Ethnomusicology in the 21st Century!

A screenshot from my electronic paper submission to SEM this year: you get to choose whether or not the session is streamed.

As last year, the annual Society for Ethnomusicology conference will make available online streaming of conference sessions. It’s great to see the society using information and communications technology to increase the reach of our scholarship. If, as anecdotal evidence suggests, ethnomusicological work is as valuable and interesting to students, communities, and education generally, then it’s high time that the meetings and proceedings were made available to more people rather than the select few who are able to make the time to prepare for and expend the resources to attend the annual meetings. At present, the journal is available only to paid members (who may or may not read it), it publishes only about 9 to 12 article annually, and it’s not an open access journal. Other projects, like the first Applied Ethnomusicology meeting), have experimented to make their proceedings available online, and publishing/scholarship is an important use of the Internet (or see arXiv). That said, it is important to recognize the ethical concerns of open access, which are also underplayed by open access advocates.

Open Access Scholarly Publishing

Just a few days ago in the NYTimes, an article covers the growing movement to expand open access to scholarly publishing. One quote in the article suggests that the matter of open access scholarly publishing has become a “matter of international justice.” The implication is that cutting edge research and writing should be available to educational institutions in underdeveloped countries.