Review papers, OA, co-authors: your research story for OA Week

‘Open access is such a democratizing form of publication’

Dr. Costas Karageorghis CREDIT: @ESPNMag

Dr. Costas Karageorghis
CREDIT: @ESPNMag

Music in the exercise domain: a review and synthesis (Part I)

Published in International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, December 2011

Downloads: 7,136*           Altmetric score: 91*

‘It is a form of publication that is totally inclusive’

Open access gives other scholars and students at all educational levels immediate access to your work. It is a form of publication that is totally inclusive, and thus does not discriminate against any interested reader in terms of their cultural background, social class or country of residence. I like the idea that there might be people in mud huts in sub-Saharan Africa reading my work, in addition to well-known scholars in the ivory towers of the world’s elite universities. Open access is such a democratising form of publication that, whenever institutional resources allow, I like to pursue it.

I was amazed by just how hassle-free the entire process was. In fact, after I managed to secure the funding required from my institution, the librarians were only too pleased to take care of the necessary admin, and I had no further part to play.

‘Many of these students have been in contact with me’

I had not written a comprehensive review paper like this since the mid-nineties. That article, co-authored by Professor Peter Terry and published in 1997 while I was still a PhD student, has been the most cited of my academic career. It seems that across the breadth of literature in the field of health and physical activity, review papers and meta-analyses are picked up by fellow scholars and highly downloaded/cited. Accordingly, the 2012 two-part review and synthesis represented a major update of an area of study that was gathering steam following the turn of the millennium. The reason for it being picked up extensively is not necessarily owing to its appeal to scholars who work in psycho-musicology or exercise sciences, because these are relatively few in number. I have received a great deal of correspondence from high schools that have used the paper as a central part of project work. Most of the interest has been from North America, where it appears that high school pupils engage in a sizeable science project, and, rather surprisingly, the Netherlands. The paper has also been used by hundreds of undergraduate students for final-year projects, mainly in the US, UK and Australia. Many of these students have been in contact with me to request additional details about music-related research.

‘It’s always a pleasure to collaborate with an individual who is so erudite and perspicacious’

A key reason for the high take-up of the article is the mellifluous writing style of my co-author and former PhD student, David-Lee Priest. The prodigious Dr Priest has enjoyed a successful writing career in his own right, and it’s always a pleasure to collaborate with an individual who is so erudite and perspicacious. I also feel that the founding editor-in-chief of International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, Professor Aiden Moran, played a seminal role. He was aware of my empirical work in the period that followed the completion of my PhD, and was kind enough to invite me to make the submission. Under Professor Moran’s impeccable stewardship, this journal’s impact factor has risen from zero to 4.526 within a 7-year period. This is an incredible rate of progression and also contributes to the apparent popularity of my article – more  and more people are reading and citing articles from this journal! I am very pleased that my (rather small) field of scientific endeavour now has a journal with such a high impact factor.

‘My first port of call is always the most recent review paper’

There was a link posted on my institutional research repository – the Brunel University Research Archive – and this archive links to my personal webpages where the paper is listed. On occasions when I have been invited to deliver speeches, public lectures or applied workshops on music in physical activity, I have included the article among the recommended reading. This may have helped the pick-up because, in all instances, I was speaking to people with a keen interest in my research field. I have also been invited to appear on TV and radio to talk about the application of music in exercise, and such interviews often provided an opportunity for a web link to the Brunel University Research Archive. Rather than spending days perusing arcane empirical papers, the availability of a ‘one-stop-shop’ recent review is useful to a member of the public with a desire to learn more about a particular topic. When I want to learn more about a new topic, my first port of call is always the most recent review paper.

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Dr Costas Karageorghis is a Reader in Sport Psychology in the Department of Life Sciences at Brunel University London. He has worked with many UK national governing bodies of sport as a consultant psychologist, most recently England Rugby, as well as with a number of multinational companies that include Nike, Red Bull, Sony, Spotify, Speedo, and the International Management Group (IMG). He is best known for his research and applied work in the area of music-related interventions in exercise and sport. Costas’s scientific output includes more than 150 scholarly articles, ten book chapters, and the popular text Inside Sport Psychology (Human Kinetics, 2011). He has just completed a second text entitled Applying Music in Exercise and Sport that will be released by Human Kinetics in the spring of 2016. Costas has given invited talks and keynote speeches all over the world, including a recent public lecture in Springfield, Massachusetts.

*Data recorded 18/10/2015