MDPI – another OA publisher

I recently was alerted to the existence of an Open Access (OA) publisher that I had not heard of before:  MDPI. Their name stands for “Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute” and they are based in Switzerland. They publish more than 70 journals  and all journals are members of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). They started in 1996 and expanded slowly but since 2009 have launched quite a few new titles. The oldest title has published more than 5,000 articles, and 18 of their titles have published more than 200 articles.

MDPI publishes on quite a range of subjects – sampling the title list I find aerospace, agriculture, antibodies, crystals, entropy, genes, environment, molecular sciences, materials, remote sensing, and viruses. They have quite a few biomedical titles, though many of these are new and hence small at present.

Their fees vary quite a bit. Articles in new journals are published free of charge, but otherwise the fees range from CHF 300 to CHF 1800.

Are they a reputable publisher?  The answer seems to be ‘yes’, though perhaps their marketing can be overzealous. MDPI is a member of OASPA, which suggests strongly that they are reputable. Their journals are not high impact journals maybe but it seems they are serious publishers wanting to serve science.

About Frank Norman

I am a librarian in a biomedical research institute. I've been around a few years, long enough to know that exciting new things fall into the same familiar patterns. I'm interested in navigating a path for libraries as we slip from print through to electronic information resources.
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6 Responses to MDPI – another OA publisher

  1. rpg says:

    What makes me sad is that people still conflate the issues of OA and peer review.

  2. Dietrich Rordorf says:

    MDPI is not just “another” Open Access Publisher. It started publishing in 1996 with–what was then called–a free electronic journal. The term “open access” was coined only years later. Hence, MDPI has been serving science and scientists for almost 20 years. At MDPI we do care a lot about our reputation and high standards of peer-review and editorial work. A high standard of peer-review is not directly set by the Publisher, but by the editors that operate the peer-review system. Therefore, we have a constant and continued training of our in-house editorial staff members to ensure the high standard. The Impact Factor, as you noted, as not yet at the top. However, we have seen a constant growing of our Impact Factors since 2007 (see http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/17/9/10971 for a related editorial).

    • Frank says:

      Dietrich – Thanks for your response. I didn’t actually say that MDPI was “just” another OA publisher! I had not come across MDPI before but it seems that MDPI is expanding its coverage in the biomedical arena. My motivation for writing this short post was therefore to bring MDPI to the attention of biomedical researchers. MDPI looks like a useful venue for people who want to publish in full OA journals, rather than commercial journals.

  3. Nuno Franco says:

    I’ve recently published a review paper on a recent MDPI journal, “Animals”. At first I was very apprehensive because I didn’t know the publisher – although they have been around since the 90s – and the journal itself was only in its third year of activity, and for that sake it didn’t have an impact factor yet (and it still hasn’t).

    However, I took the time to read their editorial policies, to browse their articles, check the authors that had published in that journal and look at the editorial board. There were very few “top dogs”, but some of them were fairly known. Since it was a paper not central for my line of research – it was actually a “side-project” of mine – I took the chance, although I was already fairly convinced of its trustworthiness when I submitted the paper.

    The reply from the editorial office was surprisingly fast. My paper was assigned to four anonymous reviewers – although I don’t know if it was double-blind, i.e., if they could know who was submitting the paper – with expertise in the field. All four of them gave fast (~two weeks) and very thorough reviews of my paper, that contributed immensely to its quality (so much that I included their contribution in the acknowledgements section).

    The review/editing process went smoothly and, overall, I was very well impressed, as it went much better than in other reputable journals to which I had submitted manuscripts before.

    I can’t speak for other MDPI journals, but I would recommend anyone who is all for open acess to submit to “Animals”. That is, if you are not obsessed with impact factors. Since I DO need papers in already established journals, I still can’t have “Animals” as a first choice. But I will definitely consider it a first choice for publishing secondary (but nonetheless relevant) work. And, of course, I’m sure I’ll be submitting more important manuscripts as soon as they are given an IF, and it reaches the average IF in my field.

    • Frank says:

      Thanks for relating your experience. That kind of first-hand account can be persuasive. If MDPI can keep up that kind of impressive performance I am sure they will attract plenty of manuscripts.