An Open Letter to MDPI publishing | Dan Brockington

“Dear MDPI,


Your journal publications have grown dramatically, and quite extraordinarily. But there are sceptics who suggest that this reflects low standards and distorting financial incentives. I was one of them. To prove my views I explored trends in publications of 140 journals for which data were available from 2015 onwards. But doing so proved me wrong; I could not sustain my sceptical view. Instead I think I have a better understanding of why researchers are so keen to publish with you. But my exploration also makes plain challenges that you will face in the future, that are caused by your remarkable success. In this letter I describe your growth, the lack of substance to sceptics’ criticism and the challenges which your success creates. I also describe potential solutions to them. Here is the word version of it….”

MDPI supplies full-text articles to Publications Router | Jisc scholarly communications

The open access publisher MDPI is now supplying full-text articles to Jisc’s Publications Router, enabling them to be automatically deposited into institutions’ repositories. This streamlines institutions’ processes for capturing and showcasing their researchers’ publications, helping them to demonstrate compliance with funders’ open access policies.

Based in Basel, Switzerland, MDPI publishes over 200 peer-reviewed, open access journals in a variety of scientific, technical, engineering, medical and other disciplines. In 2018, MDPI contributed well over 60 000 open access articles to DOAJ. All articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY), allowing them to be shared and re-used freely….

MDPI supplies daily feeds to Publications Router upon publication of the articles concerned. Nearly all of them are published within 15 days of acceptance, so institutions will receive them very promptly. The notifications include the full text in the published version of record, with no embargo, so the articles can be exposed immediately for public view. They are accompanied by rich metadata, including confirmation of the immediate CC BY licence, minimising the need for any manual intervention or checking….”

MDPI 2019: price increases, some hefty, and more coming in July | Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir les savoirs communs

n brief: MDPI has increased prices, in many cases quite substantially (some prices have more than tripled). Even more price increases are anticipated in July 2019, which will have the effect of doubling the average APC and tripling the most common APC. Unlike other publishers’ practices, there are no price decreases. Comment and recommendation: open access advocates, along with policy makers and research funders, and keen to support a transition to open access. In my opinion, the enthusiasm of payers to support APC journals is causing an unhealthy and unsustainable distortion in the market. My advice: stick with green OA policy. Require deposit of funded works in an open access repository. This is a better means to ensure ongoing preservation and open access, and exerts market pressure in a way that is more suited to the development of an economically sustainable open access system.

The Global Benefits of Open Research | MDPI Books

A collection of 36 essays.

“The 2018 MPDI Writing Prize invited early stage researchers who are not native English speakers to write on the subject of “the global benefits of open research”. Six prizes were awarded, however there were many more entries. This book collates many of those entries and contains inspiring, thought-provoking and original viewpoints of open science through the eyes of those conducting research on a daily basis….”

Opening up Peer Review | MDPI Blog

“It is now a little over four years since MDPI first started to offer an option for open peer review, as announced on this blog and in the journal Life. We have recently taken a look at the popularity of this feature, the results of we found very encouraging. In short, a large percentage of papers are published with their review reports. In fact, it has proven so popular that we have decided to make open peer review an option for all MDPI journals….”

Publications | Free Full-Text | Editorial-Transitioning Publications to Open Peer Review | HTML

“This is my first Editorial since the honour of becoming the new Editor-in-Chief for Publications. In this first note I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce the newly revised journal aims and scope, which now more clearly reflect the growing agenda for greater transparency and participation throughout scholarly communications, and to announce the introduction of optional open peer review as a new step in this direction for the journal.”

MDPI pricing: discussion with MDPI CEO Franck Vazquez and Heather Morrison

Thanks to MDPI CEO Franck Vazquez, PhD, for permission to re-post his contributions to a discussion on APC pricing on the SCHOLCOMM listserv and my replies. This is useful information and a good model of how transparency can help to advance our understanding of how to move toward sustainability in open access.


Highlights: this post presents data on MDPI’s APCs and an explanation of MDPI’s business practice: new journals are free to publish in, later APCs and APC increases are based on market value. It is important for publishers and funders to understand that there is an essential conflict with funders of scholarly communication, that is, universities and their libraries, and research organizations. For these organizations,  budgets tend to be based on cost with little or no flexibility to accommodate pricing and price increases based on market value. This incompatibility of organizational strategy is equally relevant whether the revenue model is subscriptions, APC, or other production-based support.