The journal AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images is a peer-reviewed web-based academic journal, stemming from the ERC Advanced project “AN-ICON. An-Iconology: History, Theory, and Practices of Environmental Images”.
The journal aims to set out a groundbreaking interdisciplinary research field addressing the key challenges raised by the rapidly evolving contemporary mediascape, focussing in particular on the emergence of what can be defined as environmental images, namely an-icons.
Indeed, recent developments in image-making techniques have resulted in a drastic blurring of the threshold between the world of the image and the real world. Virtual reality, in particular, has enabled the production of pictures that either infiltrate the perceivers’ environment as if they were real objects, or even surround the perceivers, thus substituting themselves to their real environment.
Such pictures, hence called “environmental”, undermine the mainstream paradigm of Western image theories. In fact, they conceal their being based on a medium, thus claiming their unmediateness; they refuse to be separated from the real world by means of framing devices, thus pursuing a condition of unframedness; and they discard referentiality and representation in favour of presentness. By doing all this, these pictures deny their very status of images, of icons: they become veritable “an-icons”.
In line with the scope of the AN-ICON project, the journal proposes itself as a transdisciplinary hub for encouraging and hosting studies in “an-iconology”: namely, a new field of research able to tackle an-icons from, at least, three major perspectives:
1) A historical perspective – aimed at a diachronic exploration of the an-iconic tendencies in media, and at a media-archaeological investigation of the multiple prefigurations of environmental images (e.g. illusionistic painting, pre-cinematic dispositifs, such as panorama and phantasmagoria, stereoscopic and 3D cinema, video games, etc.).
2) A theoretical perspective – aimed at delving into the key-concepts that describe both the status and the experience of an-icons: illusion, transparency, immersivity, interactivity and participation, embodiment and avatar, multisensoriality, hyper-realism.
3) A practical perspective – aimed at investigating the multifaceted impact of an-iconic images, virtual environments, and technologies on contemporary professional domains, applications, as well as on everyday life.
The journal encourages a transdisciplinarity and is open to a wide range of research fields, methods, and approaches. Papers with a specific focus are welcome as much as contributions spanning across multiple disciplines and perspectives, ranging from art history and art criticism, to film and media studies, aesthetics, phenomenology, cognitive sciences, sociology and psychology of media. The journal equally welcomes contributions based on either theoretical, empirical, or mixed methods.
Research areas include, but they are not limited to:
- The an-iconic tendency across the years and centuries.
- The features and uses of devices that have expressed an an-iconic tendency before immersive environment, especially in the perspective of media archaeology.
- The specificity of the an-icons compared to previous kinds of pictures, possibly from an inter-media perspective.
- Analysis of an-iconic concepts:
- Immersivity and presence
- Interactivity and participation
- Illusion and hyper-realism
- Embodiment and avatar
- Transparency and immediacy
- Counter-tendencies: aesthetic strategies and interfaces that go against the grain of the dominant an-icon tendency, revealing alternative sensory regimes.
- Specific case studies, able to bring into light an-iconic concepts and unprecedented aspects of environmental images.
- The an-iconic concepts and their modifications across virtual reality and other media (visual, audiovisual, but possibly textual as well), or in the transition from one medium to another.
- Explorations of domains or additional concepts connected to the an-iconic concepts (e.g. game and play, meditation, flow, coupling of bodies and technologies, and so on).
- Current uses of virtual reality or related media in specific professional fields (such as medicine, architecture, psychology, marketing, job training, education): concrete applications, advantages, ethical issues, juridical issues, and so on.
- Proposals and arguments for future uses of virtual reality or related media in specific professional fields.
The journal is published twice a year, in Spring and Fall. Each issue of the Journal features:
° A thematic section (mostly oriented towards the theoretical perspective);
° One of the following permanent calls, independent from the thematic section:
- Archaeologies of Immersion (mostly devoted to the historical perspective)
- Operational An-Icons (mostly devoted to the practical perspective).
° A section devoted to critiques of VR and AR productions, 360° films, and other virtual reality contents.
Giuliana Bruno (Harvard University)
Gordon Calleja (University of Malta)
Mauro Carbone (Université "Jean Moulin" Lyon 3)
Francesco Casetti (Yale University)
Ruggero Eugeni (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore – Milan)
Kurt W. Forster (Yale University)
David Freedberg (Columbia University)
Vittorio Gallese (Università degli Studi di Parma)
Dario Gamboni (Université de Genève)
Gertrud Koch (Freie Universität Berlin)
Pietro Montani (Sapienza Università di Roma)
Catrin Misselhorn (Universität Stuttgart)
W.J.T. Mitchell (University of Chicago)
Antonio Somaini (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3)
Victor Stoichita (Université de Fribourg)
Caroline van Eck (University of Cambridge)
Kitty Zijlmans (Universiteit Leiden)
This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.
Open Access Policy is based on rules of Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI): http://www.budapestopenaccessinitiative.org/
Anyone is free to download, re-use, print, and share the published content.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
You can publish free of charge: no payments are required from the authors, as this journal doesn’t have article submission charges nor article processing charges (APCs).
The Author allows AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images the right to publish for the first time or republish the work within 1 (one) year from the submission, and the perpetual right to distribute the work free of charge by any means and in any parts of the world, including the communication to the public through the journal website.
The Author retains the right to create derivative works and to reproduce, distribute, execute or publicly display her/his work at conferences and presentations, lectures, and in case of any other professional activity.
The Author retains the right to disseminate open access the work, through his website or through an institutional or disciplinary, from the publishing on AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images.
The Author, according to the Publisher, renounces to any forms of compensation provided to authors and publishers for not for profit photocopying rights and library loan in accordance to the National law in force.
Editors have the duty to act promptly in case of errors and misconducts, both proven and alleged. This duty extends to both published and unpublished papers. In case such as errors in articles or in the publication process, fraudulent publication or plagiarism, appropriate steps will be taken, following the recommendations, guidelines and flowcharts from COPE (https://publicationethics.org/files/cope-retraction-guidelines-v2.pdf). Corrections will happen with due prominence, including the publication of an erratum (errors from the publication process), corrigendum (errors from the Author(s)) or, in the most severe cases, the retraction of the affected work. Retracted papers will be retained online, and they will be prominently marked as a retraction in all online versions, including the PDF, for the benefit of future readers.
The names, email addresses and data entered in this journal site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available for any other purpose, or to any other party.
1. Accountability and responsibility for journal content
Journal's editors take responsibility for all works published on AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images. They strive to grant both scientific and editorial quality by double-blind peer review and careful editing. The journal maintains the integrity of the published record and grants long time preservation of all published content by using the LOCKKS system
2. Editorial independence and integrity
2.1 Independence of editorial decisions from commercial interests
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors make their decisions about proposals submitted to the journal and published works on academic merit alone and take full responsibility for their decisions.
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images embraces an open access policy and has no commercial interest, so the journal’s editorial processes and editors’ decisions are independent of any commercial consideration.
2.2 Editors’ relationship to the journal publisher
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors work on a volunteer basis. The journal’s website is hosted by University of Milan, a public institution which has a scientific research and teaching mission and does not interfere with AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors’ freedom of choice and activities, as long as their work is coherent with the scholarly mission of the journal.
2.3 Journal metrics and decision-making
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors do not attempt to influence the journal’s ranking by artificially increasing any journal metric. In particular, they strive to ensure that submitted papers are reviewed on purely scholarly grounds and that authors are not pressured to cite specific publications for non- scholarly reasons.
3. Editorial confidentiality
3.1 Authors’ material
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images selects papers to be published through double-blind peer review. Peer reviewers are chosen by editors, who strive to protect the confidentiality of authors’ material and remind reviewers to do so as well. Submitted papers are never shared with editors of other journals, unless with the authors’ agreement or in cases of alleged misconduct (see below). Editors do not give any indication of a paper’s status with the journal to anyone other than the authors. AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images web-based submission system prevents unauthorised access. In the case of a misconduct investigation, it may be necessary to disclose material to third parties (e.g., an institutional investigation committee or other editors).
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images selects papers to be published through double-blind peer review.
Therefore, reviewers’ identities are always protected, unless an alleged or suspected reviewer’s misconduct compels the journal to disclose the reviewer’s name to a third party.
General editorial policies
4. Encouraging maximum transparency and good publishing ethics
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images aims at granting authors, readers, reviewers, and all other parties involved maximum transparency and complete and honest reporting about its work.
4.1 Authorship and responsibility
All signing authors of works published on AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images take responsibility for the conduct and validity of their research and for what is written in their contributions. Authors acknowledge that all contents are published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License – CC-BY).
Should any authorship dispute arise, it will be resolved at the appropriate institutional level or through other appropriate independent bodies. AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors will then act on the findings, for example by correcting authorship in published works.
4.2 Conflicts of interest and role of the funding source
Authors are required to declare any relevant financial or non-financial conflict of interest at the moment they submit their papers for publication on AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images. Declarations of conflicting interests are published alongside the paper so that readers are informed about them.
4.3 Authors’ publishing ethics
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors work to ensure that all published papers make a substantial new contribution to their field. They discourage ‘salami publications’ (i.e., publication of the minimum publishable unit of research), avoid duplicate or redundant publication unless it is fully declared and acceptable to all (e.g., publication in a different language with cross-referencing), and encourage authors to place their work in the context of previous work (i.e., to state why this work was necessary/done, what this work adds or why a replication of previous work was required, and what readers should take away from it).
5. Responding to criticisms and concerns
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images welcomes and encourages criticism and debate.
5.1 Ensuring integrity of the published record - corrections
When genuine errors in works published on AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images are pointed out by readers, authors, or editors, which do not render the work invalid, a correction (or erratum) will be published as soon as possible. The paper will be corrected with a date of correction. If the error renders the work or substantial parts of it invalid, the paper will be retracted with an explanation as to the reason for retraction (i.e., honest error). Retracted papers will be retained online, and they will be prominently marked as a retraction in all online versions, including the PDF, for the benefit of future readers.
5.2 Ensuring the integrity of the published record – suspected research or publication misconduct
If serious concerns are raised by readers, reviewers, or others, about the conduct, validity, or reporting of works published on AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images, the editors of the journal will initially contact the authors and allow them to respond to the concerns. If that response is unsatisfactory, editors will take the matter to the appropriate institutional level. The editors of AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images will also do their best to respond to findings from research integrity organisations that indicate misconduct relating to works published on AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images. Editors can themselves decide to retract a paper if they are convinced that serious misconduct has happened even if an investigation by an institution or national body does not recommend it. Editors will respond to all allegations or suspicions of research or publication misconduct raised by readers, reviewers, or other editors. In general, they acknowledge collective responsibility for the research record of the journal and will act whenever they become aware of potential misconduct if at all possible.
5.3 Encouraging scholarly debate
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images welcomes readers’ criticisms to works published by the journal and will consider publishing them to foster scientific debate, as long as they are proposed in a timely manner. The authors of the original works will be given the opportunity to reply to further promote the debate. Any criticisms that raise the possibility of misconduct will be further investigated even if they are received a long time after publication.
6. Ensuring a fair and appropriate peer review process
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors organize and use peer review fairly and wisely. The peer review processes is clearly explained in the information for authors' page on the journal's website, where it is also indicated which parts of the journal are peer reviewed.
6.1 Decision whether to review
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors may reject a paper without peer review when it is deemed unsuitable for the journal’s readers or is of poor quality. This decision is made in a fair and unbiased way and the criteria used to make this decision are made explicit to the author. The decision not to send a paper for peer review is only based on the academic content of the paper, and it is not influenced by the nature of the authors or their host institution.
6.2 Interaction with peer reviewers
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors use appropriate peer reviewers for papers that are considered for publication by selecting people with sufficient expertise and avoiding those with conflicts of interest. AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors ensure that reviews are received in a timely manner. Peer reviewers are told what is expected of them and are informed about any changes in editorial policies. Peer reviewers are asked to assess research and publication ethics issues (i.e., whether they think the research was done and reported ethically, or if they have any suspicions of plagiarism, fabrication, falsification, or redundant publication). AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors have a policy to request a formal conflict of interest declaration from peer reviewers and ask peer reviewers to inform them about any such conflict of interest at the earliest opportunity so that they can make a decision on whether an unbiased review is possible. Certain conflicts of interest may disqualify a peer reviewer.
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors stress confidentiality of the material to peer reviewers.
6.3 Reviewer misconduct
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors take reviewer misconduct seriously and pursue any allegation of breach of confidentiality, non-declaration of conflicts of interest (financial or non-financial), inappropriate use of confidential material, or delay of peer review for competitive advantage. Allegations of serious reviewer misconduct, such as plagiarism, are taken to the institutional level.
6.4 Interaction with authors
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors make it clear to authors that the role of the peer reviewer is to provide recommendations on acceptance or rejection. Correspondence from editors is usually with the corresponding author, who have the responsibility to involve co-authors at all stages. AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors communicate with all authors at first submission and at final acceptance stage to ensure all authors are aware of the submission and have approved the publication. Normally, AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors pass on all peer reviewers’ comments in their entirety. However, in exceptional cases, it may be necessary to exclude parts of a review, if it, for example, contains libellous or offensive remarks.
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors guarantee that such editorial discretion is not inappropriately used to suppress inconvenient comments. Should there be good reasons to involve additional reviewers at a late stage in the process, it is clearly communicated to authors. The final editorial decision and reasons for this are clearly communicated to authors and reviewers. If a paper is rejected, AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors welcome appeals from authors. Editors, however, are not obliged to overturn their decision.
7. Editorial decision-making
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors guarantee that decisions on publications are as fair and unbiased as possible.
7.1 Editorial and journal processes
All editorial processes are made clear in the information for authors on the journal's webpage, where it is stated what is expected of authors, which types of papers are published, and how papers are handled by the journal. All editors are fully familiar with the journal policies, vision, and scope. The final responsibility for all decisions rests with the managing editor.
7.2 Editorial conflicts of interest
AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images editors are not involved in decisions about papers in which they have a conflict of interest, for example if they work or have worked in the same institution and collaborated with the authors, if they own stock in a particular company, or if they have a personal relationship with the authors. AN-ICON. Studies in Environmental Images has a process in place to handle papers submitted by editors or editorial board members to ensure unbiased and independent handling of such papers. This process is stated in the information for authors.