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Open access to the research in music education

Violin class in Beit Atfal Assoumoud Center in Rashedie, camp for Palestinian refugees in South Lebanon. Photo: Vegar R. Storsve

Nordic Research in Music Education is now launched as a new open access journal for research in music education. The Norwegian Academy of Music and the Nordic Network for Music Education Research collaborate on the journal, and with Cappelen Damm Akademisk as a partner.

Nordic Research in Music Education (NRME) is based on a nearly 20-year history with yearbooks within the same topic. The yearbooks have been an essential institution in the Nordic music education research community but reach far beyond the Nordic region. The transition to a web-published open access journal raises the publication channel to international standards while at the same time meeting the authorities' national guidelines for open access.

– This is a breakthrough for our position in the international field of music education research.

Guro Gravem Johansen Editor-in-chief, Nordic Research in Music Education

When asked what this signals and what it means for NMH that we are now launching a new open-access journal on the NOASP platform, Deputy Director of Research and Artistic Research Darla Crispin answers that the launch of the new journal brings NMH's publication strategy for music education research into line with the growing drive towards open access publications.

– The fundamental principle of open access is that the financial, legal and technical obstacles to accessing, reading and referencing published work are removed. In this model, authors can hope to achieve wider dissemination of their work, and readers gain free access to those materials they wish to study.

Significance for the research community

The Nordic music education professional community has collaborated for almost 20 years with NMH on the publication of the printed and eventually digital yearbook Nordic Research in Music Education. What does this open-access journal mean for the Nordic research community and the academic community at NMH?

– For the research community and the academic community at NMH, the development and launch of open access journals such as Nordic Research in Music Education give the potential for research to be more visible because of the greater accessibility described above.

– By publishing this way, NMH shows its determination to play a stronger role as a responsible information source with a global reach across all socio-economic sectors.

Darla Crispin Deputy Director for Research and Artistic Research

Greater accessibility means not just higher numbers, says Crispin, but also a wider range of readers. Because the ability of the reader to pay, or to have a relevant institutional affiliation, to read a given publication is no longer in effect, the critical environment in which work produced at NMH is received and read will be enhanced, expanded and diversified. By publishing this way, NMH shows its determination to play a stronger role as a responsible information source globally across all socio-economic sectors.

The first issue

In the first issue you can read about a wide range of topics within music education.

Nordic Research in Music Education, vol. 1

Alteration to the authors' hurdles

During the same period, the authors in the Nordic music education professional community have published their articles in the previous yearbook. How will the new open-access journal bring about changes for them, and will new opportunities open up here?

– Open access does not necessarily imply any alteration to the hurdles, such as that of peer review, through which authors must successfully pass to be published. However, its principles of openness do raise the possibility of a more diverse and pluralist approach to publication, in which work-in-progress and/or early-research publications may enter the public domain and contribute to the critical discourse sooner than might otherwise be the case.

Crispin thinks that NMH will need to develop policies concerning these issues; for now, the essential aspect of the move to open access for both authors and readers is enhancing the accessibility, profile and citation of research outcomes.

– While the Nordic music education professional community already enjoys a strong reputation, open access will bring the work of this group to a broader readership, something of considerable importance to the continued development of the field, in terms both of the quality of the published work and the widening and diversification of the research community.

What kind of research and debate are advanced by the journal?

The journal's first issue contains eight scientific articles by Nordic researchers, with a wide range of topics within music education. Standard features of the articles in this issue are interested in asking provocative questions about music and music teaching practices, autonomy, identity constructions, transformations and disruptions.

Internationally renowned research

The editors of the journal and the previous yearbook have alternated between institutions in the Nordic network. Still, NMH, as the responsible publisher, has always had an editor in the Editorial Team.

From 1 June, NMH's Guro Gravem Johansen took over as Editor-in-chief. Co-editors Danielle Treacy from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and Anna Houmann from Lund University form part of the team.

Guro points out that Nordic research in the field is highly recognised internationally. The yearbook / NRME has served an essential function in giving both experienced and new researchers an arena to publish at a high level.

– Since the journal is open for publication in Scandinavian languages and English, it is considered international simultaneously as we can publish and develop professional knowledge in our languages. It is unique in itself, both linguistically and academically.

Partnership with Cappelen Damm Akademisk

The new journal is owned by NMH and is established on Cappelen Damm's digital platform, Nordic Open Access Scholarly Publishing (NOASP). Øivind Varkøy and Henrik Holm's forthcoming anthology with texts on music philosophy will also be published on NOASP as an e-book. Cappelen Damm Akademisk is the largest academic e-book publisher in Norway.

The collaboration entails a substantial professionalisation of the previous yearbook and ensures free access to the articles for all readers. The website makes the publishing processes more accessible and provides more significant interaction between the field and the readers.

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