Reminder: Last days to submit abstracts for JVWR special issue on The Impact of Immersive Environments

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Reminder: Last days to submit abstracts for JVWR special issue on The Impact of Immersive Environments

The Journal for Virtual Worlds Research
Seeks to develop productive critical perspectives on impact, discussing
ways, time periods, and to what extent impact can be a valuable concept
*IMPACT of Immersive Environments (CfP)*
*The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research* ( is
pleased to announce the call for a *special issue* on the theme of the *Impact
of Immersive Environments* edited by:

   - *Professor Michael Thomas*, University of Central Lancashire, UK
   - *Dr. Tuncer Can*, University of Istanbul, Turkey
   - *Professor Michael Vallance*, Future University, Japan

You can access this call directly through our website here
  About JVWR – the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research Now in its 11th year,
the JVWR
an online, open access academic journal that engages a wide spectrum of
scholarship and welcomes contributions from the many disciplines and
approaches that intersect with virtual worlds research. Virtual worlds
ignite a continuously evolving area of study that spans multiple
disciplines and the JVWR editorial team looks forward to engaging a wide
range of creative and scholarly research.
  *Motivation and Scope* Over the last two decades research on virtual
worlds and immersive environments has engaged with a wide variety of
stakeholders and beneficiaries across many disciplines and fields that
naturally involve high stakes, engaging with participants with learning and
physical disabilities to the military, citizen democracy, and digital

*In this issue we want to tackle the following issues:*

   - What is the usefulness of such research?
   - Who are the main beneficiaries of the research?
   - What real-world problems does the research on virtual worlds address?
   - How can the effectiveness of the research be measured, if at all?
   - Can we identify short, medium and longer term conceptions of impact?

While study and research for their own sake or for character development
have been core components of many disciplines, particularly in the
humanities or social sciences, the consolidation of neoliberal values in
higher education has led to questions about the practical application of
research and its influence on and relationship with society and

Specifically, in the UK the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF)
adapted this approach to impact to help measure the real-world application
of research, its public engagement and use-value, in relation, for example,
to health, the economy, society or culture. While impact has attracted much
criticism and debate, it has been consolidated in the intervening period
and with REF2021, the next UK Government exercise aimed at evaluating
research excellence in higher education, impact, now defined as an activity
that can take place both internal and external to universities, has
increased its weighting in the exercise. While the impact agenda has been
influential in higher education in the UK, we now find other governments
and research councils around the world adopting similar definitions (e.g.,
Australian Research Council, Hong Kong, the AACSB in the USA).

Definitions of “impact” have proliferated alongside critique and it is
important to consider the applicability of the term, as well as to reflect
on how it can be shaped and defined to lead to productive and meaningful
research and scholarly activity.

In terms of the REF exercises impact is defined in relation to “reach (the
extent and/or diversity of the organizations, communities and/or
individuals who have benefited from the impact) and significance (the
degree to which the impact enriched, influenced, informed or changed the
policies, practices, and understanding or awareness of organizations,
communities or organizations)” (REF, 2012, p. 93).

It does not merely relate to measuring dissemination activity e.g., how
many people read a book, or visited a gallery, or follow your research
findings on Twitter. Rather, it relates to what measurable influence the
research has had on its beneficiaries as a result of activities associated
with it.

For the Economic and Social Research Council in the UK (ESRC), impact can
be defined as “Academic impact”, which is the “demonstrable contribution
that excellent social and economic research makes in shifting understanding
and advancing scientific, method, theory and application across and within
disciplines” and/or “Economic and societal impact”, which is the
“demonstrable contribution that excellent social and economic research
makes to society and the economy, and its benefits to individuals,
organizations and/or nations” (

This *special edition of The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research* is a
timely intervention into these debates in the context of educational
technology and *seeks to develop productive critical perspectives on impact*,
discussing in what ways, over what time periods and to what extent impact
can be a valuable concept in this field.

Authors are invited to submit original scholarly manuscripts that will make
significant contributions to the advancement of our understanding of
research impact with respect to virtual worlds and immersive environments
defined broadly.

*We encourage* transdisciplinary research as well as diverse methodological
approaches and welcome both qualitative and quantitative research studies,
as well as theoretical, conceptual, and empirical studies. Critical
perspectives on virtual worlds research and what constitutes impact are
encouraged, rather than merely small-scale experimental studies. Authors
may wish to reflect on their work over a longer period of time and to
produce narratives that combine findings from several studies.
Meta-analyses of research in the field which adopt a longer-term
perspective are also encouraged.
  Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

   - *Impact on disciplines* (e.g., health and wellbeing, politics,
   psychology, medicine, arts, and humanities)
   - *Impact on people* (e.g., special educational needs, the disabled,
   migrants and refugees, children, families and parents, communities, and/or
   in terms of race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality)
   - *Impact on tools* (e.g., AR, AI, eResearch methods, robotics, mobile
   applications, educational resources, gamification, serious games)
   - *Impact on problems* (e.g., real-world challenges, citizenship, big
   data, pedagogical etc.)

The editors welcome efforts to define and problematize “impact” as a
category for evaluating research, and articles that seek to promote
transdisciplinary research on immersive and virtual worlds, nationally and
internationally, in established western contexts as well as in emerging
contexts in Africa, South America, the Middle East, and Asia.
  *Submission Instructions* The vetting process will start with a *300 word
abstract leading*, if invited, to a full paper submission of up to 6000
words including footnotes, references, and appendices. All submissions
(abstracts and papers) should be made *via the JVWR publishing system* (see> About JVWR > For Authors
All submissions will be double-open reviewed. Accepted papers will be
published online in *Volume 12, Number 2 (2019)* of the Journal.
  *Deadlines and Timeline*

   - Authors submit abstract of 300 words with expression of interest:
   20, 2018*
   - Editors return acceptance: *January 5, 2018*
   - Authors submit full paper: *April 1, 2019*
   - Editors return peer review report: *May 15, 2019*
   - Authors submit revised paper: *June 1, 2019*
   - Editors return final decision: *July 1, 2019*
   - Publication: *September 2019*

Biographies of Editors
*Dr. Michael Thomas* is Professor of Higher Education and Online Learning
at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK. He has published over
twenty books and special editions of peer reviewed journals, coordinated
several large-scale funded projects on immersive environments, and is the
founding editor of the book series Digital Education and Learning

*Dr. Tuncer Can* is Assistant Professor at the University of Istanbul in
Turkey. His research interests are in computer-assisted learning and he's
been a partner in several EU funded projects on immersive environments and
virtual worlds, particularly those involving gamification and video-based
learning, including CAMELOT (2013-15) and GUINEVERE (2017-2019).

*Dr. Michael Vallance* is a Professor in the Department of Media
Architecture (previously Director of the Center for Meta-Learning - CML) at
Future University, Japan. He has a Doctorate in Education from Durham
University, a Master’s Degree in Computer Assisted Learning from Stirling
University, UK, and a BSc(Hons) Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the
University of South Wales, UK.
  More things you can do:

   - Browse JVWR's previous issues
   - Subscribe
   to our mailing list (on the top left of the Journal of Virtual Worlds
   Research home page
   to receive our news and updates (no spam guaranteed.)
   - Connect with us on twitter
   @TheJVWR and on our Facebook
   page (TheJVWR).


*Prof. Yesha Y. Sivan* Editor-In-Chief
  *The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research*

The Impact of Immersive Environments
Vol. 12, No. 2
*Copyright © 2018 Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, All rights reserved.*
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