Expanding the scope of open access journals: The ‘Approaches PLUS’ initiative — Tsiris

Volume 14 (2) 2022 – Editorial (published on 23 December 2022)

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Expanding the scope of open access journals: The ‘Approaches PLUS’ initiative 

Giorgos Tsiris

Queen Margaret University, UK; St Columba’s Hospice Care, UK


Giorgos Tsiris, PhD, is senior lecturer in music therapy at Queen Margaret University, and arts lead at St Columba’s Hospice Care. He is co-editor-in-chief of Approaches. [gtsiris@qmu.ac.uk]

This new edition of Approaches contains a wealth of papers reflecting both the international and the interdisciplinary scope of the journal. Addressing different areas within music therapy and the broader field of musical care (Sanfilippo & Spiro, 2022), the articles encompass a clinical case study of music therapy with a child in Israel (Nir Seri) as well as original research studies regarding music-for-health practices in paediatric hospitals in the UK (Jessica Tomlinson and John Habron), the role of music listening in chronic pain and anxiety management (Marie Strand Skånland), as well as the lived experiences of six music therapists who identify as having hearing loss (Sara Cole and Catherine Warner). The theme of music listening and hearing loss is explored further through an interview with Paul Whittaker; a profoundly deaf musician whose work has been devoted to challenging assumptions regarding how people hear and perceive music, and encouraging other deaf people to engage with music.  

At the 12th European Music Therapy Conference, Approaches took part in a roundtable discussion regarding the role that open access journals can, and perhaps should, play in decolonising music therapy. In discussion with colleagues from the editorial teams of the Australian Journal of Music Therapy, Qualitative Inquiries in Music Therapy, and Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, four key areas were identified: accessibility, language, power and diversity, and culture (Tsiris et al., 2022). Critical engagement with these areas is vital in our endeavours to disturb conventional assumptions around scholarly publishing.

In Approaches, our team has worked hard over the past year to expand the scope of what we offer. This work has led to the creation of ‘Approaches PLUS,’ a new space on the journal’s website dedicated to the ongoing development and free dissemination of innovative resources. Building on our commitment to an open access culture, Approaches PLUS seeks to foster new forms of knowledge and knowing, and to reach diverse audiences.

Launching this new initiative, the first resource published in Approaches PLUS is an English-Greek music therapy dictionary. Its title, Music Therapy Dictionary: A Place of Interdisciplinary Encounters, reflects the dictionary’s vision to create a co-constructed space where the Greek translation of concepts and terms follows an informed process of documentation, rendering, and interpretation. Co-edited by Mitsi Akoyunoglou, Dimitra Papastavrou, Konstantina Katostari, and myself, the first edition of the dictionary contains over 1000 terms and acronyms, as well as 26 entries focusing in greater detail on specific concepts. Authored by 25 authors, these entries followed a peer-review process prior to publication. This process resonates with our work as a bilingual English-Greek journal seeking to promote the ongoing growth of the music therapy discourse in the Greek language in a culturally responsive and sensitive way.

The dictionary is intended to be a living resource which is updated regularly, inviting contributions from different authors. Potential authors can submit proposals for new entries as well as suggestions for alternative renditions and translations of terms which can be included in subsequent editions. The peer review process for all entries fosters a dialectical culture where behind-the-scenes translational dilemmas and debates can have direct implications for the advancement of terminology in music therapy.

In the coming months, Approaches PLUS will be enriched with other resources in addition to the dictionary. Common ground for all these resources is our vision for promoting new collaborative and community-led publishing approaches in music therapy where multiple voices and different languages are heard and represented. This ongoing development of Approaches is the fruit of teamwork founded in a social approach to leadership (Stodd, 2014) that is shared, creative, and empathetic (dos Santos, 2022). The recent appointment of Andeline dos Santos as co-editor-in-chief of Approaches feeds directly to the leadership of the journal. Andeline brings to this role a wealth of experience as a practitioner, educator, and researcher, and I very much look forward to working with her as a new chapter of Approaches’ life begins!   


dos Santos, A. (2022). Empathy pathways: A view from music therapy. Springer.

Sanfilippo, K. R., & Spiro, N. (2022) Introduction. In N. Spiro & K. R. Sanfilippo (Eds.), Collaborative insights: Interdisciplinary perspectives on musical care throughout the life course (pp.1-11). Oxford University Press.

Stodd, J. (2014). The social leadership handbook. SeaSalt Learning.     

Tsiris, G., Dos Santos, A., Coombes, E., Bolger, L., Eslava Mejía, J., Moonga, N., Ghetti, C., Hadley, S., Bibb, J., Keith, D., Banzon, G., Hales, G., & Redhead, C. (2022). Decolonising music therapy: What’s the role of open access journals? British Journal of Music Therapy, Online Special Edition, 37. https://journals.sagepub.com/page/bjmb/abstractsofthe12theuropeanmusictherapyconference