Open Access in 60 Seconds

Video about Open Access. (CC BY 3.0 DE)
Source: Brinken, H., Hauss, J. &  Rücknagel, J. (2021). Open Access in 60 seconds,

Open Access in Musicology

In musicology, as in many other disciplines in the humanities, the primacy of print publications or closed access digital publications is only slowly declining in favour of open access. One contributory factor is the structure of the discipline: musicology is located not only at universities but also, and in particular, at colleges of music and independent research institutes, not all of which have their own infrastructure such as institutional repositories

A stronger orientation towards open access in musicology is being driven among others by the official society of German-language music theory, the Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie (GMTH), and the German Musicological Society (GfM) (e.g., by the GMTH journal ZGMTH and GfM publications) as well as by individual musicological scholars.

Open Access Journals 

As of June 2021, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) listed 61 entries under “Music and books on music”, of which only a few were in German or located in Germany. Only in recent years has the number of genuinely open access journals in musicology begun to grow. These journals are not usually published via a publishing house, but rather are often made available via the respective editors’ own platforms (e.g., in the case of the journals ZGMTH and ACT).

Since 2018, the Specialised Information Service for Musicology (Fachinformationsdienst Musikwissenschaft) also offers a hosting service for open access journals under the label musiconn.publish

Important German-language open access journals in musicology include:

Some journals – in consultation with the rights holders – make their content freely available online upon expiry of an embargo period (“moving wall”). In Germany, these journals include

Financing of Open Access Articles. [german] (CC BY 3.0 DE)
Source: Brinken, H. (2020). Finanzierung von Open-Access-Artikeln,

Open Access Books

As of June 2021, the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) listed 594 titles under the search term “music” (as of June 2021), most of which were from the English-speaking area. The online library and publication platform OAPEN listed 105 titles under “music”. Again, most of these were in English.

In the German-speaking area, open access books in the field of musicology are mainly to be found as hybrid offerings provided by the relevant publishers, for example, Schott, transcript, or Allitera. Besides these publishing house offerings, musicological books are made available in open access via repositories such as musiconn.publish

Disciplinary Repositories 

Since 2018, musiconn.publish has acted as a disciplinary repository of musicological literature for Germany. The repository serves to make musicological literature freely available to the public online, to index it, and to archive it on a long-term basis. This service is part of the Specialised Information Service for Musicology (Fachinformationsdienst Musikwissenschaft), which is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and jointly maintained and operated by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library, BSB) in Munich and the Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek (Library of the State of Saxony and the Technische Universität Dresden, SLUB) in Dresden. It is available to all interested authors in the field of musicology and holds open access articles and books. 

A number of publishers (e.g., Georg Olms Verlag) avail of the possibility to provide green open access to the works they publish by self-archiving them in the repository

Content editor of this page: Dr Andrea Hammes, SLUB Dresden (Last updated: June 2021)