The main aim of the Journal of Interdisciplinary Music Studies (JIMS) is to promote collaboration between humanities and sciences in musicology. All submissions to JIMS must address a musically relevant issue and demonstrate a synergetic interaction between humanities and sciences. Submissions may be purely empirical, purely theoretical, or a mixture of the two.
Submissions are divided into two categories: regular and open peer commentary (OPC). Regular submissions must have at least two authors, of which either the first represents the humanities and the second the sciences or vice-versa. The first two authors must also represent the two background sections at the start of the abstract as explained in the JIMS template document (you can download it here either as word or pdf). For further detail about regular versus OPC submissions, see the section with this title below.
JIMS assigns all editors, authors, reviewers and commentators to the humanities or the sciences according to the disciplinary infrastructures in which they are qualified and/or have published. In ambiguous cases, JIMS reserves the right to make an autonomous decision. In this process, the English word “humanities” is assumed to be roughly equivalent to both the German word “Geisteswissenschaften” and the French expression “lettres et sciences humaines”. The English word “science” is assumed to comprise natural, social and formal sciences and to exclude humanities (musicstudies.org/infor.html).
JIMS does not publish summaries or reviews of current literature. Theoretical contributions should explain and defend clearly articulated claims or theses, which should be analysed from different perspectives. Those perspectives should in turn be critically evaluated. Authors should systematically explore arguments and evidence for and against their claims, considering sources from both humanities and sciences, and striving to maintain a balance between the two. The introduction should review relevant literature in humanities and sciences; the central section(s) of the text should make detailed connections between these literatures, achieving a plausible and original synergy.
Manuscripts are submitted as a single pdf file that includes all text, figures, tables and any other material intended for publication. Pages are numbered throughout. The format conforms to the JIMS template document (see above link and either the Chicago Manual of Style or the American Psychological Association Manual. Each new submission is accompanied by a statement of authorship, conflict of interest, and copyright.
All submissions that conform to these guidelines (including OPC submissions – see below) are subject to a confidential peer-review procedure. The procedure is administered by an action editor who is invited by the administrative or guest editor/s; administrative and guest editors may also act as action editors themselves. The (first) author is responsible for all communication with the action editor, which is generally electronic (email with attachments). The (first) author is also responsible for informing any other author(s) about such communications.
The review procedure involves two separate stages:
- The submission is reviewed by at least two independent experts. At least one of them is qualified in the submission`s main humanities discipline and at least one in its main science discipline (as indicated in the abstract). Reviewers are asked whether the submission should be accepted or rejected for publication and to give suggestions for improving the content. The first author then revises the article according to their suggestions. If one humanities reviewer and one sciences reviewer independently recommend rejection and back up their case plausibly, the submission is rejected.In this process, the reviewers should feel free to act independently of the authors whose work they are evaluating. If a reviewer believes that there may be a conflict of interest, s/he is asked to contact the administrative editor before writing the review.
- After the text has been revised to the satisfaction of the reviewers, the action editor comments on the presentation, considering its clarity, structure, and interdisciplinarity (see ABOUT). In general, the text should be interesting for, and readable by, representatives of both stated background disciplines. The article is only accepted for publication after further revision to the satisfaction of the action editor.
Revised manuscripts are accompanied by a cover letter, in which the first author responds to every suggestion by every reviewer in the following format:
- the reviewer’s suggestion
- one or more extracts from the revised submission that show how the author/s responded to it
A reviewer’s suggestion may only be ignored if the (first) author and action editor agree that the suggestion is erroneous, inappropriate, or irrelevant.
Regular versus Open Peer Commentary (OPC) submissions
The format of the submission is the same in both cases, including the length and format of the abstract. The abstract includes background paragraphs in two main disciplines – one in humanities and one in sciences. These paragraphs are expanded upon in the main text to demonstrate a synergy between humanities and sciences.
OPC submissions differ from regular submissions as follows:
- There is no restriction on the authorship of OPC submissions. We accept single-author submissions and submissions whose authors are only humanities scholars or only scientists. Regular submissions have at least two authors, of which the first two are a humanities scholar and a scientist in either order.)
- The length of an OPC submission (all text including title page, abstract, tables, references, biographies, figure captions) is limited to 8000 words. The limit is relaxed to 9000 words following review to allow authors to respond to reviewers’ suggestions. (There is no limit on the length of regular submissions, but reviewers may recommend changing the length.)
- OPC submissions are accompanied by an email with a list of three colleagues who have accepted to write peer commentaries if the submission is accepted for publication. If the submission is proposed by a humanities scholar, all three suggested commentators should belong to the sciences, and vice versa. Additional suggestions from any discipline are welcome. The email should include the email addresses and homepage addresses (or CVs) of all proposed commentators.
- Reviewers of OPC submissions are informed about the OPC procedure and asked whether, in their opinion and according to their own criteria, the submission is suitable for publication with OPC. If one humanities reviewer and one sciences reviewer independently answer “no” to this question and back up their decision with plausible arguments, and the submission does not meet the criteria for regular submissions, the submission is rejected. As for regular submissions, reviewers should feel independent and free to state their opinions honestly; if not, they should declare a conflict of interest.
Once an OPC submission is accepted for publication and revised satisfactorily, the action editor/s begins to invite commentaries of up to 500 words from experts in relevant areas of humanities and sciences, including one or more of the commentators proposed by the author/s. The reviewers are also given the revised manuscript and an opportunity to write peer commentaries with the option of concealing the fact that they reviewed the original submission.
In addition, an open call (including titles and abstracts, but not authors) is launched on the JIMS website and sent to relevant email lists, in which interested commentators with a doctorate (or relevant publications in international peer-reviewed journals) in a relevant discipline are asked contact the action editor. The open call requires potential commentators to provide their homepage address or CV and a summary of the planned commentary in 2-3 sentences. The action editor accepts or rejects such requests depending on the commentator`s qualification and suitability, and the number and quality of existing commentaries.
Upon acceptance, the requester receives the complete revised text for comment. Commentaries should generally be submitted within three weeks, otherwise the invitation lapses. The action editor selects for publication two to six peer commentaries from the humanities and two to six from the sciences. For papers whose first author is a humanities scholar, the number of commentaries by scientists must equal or exceed the number of commentaries by humanities scholars, and vice-versa for papers whose first author is a scientist.
The action editor ensures that commentaries meet the following criteria: substantive, constructive, plausible criticism or interpretation; polite formulation; focus on the issues rather than the authors (no ad hominem arguments); and reference to appropriate literature. Commentaries that are not revised satisfactorily according to the suggestions of the action editor may be rejected.
Following the final selection and revision of peer commentaries, they are sent to the (first) author with a request for a reply of up to 1500 words within three weeks. At this point, neither the original text nor the commentaries can be changed. If it is necessary to correct a factual error or to omit part of the text for well-substantiated legal reasons, and the action editor agrees to the change, the (first) author may do that provided s/he also informs those commentators (if any) who referred to the changed part of the text in their commentaries. They may then change their commentaries accordingly, provided the action editor approves the change.
If the original submission has more than one author, the reply may be written by the first author alone. In their reply, the author/s provide an integrated overview of the commentaries. They then respond to the main points of all commentators, referring to the author of each point by name. The action editor applies the same editorial principles to the author`s reply as s/he did to the commentaries, and the author/s is/are similarly bound to comply with her/his recommendations.
Finally, the action editor forwards the complete text of the article, all commentaries that have been selected for publication, and the author`s reply to the administrative editor (for regular submissions) or guest editor/s (for special issues). They may ask for further revisions or for the deletion of any passage or commentary.
Common problems and suggestions
Submissions whose (first) author is a scientist are often considered to be weak by humanities reviewers, and vice-versa. To avoid this problem, make sure that every point made in the two background sections of your abstract is carefully elaborated in the main text, focusing on aspects that lie outside the primary expertise of the (first) author. As the main text proceeds, a balanced synergy should emerge between those background sections. Towards the end of the paper, consider the implications of the main conclusions for both sciences and humanities. If the central part of the paper is biased toward sciences, pay particular attention in the final part of the paper to implications for humanities, or to placing the findings in a humanities context; and vice versa.
Reviews of books and conferences
JIMS also publishes reviews of books and conferences that primarily address musical issues, promote synergetic interactions among humanities and sciences, are internationally clearly visible, and control the quality of academic content by an acceptable peer-review procedure. Reviews are limited to 2000 words and may be subject to a separate peer-review procedure. Authors of relevant books, organizers of relevant conferences, and potential reviewers are invited to contact to the review editor.
Publication: JIMS is an open-access journal. Accepted contributions are published on the internet with DOI numbers.
Note: These guidelines were revised in June 2012 by Ali Cenk Gedik, Richard Parncutt, Barbara Tillmann, and Frans Wiering to include the option of OPC, and again by Richard Parncutt in August 2015 to add more detail about the regular review procedure. They may be changed at any time without notice.