Open-Access Music Journals and the Possibility of Global Dialogue1

November 15, 2021


Musicians increasingly operate in a global community connected by the internet that has affected performance, composition, and listening habits. Similarly, there is a growing trend of publishing scholarly research “open access,” meaning it is online for anyone to read at no cost. Open-access advocates have argued that open access makes possible a global community of scholarship. However, few studies have measured the impact of open-access scholarship and whether it has actually realized the dream of a truly global discourse. To answer this question, this article presents a comprehensive survey of trends in open-access music scholarship by examining 189 open-access music journals. Ultimately, the data suggests that although open-access music journals have made a great deal of research available to a global audience, the journals themselves reflect economic and cultural power imbalances in global academic culture; a majority of open-access music journals are based in either Europe or the United States. Consequently, open-access journals have created an echo chamber in which largely Western perspectives dominate, and in which other perspectives are muted. The article closes with recommendations about how open-access music journals can help realize their potential for global discourse.

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