Much of the literature on fan fiction sees slash fiction as transformative because of its imposition of a queer framework on heteronormative texts. While I do not disagree that this is one way fan fiction can be transformative, it is a mistake to believe that slash is inherently more transformative than het or gen fic just because of its queering of canon.Emily Regan Willis, Fannish discourse communities and the construction of gender in “The X-Files”
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Transformative Works and Cultures, the OTW’s scholarly fan studies journal, is looking to expand its pool of volunteer reviewers. If you are interested in peer reviewing for TWC, please come over to the site, sign up, and create a profile as Reviewer: journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/user/register. You’ll be asked to fill out some information (such as uni affiliation if applicable), but, most importantly, there’s a field in the software where you input your interests and expertise.
Once you’ve created a reviewer account, please e-mail us to tell us who you are, how you found us, and what you are specifically interested in. We use the journal’s database to find reviewers, but it is often easier when we have spoken to reviewers already and know a bit about them. Then we’ll contact you when a manuscript comes in that fits your expertise, and ask if you can review it.
If you have any questions about reviewing; if you want to know more about submitting essays, Symposium pieces, or book reviews; or if you there’s something specific you want to know about TWC, please feel free to contact us. For more info on what TWC does, check out the recent interview with the editors on the OTW blog.
The Journal Team
European Fandom and Fan Studies: Localization and Translation One Day Symposium, 9 November 2013 Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis and University of Amsterdam Department of Media Studies Call for Papers The increasingly global circulation of media often threatens to obscure local contexts of reception, identification, interpretation, and translation. This one day symposium at the University of Amsterdam seeks to explore the state of Fan Studies and the variety of Fandoms focused within the social and geographical boundaries of Europe, particularly with regard to processes of localization and translation, broadly interpreted. Inter-disciplinary papers are invited to explore the nature of the field itself, how different fandoms function within Europe, and how European fan cultures re-interpret, re-imagine, translate, and localize foreign media texts or foreign fan practices. Potential avenues of exploration may include how Fan Studies is represented, studied, and received within European universities, by funding bodies and publishers. Papers on fandoms may explore how European (English and non-English speaking) fans of European and non-European objects of fan appreciation participate in fandom, the differences between internet fandoms and local/national/international fan practices, and objects of fan appreciation that originate within Europe. Topics of interest include but are not limited to: -Regional fan histories. -Negotiation between international and local fan infrastructures. -Local and national adaptation of fan cultures and identities. -European fans’ impact on international public policy and industry practice. -Fans’ relationships to national media industries and public policy. -National and transnational economies within fandom and/or fan studies. -Crossing national, cultural, and language boundaries in fandom and fan studies. -Translation, both linguistic and cultural. -Fans’ local and international languages and economies of desire. -Framing local European fan objects and cultures within fan studies. -Processes of translation, adaptation, and localization in European fans’ interaction with global media. The symposium is associated with a special issue of the journal of Transformative Works and Cultures tentatively slated for 2015, with full papers due January 1, 2014. Event Details The symposium will be held in the center of Amsterdam, easily accessible from Amsterdam international airport. Submission Process Please send a 300 word abstract along with a short (100 word) biographical note to Anne Kustritz (A.M.Kustritz@uva.nl<mailto:A.M.Kustritz@uva.nl>) or Emma England (E.E.England@uva.nl<mailto:E.E.England@uva.nl>) by 10 September.
Second post on open access: if you’ve seen the Open Access Explained video, it may seem pretty obvious that academic work on fans should also be open access. But what are the challenges of making a journal like Transformative Works and Cultures open access? TWC editor Karen Hellekson posted this fine analysis of the issues in August 2010, with a special focus on how making such a journal online only affects things. Reposting.
I was brought on board to help launch TWC in part because of my expertise in the scientific publishing world and my background in production. I was a hard sell when asked to lend my time to the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) and to TWC. What convinced me was the open access nature of the journal, the Creative Commons copyright, and the notion of fair use that would permit the journal to embed video and stills. These are in striking contrast to the locked-down access, repressive reprint rules, and monetization of content that I see every day in the journal-publishing industry. When it came time to decide whether we wanted a print component available for TWC’s articles, like a print version or PDFs, I spoke out strongly against it. I argued for the primacy of the online version because TWC embeds media, like YouTube videos and screen caps. How could that be duplicated in print? It can’t. Better that there be only one official version, and that one online. We would strike a blow for online-only content!
Two years later, TWC is still online only, but it’s become clear that that ideal has a cost. TWC’s audience is made up of acafans, and lots of academics who might otherwise submit to TWC find that they ought not, because their university has rules that online-only publications do not count for promotion and tenure. Some publishers won’t send us review copies of books because they have a blanket policy that they will not provide books to online-only publications. It’s clear that the reputation of online-only publications is markedly lesser than print publications. Discussions have been going on for years about online publishing models and how to weight them for tenure and promotion: Robert B. Townsend’s “History and the Future of Scholarly Publishing” discusses the issue in the field of history, and the Modern Language Association lays out its suggestions in its Statement on Publication in Electronic Journals.
The academic articles in TWC are double-blind peer reviewed. This means that every article is read by two scholars in the field who are unaware of the identity of the writer, and the writer is shielded from the identity of the readers. That’s the gold standard in the journal-publishing industry. (Several sections of the journal, including the Symposium section, are editorially reviewed.) We naively thought that rigor, peer review, excellent editing, and overall high standards would trump mode of publication. But little has changed in institutional practices. It is too easy to replicate the existing model, or too difficult to permit an institutional committee to assess items on their own merits. They would rather offload their assessment to a proxy, such as publication in a prestigious journal or by a prestigious press. Why read the book if Oxford University Press published it? It’s Oxford University Press! Similarly, to assess importance, you might look at proxies that are meant to suggest importance in the field: you might check the journal’s acceptance rates; if in the sciences you might check their impact factor; or you might examine a listing maintained by, say, the MLA, and if it’s on the list, it counts.
To up our profile, we submit TWC to various indexes. These indexes are lists of vetted content that meets certain criteria, and being listed in the index is a way to show legitimacy and drive readership. Well-known indexes that most people have heard of include PubMed (for medicine) and ERIC (for education). TWC signed an agreement permitting EBSCO, a database aggregator, to list TWC. But our application to be listed in Scopus was rejected, perhaps because when we applied, only a single issue had come out. (We’ll try again later.) To be listed, not only must TWC maintain its status as blind peer reviewed, but the journal must print a careful ratio of peer-reviewed content to non-peer-reviewed content to retain the status of “academic.” The indexing services seek to ensure quality by going down a checklist of current best practices in the journal-publishing industry and only listing journals that fulfill these criteria. Yet best practices have clearly not yet been able to adequately account for online-only publications, or online-only publications would not be treated differently by academic institutions during review for tenure and promotion.
When I fill out forms, surveys, and index submission forms related to TWC and its practices, it becomes clear how strongly the print model affects every aspect of what is considered the norm for publishing. I skip entire sections: I don’t know the number of subscriptions because we don’t use a subscription model. I can’t estimate readership because many of the user accounts are obviously spam accounts, and plenty of readers never create a user ID. We don’t offer different levels of access to different people. We don’t have office expenses because we don’t have an office, instead using freeware OJS to shepherd copy through the publication process. I can’t estimate readership for an essay because our copyright permits the author, or anyone else, to repost, which bleeds off readers and thus they aren’t counted by the software. We have no income from reprint or author fees because we don’t charge those fees. All the questions meant to assess readership and subscriptions are, with an open access model, nearly impossible to estimate. Ironically, the traditional journal-publishing world seeks to maximize impact by minimizing access, even though study after study has shown that people are far more likely to read and cite publications available in full online.
Despite these very real drawbacks, all of which are remnants of the print model, I stand by our decision to reject print in favor of online-only open access. We probably don’t need to be cited in indexes like Scopus because Google searches easily find us, with no block to obtaining full text. It has also struck me that my coeditor, Kristina Busse, and I are the perfect people to edit this journal precisely because neither of us is affiliated. Our jobs aren’t going to be affected by our work; working on the journal will never “count” one way or the other. That’s tremendously freeing.
I’m proud to be working on a publication that is on the vanguard of changing the journal-publishing model by testing models and ideas that permit the free and open exchange of ideas within a context of intellectual rigor. I am saddened that some authors will never submit to us because they can’t afford to, but I am also confident that within the next 10 years, that will change. And it will be because TWC, and journals like it, stood its ground.
Open Access Explained! (by phdcomics) Transformative Works and Cultures, the open access fan studies journal that Fanhackers is affiliated with, will be publishing a new issue on boys’ love fandom very soon. Expect shiny. By way of celebration, we’ll be posting a few things on open access and why it’s such a big deal, both in general and for TWC and fan studies in particular. First of all, what is open access and why should anyone care? Basically, the traditional system of distributing academic works has become very costly and very inefficient. It shuts many people out of conversations and prevents them from putting the important information that’s produced in academia to good use. Open access is a first step towards making academic research truly accessible and useful for everyone in a variety of ways. This video is a great and fun introduction to very many sides of the issue. By Nick Shockey, Jonathan Eisen, and PhD Comics creator Jorge Cham.
Crossover fics between the top 20 TV fandoms on AO3
Data analysis of the AO3 using processing.js, a programming language for visualizing data on the web. When you’re done reading the explanation for the AO3 chart, go to the processing.js site and try mousing over the koi animation at the bottom of the page. So shiny. I want to learn this and use it for ALL THE RESEARCH DATA.