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I was recently asked to review for an MDPI open access journal. Is this a reputable publishing company? Their website suggests that they are 15 years old, and only do open-access publishing. The journal has a 3-year impact factor of around 2, which is not unreasonable for my field.

I'm curious to know whether it is worth putting the review on my CV.

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Another way to answer the question is to ask yourself: did you know this journal before you were asked to review? – F'x Nov 26 '12 at 14:09
up vote 24 down vote accepted

The peer review process generally differs between predatory and non predatory journals.

  • Given that they have solicited a review from you is a positive sign.
  • If you don't know the authors and the work before hand, then that is another positive sign.
  • If the article you are reviewing is good, then that would be a third positive sign.
  • Finally, if you make comments in your review and the authors address them in the published version, that would be a final positive sign.

If on the other hand you know the authors and work, it is crappy, and the comments are ignored, that would be a bad sign.

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I'm marking this as the answer, because I think it's more likely to be of interest to subsequent readers of the question, and also answers the specified question rather than the titular one. The link in F'x's answer was very helpful too though. – John Doucette Nov 26 '12 at 17:07
Jeffrey Beall has added MDPI to his "list of questionable publishers". Here's the blog piece, along with many comments:… – Rich Signell Feb 22 '14 at 19:38

Based on the amount of spam that I receive from them (mostly calls for papers in special issues), the fact that their automated emails do not feature a “unsubscribe me” link, and the fact that I did not manage to be removed from their lists after several complaints, I would say that they are not a respectable publisher.

I don't know how long they have been around, but most of their journals in my field (chemistry) were very recently created: see there for a full list, which you can sort by journal creation date. Their older journal, Molecules, has a less-than-stellar impact factor of 2.4. Its editorial board, apart from the occasional celebrity or two, is unremarkable.

As a conclusion: I think they surf on the popularity of open access journals, but I don't consider them serious players.

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Some of there titles are indexed in SCI and Scopus, that is something respectable, I guess. – ShadowWarrior Nov 26 '12 at 14:15
@Md.GolamRashed according to wikipedia only 10/89 have impact factors. – StrongBad Nov 26 '12 at 14:42
That link is quite useful. Thanks! – John Doucette Nov 26 '12 at 17:09
Investigative and logical reasoning of mistakes made by MDPI journals - @F'x, Note that, most big time players have also did same mistakes over the years. What is positive here is MDPI did not hide those mistakes. – ShadowWarrior Dec 6 '12 at 20:42
@Daniel E. Shub, What I know is, it takes 3 years to be indexed. Based on the indexing of the previously published journals of MDPI, we have yet to see whether the rest 79 gets indexed in 3 years after launch. – ShadowWarrior Dec 6 '12 at 20:47

In my very personal opinion MDPI is an reputable publisher, but their journals are not first-class. I did a review for them once, and the peer review process was smooth. Also, I knew the field of the reviewed paper very well, so I guess they selected me as a reviewer carefully. But I really can speak only for one of their journals.

On the other hand, I won't publish in their journals since they charge quite a bit for the open access, and there are other options in my field which are free for authors and subscribers. Also I don't like to be spammed with their "newsletters".

Added: I have recently seen this post reporting a problematic peer-review case with an MDPI journal. This lets me doubt, if my initial judgement was right. I suspect, it might depend on the journal.

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About a year ago, I was asked to become editor-in-chief for one of their journals. I asked myself the same question. After doing some background research, I came to the conclusion that MDPI was, albeit rather "young", a reputable publisher.

I have worked with them for a little while now and have just started as editor-in-chief on another journal under MDPI with a specific focus on my area of research. My interaction with the editorial manager is very efficient. Surely, we will not compete with Nature and Science for high profile manuscripts, but I am absolutely convinced that both journals will do well with high quality papers and manuscripts.

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While I appreciate your stating your conflict of interest, I think your viewpoint just might be a little biased :) – eykanal Aug 13 '13 at 15:18
I would be surprised if anyone had time to be editor in chief for two journals simultaneously. This in fact makes me question the decisions of the publisher. – StrongBad Aug 13 '13 at 16:52
I dont have any issues with it. As I said they are very efficient. The editorial manager (the same person for both journals) takes care of all reviewer assignments and communicates efficiently with the editors. The "second" journal is really my brain child and I believe is going to fill a niche. I have hand-picked the editorial staff and we are "launching" next month.... Thus far I can only say that I am pleased with the process and MDPI takes everything pretty serious (we had a discussion this morning about Medline and the necessity of publishing more original papers vs reviews) – andy wessels Aug 13 '13 at 18:09
I do not believe that my statements were biased. I stated my initial reservations as well as my experience thus far. I can also add that, at least for the the Journal of Cardiovascular Disease and Development (which is in its early phases), I have been able to put together an excellent editorial board. This may be different from journal to journal (discipline to discipline). The fact that roughly 10% of the MDPI journals have a listed impact factor (Marine Drugs with ~4 the highest) probably reflects that. Just my 0.02 – andy wessels Aug 13 '13 at 18:20

I recently reviewed a review article about a specific disease for an MDPI journal. I did not know the authors, who were from an institution in China. I was absolutely an appropriate reviewer, as most of my publications in the last 8 years or so are on the same disease.

I won't say that the article was great, but it did carefully cover the topics well and pulled in some of the current challenges. The journal and authors were certainly responsive to review comments and efficient in processing them.

In summary, everything about the process indicated that MDPI is acting like a reputable journal--making a real effort to do good work and provide a venue. What I hope new journals can do is build a good set of publications and solid review process that is perhaps less subject to some of the biases in big-name established journals. Bias, for example that lets a big name in the field get by with an easy review, but is unreasonable or simply rejects new players in a field.

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Having more than 10% of your journals in ISI is more than an achievement. Most open-access journals don't even care because it is impossible to them. I think it is wrong to take open-access as fake or low quality, traditional journals are also becoming open-access and there are very serious open-access journals like PLOS. MDPI journals fall short compared to PLOS but they are respectable and are building their reputation. Charges are proportional to the journal reputation and most times can be waived if the author makes its case of lack of funding and it is completely independent of the review process.

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Ideally answers should be based on facts. At a minimum they should be based on opinions based on personal observations. Your answer provides no evidence as to why I should trust your opinion and in fact it reads like you might have a link to MDPI. If you edit your answer to provide some justification I will happily change my vote to an up vote. – StrongBad Nov 9 '13 at 16:31

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