We give you the scuttlebutt on academic journals—aiding you in selecting the right journal for publication—in reviews that are sometimes snarky, sometimes lengthy, always helpful. Written by Princeton University graduate students and Wendy Laura Belcher.
The flagship journal in the field of the research-based study of music, the Journal of the American Musicological Society (JAMS) is published triannually (three times a year).
Contrary to what its title may seem to apply, not all members of the American Musicological Society (AMS) nor the authors of JAMS articles are American. Additionally, the subject-matter of potential submissions need not bear any relationship to American music, although they can. AMS/JAMS is not to be confused with the similarly named Society for American Music (SAM) and that society’s publication, the Journal of the Society for American Music (JSAM). By contrast, the membership for that society, SAM/JSAM, slants American (not necessarily from the United States) and is “dedicated to the study, teaching, creation, and dissemination of all musics in the Americas,” whereas the AMS boasts having members from forty different countries.
Despite being the most prominent journal in the research-based field of music, the publication has a quite limited focus and is not representative of the diverse fields music scholars actually study. For instance, the popular website, Jstor.com, only has issues until the year 2015; if one wants to view the latest issues, it is necessary to become a member of the society. Furthermore, only a select few articles are chosen to be published each year. Each issue has roughly 3-5 articles and 3-5 book reviews. Additionally, JAMS also includes reviews of “digital and multimedia scholarship” and tends to publish at least one “colloquy” every year (a journal article with a more general focus that is published collaboratively by multiple authors).
Although the publication claims to (and does) accept submissions from a variety of different music-related fields such as critical theory, ethnomusicology, and gender and sexuality studies, the accepted journal articles tend to cover more traditional ‘Western’ musics in subject-matter. Such articles in JAMS tend to be lengthy, indeed perhaps the lengthiest of any journal, as the submission guidelines ask for articles of no more than 20,000 words in length (which includes both the main text and footnotes). However, it is important to note that music articles often include numerous musical examples as figures that occupy an entire page. The average length for articles is approximately 50 pages, and the society seems to curate the journal so that the articles in a particular issue are roughly the same length, though this is not always the case.
This is the journal emerging scholars should desire to be published in, but the publication curates a space that reflects the current state of the field quite aptly: those with a more traditional scholarly approach will generally feel the most welcome.
Useful for Submission
Word Count : 20,000 words max (includes main text and footnotes)
Issues per year : 3
Current volume number : 71
Articles per year : Varies, but 10-12 articles and 12-15 reviews
Citation style : Chicago
Abstract length (if required): 250 words conforming to RILM guidelines
Upcoming special issues (if available) : Special Issue on Race and Ethnicity forthcoming
Relevant Editors : Joy H. Calico (Vanderbilt University), Michael J. Puri, Debra Lacoste, Laura Davey, Elizabeth Elmi, Stacey VanderMeer, Justin Mueller, and several prominent music scholars as the editorial board.
Open Access : No
Online : Yes, but need some sort of membership of institutional affiliation to access