.003) and external powerful others HLoC (EPHLoC) (p=0.02). Increasing age was associated with higher scores on ECHLoC (p<0.01) and EPHLoC (p<0.01). Multiple linear regression analysis was significant (p<0.001) and explained 7.8% of variance in breastfeeding attitude. Lower IIFAS scores, reflecting more negative attitudes to breastfeeding, were associated with higher ECHLoC (p<0.01) and EPOHLoC (p<0.05). Higher IIFAS scores, reflecting more positive attitudes to breastfeeding, were associated with greater IHLoC (p<0.01). Neither age nor gender were associated with IIFAS scores in the final model. This implies a need to explore health locus of control when promoting positive attitudes to breastfeeding and supporting families in breastfeeding advocacy.
  • Moral Emotions and Justifying Beliefs about Meat, Fish, Dairy and Egg Consumption: A Comparative Study of Dietary Groups

    Ioannidou, Maria; Lesk, Valerie E.; Stewart-Knox, Barbara; Francis, K.B. (Elsevier, 2023-07)
    Meat eaters and meat abstainers differ in their beliefs and moral emotions related to meat consumption alongside gender differences. Few studies have investigated beliefs and moral emotions in pescatarians and vegans. Little is known about differences in moral emotions and beliefs regarding dairy, eggs, and fish or about speciesist beliefs within and between specific dietary groups. To address this gap, we investigated moral emotions (consumption-related disgust and guilt), attitudes towards animals (Animal Attitudes Scale) and justifying beliefs related to meat (Carnism Inventory), dairy, egg, and fish consumption in omnivores (n = 167), pescatarians (n = 110), vegetarians (n = 116), and vegans (n = 149). Results showed that people who consumed animal-derived products reported lower disgust and guilt and held stronger justifying beliefs about consumption of these products, than those who did not consume animal products. All dietary groups significantly differed from each other in their attitudes about using animals for human benefit, with omnivores showing the least positive attitudes towards animals, followed by pescatarians and vegetarians, and with vegans showing the most positive attitudes towards animals. Women experienced greater moral emotions and held fewer justifying beliefs than men within groups where animal products were consumed and this was related to the animal-based products they consume (i.e., fish for pescatarians and eggs/dairy for vegetarians). These findings emphasise the importance of considering a wider range of animal products, and dietary groups in order to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the psychological underpinnings of animal product consumption. The results highlight differences between dietary groups in attitudes and moral concern towards animals, which may be important to consider when designing interventions to reduce animal product consumption.
  • Dual-tasking while using two languages: Examining the cognitive resource demands of cued and voluntary language production in bilinguals

    de Bruin, A.; McGarrigle, Ronan (2023)
    The way bilinguals switch languages can differ depending on the context. In cued dual-language environments, bilinguals select a language in response to environmental cues (e.g., a monolingual conversation partner). In voluntary dual-language environments, bilinguals communicating with people who speak the same languages can use their languages more freely. The control demands of these types of language-production contexts, and the costs of language switches, have been argued to differ (Adaptive Control Hypothesis). Here, we used a dual-task paradigm to examine how cued and voluntary bilingual production differ in cognitive resources used. Forty Mandarin-English bilinguals completed two language-switching paradigms as the primary task; one in response to cues and one while using two languages freely. At the same time, they also had to respond to the pitch of tones (secondary task). Response times (RTs) on the secondary task, as well as naming times on the primary task, were shorter under the voluntary- than cued-naming condition. Task workload ratings were also higher under the cued- than voluntary-naming condition. This suggests more attentional resources are needed in a cued-naming context to monitor cues and select languages accordingly. However, the costs associated with switching from one language to the other were similar in both voluntary- and cued-naming contexts. Thus, while cued-naming might be more effortful overall, cued and voluntary switching recruited similar levels of cognitive resources.
  • Playing at the school table: systematic literature review of board, tabletop, and other analogue game-based learning approaches

    Sousa, C.; Rye, Sara; Sousa, M.S.; Torres, P.J.; Perim, C. (2023-06)
    The unique characteristics of games have led scientific research to increasingly focus on their potential role in learning processes. Currently, their effectiveness in fostering experiential learning and skill acquisition in several areas is already supported by the existing evidence, mainly about the potential of digital games. Paradoxically, the current post-digital era seems to have led to a growing popularity of analogue games. The present Systematic Literature Review aimed to map the existing literature on the potential of board, tabletop, or other analogue games in learning processes. It intended to systematize the contemporary state of the art (2012-2022) around the pedagogical role of these games, their effectiveness, the promoted learning outcomes, the methodological aspects of the interventions, the used games – including mechanics and other characteristics – and the current discussions around inclusion and accessibility in analogue game-based learning. Adopting the PRISMA methodology, we searched ACM Digital Library, EBSCO, ERIC, Scopus - Elsevier, and Web of Science databases, as well as other peer-reviewed “grey literature” sources. The search resulted in an initial sample of 2741 articles that was then screened by inclusion and exclusion criteria previously defined according to the research objectives. We obtained a final sample of 45 articles. To formulate the mapping of existing research, these studies were analyzed using a combination of statistical, content, and critical analysis procedures. The obtained results support the role of board, tabletop, and other analogue games in educational contexts – based on their educational potential – with a broad range of knowledge, cognitive, and psychological outcomes. The study also emphasized the relevance of these games in the promotion of soft skills and other aspects typically associated with meaningful learning, such as engagement, satisfaction, flexibility, and freedom of experimentation. However, important limitations were found in a fair amount of the pedagogical approaches studied, which can be mostly attributed to the low prevalence of modern board games that relate what is intended to be learned to aspects of game design and have little to no consideration of accessibility and inclusion aspects in these studies.
  • Opportunities, challenges and tensions: Open science through a lens of qualitative social psychology

    Pownall, M.; Talbot, C.V.; Kilby, L.; Branney, Peter (2023)
    In recent years, there has been a focus in social psychology on efforts to improve the robustness, rigour, transparency and openness of psychological research. This has led to a plethora of new tools, practices and initiatives that each aim to combat questionable research practices and improve the credibility of social psychological scholarship. However, the majority of these efforts derive from quantitative, deductive, hypothesis-testing methodologies, and there has been a notable lack of in-depth exploration about what the tools, practices and values may mean for research that uses qualitative methodologies. Here, we introduce a Special Section of BJSP: Open Science, Qualitative Methods and Social Psychology: Possibilities and Tensions. The authors critically discuss a range of issues, including authorship, data sharing and broader research practices. Taken together, these papers urge the discipline to carefully consider the ontological, epistemological and methodological underpinnings of efforts to improve psychological science, and advocate for a critical appreciation of how mainstream open science discourse may (or may not) be compatible with the goals of qualitative research.
  • Development and Validation of a Brief Version of the Vanderbilt Fatigue Scale for Adults: The VFS-A-10

    Hornsby, B.W.Y.; Camarata, S.; Cho, S.-J.; Davis, H.; McGarrigle, Ronan; Bess, F.H. (2023)
    Objectives: Listening-related fatigue can be a significant problem for adults who struggle to hear and understand, particularly adults with hearing loss. However, valid, sensitive, and clinically useful measures for listening-related fatigue do not currently exist. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a brief clinical tool for measuring listening-related fatigue in adults. Design: The clinical scale was derived from the 40-item version of the Vanderbilt Fatigue Scale for Adults (VFS-A-40), an existing, reliable, and valid research tool for measuring listening9 related fatigue. The study consisted of two phases. Phase 1 (N = 580) and Phase 2 (N = 607) participants consisted of convenience samples of adults recruited via online advertisements, clinical records review, and a pool of prior research participants. In Phase 1, results from item response theory (IRT) analyses of VFS-A-40 items were used to identify high quality items for the brief (10-item) clinical scale: the VFS-A-10. In Phase 2, the characteristics and quality of the VFS-A-10 were evaluated in a separate sample of respondents. Dimensionality was evaluated using exploratory factor analyses (EFA) and item quality and characteristics were evaluated using IRT. VFS-A-10 reliability and validity were assessed multiple ways. IRT reliability analysis was used to examine VFS-A-10 measurement fidelity. In addition, test-retest reliability was assessed in a subset of Phase 2 participants (n = 145) who completed the VFS-A-10 a second time approximately one month after their initial measure (range 5-90 days). IRT differential item functioning (DIF) was used to assess item bias across different age, gender, and hearing loss subgroups. Convergent construct validity was evaluated by comparing VFS-A-10 responses to two other generic fatigue scales and a measure of hearing disability. Known-groups validity was assessed by comparing VFS-A-10 scores between adults with and without self reported hearing loss Results: EFA suggested a unidimensional structure for the VFS-A-10. IRT analyses confirmed all test items were high quality. IRT reliability analysis revealed good measurement fidelity over a wide range of fatigue severities. Test-retest reliability was excellent (rs = .88, collapsed across participants). IRT DIF analyses confirmed the VFS-A-10 provided a valid measure of listening29 related fatigue regardless of respondent age, gender, or hearing status. An examination of associations between VFS-A-10 scores and generic fatigue/vigor measures revealed only weak31 to-moderate correlations (Spearman’s correlation coefficient rs = -.36 to .57). Stronger associations were seen between VFS-A-10 scores and a measure of perceived hearing difficulties (rs = .79 to .81) providing evidence of convergent construct validity. In addition, the VFS-A-10 was more sensitive to fatigue associated with self-reported hearing difficulties than generic measures. It was also more sensitive than generic measures to variations in fatigue as a function of degree of hearing impairment. Conclusions: These findings suggest that the VFS-A-10 is a reliable, valid, and sensitive tool for measuring listening-related fatigue in adults. Its brevity, high sensitivity, and good reliability make it appropriate for clinical use. The scale will be useful for identifying those most affected by listening-related fatigue and for assessing benefits of interventions designed to reduce its negative effects.

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