bakurapika asked: I had an undergrad paper in 2015 or so about roleplay on tumblr (specifically the vocabulary in use). I don’t suppose that’s something I could post somewhere useful?
Excellent question. If you want to publish an undergrad paper about fans online and make sure people can find it, I’d suggest the following approach:
Step 1: Upload your paper to a reliable, non-profit research hosting service
There are many online services designed to share research with the world. Many of these also accept undergraduate work. Research support specialists at university libraries usually recommend hosting your research on a well-established non-profit service, like Zenodo or figshare. These are essentially AO3s for sharing academic materials instead of fanworks. Just make a free account, and you’re ready to upload and share your work. You don’t need to be affiliated with an academic institution to host your research on Zenodo or figshare. These services will preserve a secure copy of your work in perpetuity, for free, with a license of your choice (Creative Commons licenses are very useful). You can host and share not only papers, but also other research materials like datasets and presentations.
Note that there are also some well-known for-profit services where researchers share work, especially Academia.edu, which has a great deal of people on it. You may want to put your work there as well to reach a larger audience. However, we caution against making for-profit services the one and only forever home of your research materials. Academic publishing has a lot of issues with for-profit entities trying to exploit the free labor of researchers. Not unlike fandom, really! This is a long story that we’ll get back to a lot on this blog. In short, for reasons, research support specialists recommend non-profit over for-profit services for now.
Step 2: Add a reference to your paper to the OTW’s fan studies bibliography
When you’ve given your paper a safe online home, it’s time to make sure people actually find the information. Add the paper to the OTW’s bibliography so that others searching for fan studies work can find it easily. Undergrad papers absolutely belong in this bibliography. To add your work, drop us a note with the link to your paper. As described on the bibliography page, you can also add pages by making your own account on Zotero, the software that’s the backend of the fan studies bibliography.
Note that Zotero is designed for serious business academic use and can be a bit confusing if you’ve never used it before. Don’t hesitate to just send us a link if you don’t feel like learning a whole new bibliography management tool! We’re totally happy to add things for people. (But if you need a bibliography management tool, do learn more about Zotero. It’s free and open source, and very good at what it does.)
Optional step 3: Add content from your paper to Fanlore
People come to Fanlore to learn more about the past and present of all aspects of fan culture. If you add the most interesting or informative parts of your paper to relevant Fanlore articles, you greatly increase chances that other fans will find that information. Find the Fanlore article(s) that are most closely related to your paper, and add sections from the paper wherever they seem to fit. Fanlore has some good how-to info if you’re new to editing a wiki. You can add a link to your paper on Zenodo or figshare in the References section of the Fanlore article.
Hope this helps! This is only one of many ways to share undergraduate papers on fan culture, of course. Do let us know about any other questions or suggestions you have.