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Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  • The submission file is in OpenOffice, Microsoft Word, RTF, or WordPerfect document file format.
  • The DOI identifier is provided with cited references in the list of references where available and a copy of the list of references is pasted into the box called "References" in step 3 of the submission. Tips. You can retrieve the DOIs for all items in your list of references that has a DOI assigned by using the service at (free registration required).
  • The text is single-spaced; uses a 12-point font; employs italics, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses); and all illustrations, figures, and tables are placed within the text at the appropriate points, rather than at the end.
  • The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined below in the Author Guidelines.
  • The manuscript is prepared according to an appropriate style and genre outlined in the Section policies.
  • The manuscript is not a revision / resubmission of an existing submission to Voices.

Author Guidelines

Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy is an Open Access journal that welcomes contributions from scholars and practitioners in the broad interdisciplinary field of music, health, and social change.

We consider manuscripts on the condition that they have not been published elsewhere already and that they are not in press or under consideration for publication elsewhere.[1]

Authors are welcome to submit the same article translated into two or more languages, provided the versions are as identical as possible and one of the submissions is in English.

Submissions to the journal are made online.

Authors pay no article submission or processing charges. 

General Values and Principles

In line with the Vision Statement of Voices, the journal values inclusiveness and socio-cultural awareness and has increasingly nurtured a critical edge that refines the focus on cultural issues and social justice. The editors are committed to developing an egalitarian and interdisciplinary forum so that multiple voices can be heard. The journal therefore encourages evaluation processes that are informed by the values of dialogue and reflexivity. Authors, reviewers, and editors are invited to exchange ideas in the service of new and better understanding and all parties are invited to position themselves in relation to the values, contexts, and traditions that inform the contributions to the journal. Below you will find some general writing advice, based upon principles that are in line with the Voices vision statement and therefore central to the reviewers and editors when evaluating your text:

Choose an Appropriate Section

As an inclusive journal encouraging dialogue, Voices publishes a range of texts and multimedia materials. At submission, it is therefore crucial that you choose whether or not you want your work peer-reviewed as a research article or as a contribution to one of the other sections of the journal.

Voices welcomes contributions in a range of sections and styles of writing, in order to open up a space for innovative writing and exploration. When ethically and culturally appropriate, and with approval by those depicted, you are welcome to include photographs and other illustrations, as well as audio or video examples.

Research articles are sent out anonymously to at least two peers for review in consideration of the journal’s evaluation principles for various types of research. You will receive anonymous feedback which will inform the revision process. If your article is published, it will be indexed as a research article.

Submissions to other sections are also peer reviewed before publication, but according to more flexible standards and procedures. Usually one peer will offer reflections on the material and the editor will then dialogue with the author to reach a good form for publication. When relevant, we also consider the aesthetic quality of a piece and its impact as a representation of lived experience.

Once articles are ready for publication, they will be labeled as Position Papers, Essays, Research, Reports, Reflections on Practice, Interviews, Stories, Tributes, Book Reviews, or Commentaries, as appropriate.

Strive for Substantive Content

Whatever section you choose, your work will be evaluated based on the substance of your content. The standards for this criterion will be defined in relation to the section that you decide to write in, see Section Policies for more details.

Strive for Clarity of Voice

Voices editors and reviewers expect your text to be coherent and well-written. Imagine that you are taking your readers on a journey. Help them to follow your narrative without being distracted by errors in grammar, spellings, or tangents. Also, clarify the various voices of your text (e.g. the voice of the author vs. voices of authors cited or of participants in the field).

Situate the Text

By situating the text you help readers understand your intention and point of view. Try to include explanation about things that are unique to your context. It is often relevant to include reflections on how your text is embedded in geographic locations and socioeconomic conditions and almost always relevant to include reflections on the academic and sociocultural traditions that inform your work. This principle can be summarized as a request for reflexivity in action, the ability to position oneself in relation to the world of others.

Encourage Dialogue

Because Voices seeks to encourage dialogue, your text should offer ideas that are conducive to international and interdisciplinary exchanges. You can pose questions that will encourage the reader to reflect, you can challenge your own arguments and acknowledge other perspectives, or seek other ways of encouraging dialogue and exchange of ideas.

General Guidelines on Language, Style, and Ethics

For general advice on scholarly writing and reference technique we refer authors to relevant manuals, such as the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), or Chicago Manual of Style (APA’s manual is common within psychology, education, and some health disciplines, while the Chicago manual is common within the humanities and parts of the social sciences). There are regional and national differences as to what manuals are recommended. Style conventions also vary between sections and genres. Our default style at Voices is APA style but authors who specifically desire to use an alternative style can do so as long as there is consistency within an article and the style chosen is appropriate for the article’s section and genre. Guidelines specific to Voices are:


To stimulate international communication, English is chosen as the main language of the journal (but submissions in multiple languages are encouraged, and we are committed to translating abstracts into several languages). Manuscripts should be written in clear English. Authors may use American (Merriam-Webster), British (Oxford English Dictionary) or any other formalized version of the English language, but consistency within one article is required. Similar considerations should be made for submissions in multiple languages.

All authors are asked to aspire to achieve fluency and economy of expression and to follow established scholarly principles of orderly and clear presentation. Non-discriminatory language is mandatory for all manuscripts.[2]

Word-limits, Abstracts, Bios, and Keywords

There are no predefined word-limits but economy of expression is expected.

All articles should have an abstract (200 words) and an author bio (150 words).

A photo of the author should be included.

All articles should include 3-6 keywords.

Tables, Figures, Audio, and Video

Tables, illustrations, and figures are placed within the text at the appropriate points, rather than at the end. Illustrations and figures must be ready for publishing in one of the following formats: gif, jpg, png.

Authors are encouraged to use audio and video recordings for documentation of case studies and vignettes of practice (but consult Ethical Considerations below). Audio and video must be made available online (also in the review process) through links to protected or public websites (such as Vimeo or YouTube).


A complete list of references in alphabetical order should follow articles. Relevant literature references must be given according to APA style or Chicago Manual of Style , unless otherwise negotiated with the editorial team. Consistency within the article is required.

In writing your article, you are encouraged to review previously published articles in the area you are addressing and, where it is deemed appropriate, to reference them. This will ensure academic grounding of your work and enhance the reader’s experience of continuity, coherence, and context.

Ensuring Anonymous Review

Voices uses a double-masked peer review process unless authors specifically request to be identified (single-masked review). When manuscripts are sent out anonymously for editorial review, author details should only be included in the metadata form in Step 2 of OJS submission process. All identifying personal data should be removed from the file name, body of text, and all appendices.

Permissions and Other Formalities

Permission to quote from or reproduce copyright material must be obtained by the authors before submission.

The symbol TM or ® should be used when applying a proprietary term or trade mark.

Ethical Considerations

Authors are responsible for following high ethical standards in their writing. The anonymity and protection of participants is ensured by the authors, and they – not the journal – is responsible for having collected necessary formal permissions from superiors, ethical committees, service users, and relatives of service users.

There are varying standards and ethical requirements for research involving human participants from country to country. However, it is expected that authors will adhere to the highest standards for protecting the privacy and welfare of the individuals who participate in their research, even when formal ethics review procedures are not required in the author’s particular location. Authors of research articles and case study articles should include a description of how ethical approval for the research or for the case material was obtained, and how participants conveyed consent. In contexts where no bodies exist to provide formal ethical approval of a research study, authors are encouraged to discuss this with the Article Editor. The specific precautions for protecting participants’ welfare and rights used in the research must be described by authors and included in the initial submission of the manuscript to Voices.[3]


[1] Publication in English of articles previously published in other languages can be considered, if permission from the original publisher has been obtained by the author(s) and the editor(s) of Voices find the article relevant. Such translated articles are usually submitted to the same evaluation process as other articles.

[2] For advice on the use of acceptable, inclusive language for e.g. gender; sexual orientation; physical and/or intellectual disability; race, ethnicity, culture, and/or religion; see

[3] The World Federation of Music Therapy (the WFMT Commission on Research and Ethics) has developed a paper aimed to encourage consideration about “Ethics and Informed Consent Requirements for Publication of Music Therapy Research”, see


The research section of Voices is dedicated to a broad and inclusive understanding of research as a practice in the service of knowledge development and social change. Research articles in Voices include empirically based research (quantitative and qualitative studies, including arts-based studies), literature-based research (historical research, review articles, theoretical and philosophical studies), and mixed methods research. Listed alphabetically, descriptions of types of research are:

Empirically Based Research

Empirical research articles of various forms may be submitted to Voices, but we urge authors to follow the IMRaD structure whenever possible and relevant:

Introduction: Develop the problem of investigation, review pertinent literature, and state the aim of the work.
Method: Describe details of the method used (subjects, materials, design, and method of analysis).
Results (or Findings): Present representative empirical material.
Discussion: Discuss relationships and point out exceptions. Show agreement or disagreement with previous research. A conclusion and statements about the significance of the work may be presented at the end of the discussion or in a separate section.

Qualitative Studies: Qualitative research is a broad label covering a multitude of approaches informed by a large range of perspectives, such as grounded theory, phenomenology, hermeneutics and critical theory, as well as feminist, postmodern, and postcolonial perspectives. How the researchers position themselves in this landscape determines to some degree the criteria of evaluation. While in some cases systematic analysis of the empirical material is central, in other cases the interpretive and critical aspects will be more central. In either case, reflexivity is key to qualitative research. Authors and reviewers are referred to the EPICURE agenda which allows for dialogic evaluation of qualitative research. When relevant, authors are encouraged to employ arts-based and performative forms of research that pay justice to the multimodal nature of human communication and the aesthetic and performative dimensions of music therapy practice.

Quantitative Studies: Various types of quantitative research may be submitted. These include descriptive, correlational, as well as experimental studies. Typical criteria used in evaluating quantitative research include: Thoroughness of related literature, Clarity and relevance of purpose, Relevance and utility of research design in addressing research questions, Rigor of research design, Adequacy of the description of procedures used, Control of confounding variables, Risk of bias, Reliability and validity of measures and data collection, Appropriateness of data treatment and integrity of analysis, and Appropriateness of conclusions. Voices recommends using available guidelines for the reporting of quantitative research, such as the CONSORT statement for randomized controlled trials and the TREND statement for non-randomized evaluations. For the presentation of results, information about direction and magnitude of effects is often essential (for example effect size, p-values, confidence intervals). The appropriate use of figures is also often important and helpful in understanding the meaning of the results of quantitative research. Authors of quantitative studies must adhere to SI units.

Literature-based Research

This section includes historical research, review articles, and theoretical and philosophical studies, and may therefore include texts informed by a large range of epistemologies or meta-theoretical perspectives:

Historical Research: As the discipline and profession of music therapy grows older and becomes more culturally and geographically diverse, the importance of historical research is increasing. Historical research goes beyond the description of events and the gathering of facts to include critical examinations and interpretations of these events in order to understand the contexts, processes, agents, and ideas that helped to shape them.

Review Articles: Review articles are critical evaluations of material that has already been published. Review articles contribute to the development of music therapy by considering the evolution of existing research in elucidating an issue or problem. Authors should:

  • Define and clarify the issue or problem to be reviewed.
  • Summarize previous research in order to inform the readers about the state of knowledge pertaining to the issue or problem.
  • Identify gaps, inconsistencies, and contradictions - as well as other aspects - in the literature reviewed.
  • Suggest further steps in the investigation of the problem or issue.

For systematic reviews of quantitative research, we recommend using available guidelines for the reporting, such as the PRISMA statement.

Theoretical and Philosophical Studies: Authors of literature-based theoretical articles draw on existing literature in order to promote or evaluate theories of music therapy or fields closely related to music therapy. As music therapy is multi-faceted, theoretical articles may build upon scientific research literature and/or theoretical contributions from the humanities. Voices finds it especially important to encourage theoretical developments that integrate relevance to practice, empirical grounding, critical awareness, and philosophical refinement. Literature-based philosophical studies examine the beliefs and assumptions of music therapy theories and practices, including practices of research. Philosophical inquiries in music therapy often concentrate on practice and everyday concerns. As such, philosophical studies can offer new tools for navigation and reflection in the daily life of both practitioners and scholars.

Mixed Methods Research

Mixed methods research usually involves the combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches to research. Studies within mixed methods research therefore de-emphasize differences and incompatibilities and emphasize how various methods can supplement and support each other. Researchers typically collect mixed data within a single study, concurrently or sequentially. Mixed methods research is especially relevant when data from different sources complement each other; when one method alone cannot answer the research questions; or when data from one method helps researchers understand data collected from another. In some ways, studies that combine empirically based research and literature-based research also can be considered mixed methods research. Selecting the best approach to the evaluation of mixed methods research can be a challenge. Voices recommends that authors and reviewers use the EPICURE agenda as a basis and then supplement this with various statements on e.g. quantitative research evaluation as relevant (see Quantitative Studies above).

Position Papers

The section of Position Papers opens up a space for critical thinking. Is music therapy heading in the right direction as a professional discipline? Are relationships with associated fields cultivated to the degree warranted? What is the value of music (when, where, and for whom)? What values should be guiding practice? These and numerous other questions deserve our attention and discussion. Positions papers examine a critical question through development of a particular argument. Often, opinions and emotions are closely linked. Strong engagement can increase the value of a contribution, but only if alternative perspectives are acknowledged. It can, for instance, be very helpful to explore the merits of the best counterarguments to our own arguments.

Reflections on Practice

The section Reflections on Practice includes texts that invite reflection upon presented material from practice, whether these are linked to a clinical context or a community context. While authors are encouraged to relate their reflections to current research and theory, texts in Reflections on Practice are not themselves presented as research or theoretical contributions. This section is important in contributing to the integration of practice, research, theory. Contributions on innovative and new practices as well as on more conventional or traditional practices are welcomed.


Some reflections and contributions are difficult to forge into theoretical papers and other traditional styles of academic writing. Yet these contributions can add significant aspects to our discursive practices in music therapy. In Voices we therefore encourage authors to make advanced reflections in a more free and personal style, through use of the essay genre. Texts in this genre may elaborate upon an issue or problem, in an analytic and interpretative manner, including constructive speculations or experiment with more fluid genre mixing.


The section of Reports includes descriptions of music therapy events or developments of various sorts, such as the event of an interesting conference or the development of a program or a project, or a specific way of working. Reports may illuminate local or regional traditions, and may also illuminate national or international developments.


Stories provide structure in a narrative form that can frame a problem, or create a metaphor that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. In some societies, stories are part of an oral tradition, and one that can transmit knowledge in vivo. Storytellers respond to the presence of the listener or audience and make adjustments in their stories based on the age, disposition, mood of the listener, the purpose of the gathering, and the function of the story in the context. Stories are often told to honor the hero, heroine or other characters in the story. They are told to transmit important knowledge about the best ways to exist in a society. They are also told as a meaningful expression of history, affiliation, and reinforcement of social norms. In Voices, stories can take a written form, but can also respond to readers as imagined listeners, therefore addressing, in part, some of the more traditional uses of the story format and the immediacy available in this genre.


The section of Interviews should be useful in helping us to maintain the humanistic aspects of our work on music, health, and social change. The relationship between the interviewer and interviewee can communicate the dynamics of an interpersonal dialogue, shared between two professionals or perhaps a professional and a lay person. Because so much of the written word is created by academics, the interview also provides a wonderful environment for reaching out to experts who might be willing to share traditional knowledge not readily available in texts. We want to create a level playing field in which established scholars who regularly publish scientific articles can come into dialogue with new scholars and new practitioners as well as established traditional practitioners.


The tribute section is a space for reflections about important figures who have passed away and whose work has had a meaningful impact on those who practice music therapy.

Book Reviews and Book Essays

The section of Book Reviews and Book Essays can be helpful for readers searching for information about and appraisals of literature on music, health, and social change. Book reviews and book essays can therefore play a crucial role in the development of critical thinking and awareness in the field. When writing a book review you should develop and communicate your scholarly appraisal of a book, based on a summary of its content. It is important to clarify the genre of the book, the author’s aims, and the intended audience, and to clarify the reviewer’s position and perspective. Book essays elaborate on the relevance of and relationships between two or more books that supplement each other in some way.

Evaluating Quality in Research

The Agenda Approach to Research Evaluation

Productive evaluation is a vital element of the research process and stimulates research quality. The vision of Voices is to encourage dialogue, discussion, and reflection. Our international journal therefore supports a dialogic agenda approach to evaluation, hoping that authors as well as reviewers and editors engage in the evaluation process with reflexivity as a central value.

We use the EPICURE agenda (Stige, Malterud, Midtgarden, 2009), as a tool to enhance dialogue and reflexivity around various types of research submitted to Voices. The EPICURE agenda is highly relevant to qualitative and mixed methods research but it is also a useful tool for promoting quality within other types of research and other genres of submissions. The EPICURE agenda encourages a shift of attention from rule-based judgment to reflexive dialogue. Unlike criteria, an agenda may embrace pluralism and does not request consensus on worldviews, theories of knowledge, or methodological issues, only on what themes warrant discussion. The EPICURE agenda focuses upon how research ideas and projects grow out of practical as well as academic concerns, with the implication that standards developed for evaluation should not be thought of as fixed rules to be followed but as adaptable tools that could be used to better understand what makes studies interesting and useful.

The EPICURE agenda itself should therefore be used and interpreted flexibly. The two main dimensions of it are communicated through use of two acronyms:

  • The first, EPIC, refers to the challenge of producing rich and substantive accounts based on Engagement (with the phenomenon and problem), Processing and Interpretation (of the material), and (Self)-Critique (in and of the research process).
  • The second, CURE, refers to the challenge of dealing with preconditions and consequences of research, with a focus upon (Social) Critique, Usefulness (in relation to practical concerns), Relevance (in relation to academic concerns), and Ethics (in relation to research process and products).

Further details on the dimensions and items of the EPICURE agenda.

Evaluation Process

When a research article is submitted to Voices, a formalized evaluation process starts. This process includes standard elements such as peer review of submission, response to review, and editorial decision. What characterizes the agenda approach to research evaluation is that these elements are developed within a dialogic ethos. We could say that the submission is an expression, the review an answer to that expression, the response an answer to that answer, and so on. But this is not the whole story: The submitted article is not the first expression but an answer to previous ones (such as practical and academic concerns). There is a complex web of expressions and answers involved in any evaluation process, then, which requires that all participants reflexively position themselves as much as they can. Below we will exemplify how authors, reviewers, and editors might participate in this process:


Evaluation is an integrated element of the entire research process. The EPICURE agenda is designed through use of an acronym and communicates an accessible framework that can enhance dialogue and reflection throughout the research process. This process could for instance include use of reflective notes, supervision, member checking, peer debriefing, and auditing. So the author is involved in such an agenda prior to submission of the article to Voices.


The submitted research article is the expression that starts the formalized process of research evaluation and brings other eyes and perspectives into the process. Authors are invited to integrate the elements of the EPICURE agenda in the writing of the article to the degree it helps them to clarify the premises, perspectives, and purposes that have informed the study. In a cover letter following the article it is often helpful if authors add a brief process statement and an equally brief position statement:

In a process statement authors can clarify the history of evaluation of the submitted work (cf. the paragraph on pre-submission above). They may also want to outline how they hope the article could stimulate continued dialogue and discussion if the work is published. Authors should also feel free to suggest reviewers (specific scholars or the type of competencies they deem relevant for evaluation of the work).

In a position statement authors can clarify priorities they have made in relation to the EPICURE agenda. The various items of the agenda are relevant for researchers in different ways, depending upon factors such as cultural context, tradition of research, and research question. For instance, one study might focus upon interpretation and critique with perhaps somewhat less focus upon systematic processing of material. This is not necessarily a weakness, because it could allow for more critical awareness than a study with meticulous attention to detail in procedure. The EPICURE agenda, then, allows for considerable flexibility. Note, however, that the idea of using a shared agenda suggests that complete neglect of any of the items would be problematic. If an item is considered irrelevant, authors are invited to clarify why they think this is the case. (If they think an item of discussion that would be relevant for the evaluation of their article is missing in the agenda, they are also invited to communicate this).


An agenda approach to research evaluation invites dialogue and discussion and therefore requires reviewer reflexivity. When writing the review, it is important that reviewers take into consideration how the submitted work is situated and that they clarify and make explicit how they as reviewers position themselves in relation to this.


The authors’ response to the requests made by the reviewers could be considered an answer and a new expression in a continued dialogue. When writing the response to the reviewer requests and clarifying how they have been dealt with, it is therefore important that authors take into consideration how the review is situated and how they as authors position themselves in relation to this.


Evaluation dialogues such as those described above could lead to consensus or at least some shared understanding of how and why the submitted (and revised) work is interesting and relevant. In some cases this is more difficult to achieve. Even though the review process applied by Voices is characterized by a dialogic ethos, the editor-in-chief at some point will have to make a decision. The dialogic quality of this decision is not necessarily that consensus is achieved, then, but that the editor takes into consideration how the submitted work, the review(s), and the response(s) are situated and that it is made explicit how the editor positions himself/herself in relation to this.


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