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Welcome to George Cooper's brain barrel

I’m a PhD candidate at UCL’s Centre for Publishing, researching theories of censorship in the context of online research distribution in China.



Since 2017, several academic publishers and information services including Cambridge University Press, Springer Nature, LexisNexus, Sage Publishing and Taylor & Francis have faced pressure from Chinese content regulators to tailor their collections in China. The requests have concentrated on books and research articles that include politically sensitive keywords such as ‘Tiananmen’, ‘Tibet’, and ‘Cultural Revolution’.


I want to know:

Under what conditions are disruptions in scholarly research distribution a form of censorship?

Has the removal of politically sensitive content from journal platforms in China had a significant impact?

Are there guidelines or codes of conduct (informal or otherwise) for handling requests from state regulators to limit content distribution?

Could a formal set of guidelines be established collaboratively via a trade body, such as the International Publishers’ Association?

Is it in publishers’ interests to collaborate in this way?



I'm conducting surveys and interviews with journal authors, editors, and senior publishing professionals. I’m also experimenting with quantitative methods, including text mining and analysis, to explore the effects of keyword-based content restrictions on authors' willingness to publish on politically sensitive topics.



I'm a displaced Geordie with an interest in publishing, politics, philosophy, censorship (history of/theory of) and photography. I live in Oxford with my wife, Charlie, who's better at taking photos than me. That's one of me in my favourite pub along the Thames. When I'm not in there, I'll be on here, writing about all of the above. Sign up below to attach my brain barrel to your eyes.



BA, MA, PhD (ongoing)

University College London

Univeristy of York

University of Hull

October 2018 - now

October 2011 - October 2012

September 2007 - January 2011

PhD Information Studies

MA Philosophy of Art and Literature

BA Politics and Philosophy

School LIbrary
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